Nurses Week Archive

2013 Nurses Week Award Winners
2014 Nurses Week Award Winners
2015 Nurses Week Award Winners
2016 Nurses Week Award Winners
2017 Nurses Week Award Winners

2013 Nurses Week Award Winners

"Nurse of the Year" Award
Gina Walzl


Gina Walzl is an extraordinary nurse who has worked at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital for 26 years! After beginning her career in the ICU, she transferred to the Short Stay Unit and functions as a charge nurse. Gina's co-workers define her as being very hardworking, patient and dedicated. She not only rounds on every patient every day and completes follow up calls; she also takes great care of her co-workers. They describe her as a "true role model and resource" to everyone. She is a very sensitive and understanding nurse who knows how to support her co-workers in an emergency and also support patients' families. Her co-workers have stated that "without a doubt, Gina is the best charge nurse." Her quick kindness, humility and critical thinking skills are definitely her strengths.

Gina is a preceptor, mentor and a clinical nurse III. She is M/S certified and is currently finishing her BSN degree. She has been nominated several times for the Daisy award and was recognized as a "Good Catch" winner for saving a patient from choking. Gina is also a member on the Hospital Quality and Safety Council. Last year, she was the chair and she now holds the post-chair position. She is very dedicated to quality and updates all the quality measures for the SSU, keeping PDCA's up-to-date. Gina is a Superuser for MedConnect as well. She has a wealth of knowledge and deserves to be the winner for Nurse of the Year 2013. She is trusted by every nurse on the SSU and by every physician she encounters.

"Trusted Nurse" Award
Shannell Byrd


Shanell is always on top of her game and is willing to help or find a solution for staff and patient issues. Her co-workers state that Shanell always takes time with patients and she cares for each of them with special regards for their needs. She remains calm and patient, even on the busiest days, and puts her patients first. She always goes above and beyond to make sure they are happy.

In addition to being trusted by her patients, Shanell is trusted by her co-workers as well. As a trusted nurse, Shanell is said to be very respectable, a good team player and a nurse who is admired by her co-workers for her excellence in nursing practice. She is also known eager to share her knowledge with her co-workers.

"Advancing Practice" Award
Mary Ann Tubao


Mary Ann is not only compassionate and caring to her co-workers, but she also goes above and beyond by always putting her patients first. Mary Ann always takes time to talk to her patients, explain things and wears a smile while she keeps her patients a top priority. She does a remarkable job educating patients as well.

Mary Ann is a very knowledgeable, competent and true team player who goes out of her way to help others. She also is a very efficient and effective charge nurse on the floor and O'Neill 4 is proud to have Mary Ann on their team. Mary Ann is very active in mentoring new RNs and following up with them. She guides new nurses on policies and research and is always ready to share her knowledge with her colleagues. She is said to be a stickler on adhering to policies and procedures and actively participates on hospital councils and projects.
She has earned her status as an RN IV and consistently encourages her co-workers to seek professional advancement. She puts her words into action and is currently pursuing her master's degree in nursing informatics.

"Caring Nurse" Award
Deborah Stiner


Called "Deb" by most of her co-workers, she exemplifies the values of a caring nurse. In her daily practice, Deb treats everyone of her patients professionally and with dignity. She is often seen huddled close to her elderly patients as she speaks to them. She is not afraid to provide that warm, gentle touch to her patient. Deb not only cares for her patients, but also her co-workers that she interacts with on a daily basis. In the absence of our permanent charge nurse role, Deb Stiner serves in that role with efficiency. She is consistently at the bedside to assist the PACU nurse to admit a patient and she constantly anticipates the needs of her co-workers and physicians, as well as patients.

"Rookie of the Year" Award
Kristopher Most


Kris shows natural leadership qualities. Kris has been a PACU nurse for a little more than one year and was hired into a unit that traditionally accepts only experienced critical care nurses. His first year as an RN has been extremely solid with his preceptor and mentor describing him as an eager, willing and driven team member who is growing. His co-workers say that he adds to the upbeat nature of their evening staff, invests in the team thru championing the fall safety equipment and is looking into serving on other teams, so he's ready for the clinical ladder next year.

He maintains a positive attitude at all times and knows when to ask for help. He is always ready to offer co-workers help and never turns down an opportunity to learn. Kris comes in early and stays late, adding flexibility to his list of desirable qualities. Kris always comes to work with a smile on his face and provides excellent customer service. Kris's co-workers state that he is quickly becoming one of the best nurses in the recovery room.

2014 Nurses Week Award Winners

“Nurse of the Year” Award
Megan Van Hoy


It is an honor to bestow the Nurse of the Year Award to Megan Van Hoy. Megan exemplifies the definition of what a nurse should be. She gives 100% to patients, families and peers.

Megan is described as a nurse who listens to patients’ concerns and responds efficiently so concerns are managed. As a charge nurse, Megan makes sure that not only the needs of patients are met; she anticipates and meets the needs of the family. She is described as being knowledgeable, nice, and attentive.

There are so many examples of how Megan has “Wowed” her patients and families that there are too many to list. Megan is described as someone who is always calm, focused, and willing to step in and help her co-workers any time. One recent incident occurred with a very unstable inpatient. Megan recognized the patient’s distress and immediately stepped in to assist her co-worker by setting up cardiac monitoring equipment, contacting the physician and assisting with transport of the patient to a higher level of care to be stabilized. Megan made sure that the family in the waiting room were informed and kept up-to-date on the sudden change in the patient’s condition.

“Trusted Nurse” Award
Laurel Watkins


Laurel is a nurse with a kind heart who cares equally and respectfully for all her patients and their families. Besides completing routine work, this nurse is always willing to offer help to colleagues and patients. Laurel has a wonderful working relationship with fellow nurses, physicians, and all members of the healthcare team. She is not only an amazing team member but also someone you can confide in and trust.

Laurel has served as a preceptor for new hires and is a mentor for other nurses. She has grown professionally in the IV department beginning as an IV nurse and advancing to a specialized vascular PICC nurse. Laurel regularly attends seminars specific to the specialty to be sure to stay up-to-date with our ever changing healthcare system. She became Vascular Access Board Certified (VA-BC) in 2011. It is with great honor and privilege to award Laurel with the Nursing award of Trusted Nurse.

“Advancing Practice” Award
Jiang Xiao


Jiang is a nurse who excels in advancing practice. She can be trusted both professionally and personally. She is well versed in vascular access and has a preceptor/ mentor mentality. This nurse saw that there was a need in patient care for inserting IV’s in patients that are difficult sticks and she set up a protocol for using an ultrasound machine to insert peripheral IV’s and trained her fellow staff on day shift and will train night shift staff in the near future.

Jiang is an RN IV, with over 10 years of IV experience and is board certified in vascular access and med-surg. She is the “go to” nurse for the unit and is always willing to go above and beyond for her patients and her fellow co-workers. Whenever you have a complicated case you can always call on this nurse for assistance.

“Caring Nurse” Award
Theresa Slicher


Theresa is always such an unsung hero. She provides excellent patient care and consistently works hard trying to get patients to participate in their own care on the rehab unit.

There was one particular situation when Theresa had a patient who was delirious and agitated. But despite of all of the other pressures she had that day, Theresa displayed great patience, compassion, respect and genuine care for this patient. Her main focus was his safety and to ease his agitation, and through it all she never lost her cool. Theresa treats all of her patients, families and staff with the utmost dignity and respect. To add, she is a very positive source for her peers and is always available when needed.

Theresa also participates on the Rehab Unit Council. She consistently follows through on projects and communicates with team mates in an open manner. It is obvious that she cares greatly about the Rehab program and her patients. As a result, she humbly embodies so many great qualities and is truly a gift to the MedStar Good Samaritan organization, patients, families and her co-workers.

“Rookie of the Year” Award
Andrew Scott


Andrew is a new nurse who has developed great clinical skills and is able to handle the fast-paced workload of the HCU very well. Even if he might be stressed, he never shows it, but instead, always displays a positive attitude. He is a driven, motivated nurse, always offering patients his very best!

Andrew is not only a valuable member of the HCU team, but he is also a great asset for MGSH. He is not only loved by all his patients but also by all his co-workers. He is valued for the kindness and care he gives to patients and co-workers. As a true team player, he is always pleasant and polite and willing to help whenever he is needed. He interacts well with ALL members of the interdisciplinary care team.

“Tech of the Year” Award
Keara Miles


Keara is the hardest working and most dedicated tech in this emergency department. She goes out of her way to perform tasks without being asked. She is always the first to notice any new orders needed for a patient, and she is eager to get any and every task done to ensure the patient is taken care of.

Keara deserves to win Tech of the Year. She is hard working and motivated. She has tasks completed before they are even ordered, and he is always ten steps ahead of everyone. She is a pleasure to work with.

Keara always puts patients first. She makes sure patients are comfortable and safe in their rooms, and she is the first to get patients blankets and refreshments if needed. Patients are her priority, she asks patients what they need and does what needs to be done. She makes their stay better, anticipating and meeting their needs.

2015 Nurses Week Award Winners

“Nurse of the Year” Award
Mary Emerson, IV Therapy


Mary is 100% a Good Samaritan. Every day she is here, she goes above and beyond.  She is all about taking care of the patient, as well as the bedside nurse. She is a highly skilled, extremely knowledgeable, and compassionate team player who consistently displays and promotes the highest Quality and Safety. She effectively demonstrates the true meaning of patient first. She is a positive role model and a collaborative interdisciplinary team player. She continually advances her own personal knowledge and exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner in her practice. In 2011, she became vascular access board certified, and currently, she mentors our new IV nurses. As an RN III, she also precepts and coaches others in achieving their professional goals and development. She works from her heart to perform her daily work. It is my honor to nominate her.

Mary gives of her time selflessly and always puts the patient first. She does not take shortcuts, even if that means more work for her.  Because of her clinical expertise and commitment to advancing practice, she is often asked to participate in both nursing and interdisciplinary teams. She was most recently involved in the Central Line Working Smarter Project, and she spent countless hours reviewing data to help with this project. Currently, she participates monthly with the central MedStar IV work group. In addition to pursuing career goals, she also supports our bedside nurses. She advocates for them as well as for the patient. Mary is well respected by physicians, nurses, techs, patients and their families.  It’s an honor and privilege to work with such a wonderful nurse!

“Caring Nurse” Award
Deborah Ray, 2 West Unit


Debbie is so dedicated and goes above and beyond what’s expected of her to give our patients the best care. For instance, one day a man came through the unit, looking for the outpatient lab. He was going to have a procedure done the next day, and he was trying to explain his paper work to Debbie. After speaking with the man, Debbie gave him directions to his destination, but later, she questioned if she had told him the correct information. Early the following day, she called the unit on her day off to see if the man had been admitted. She just wanted to make sure she gave him the right information. I thought it was so caring of her to wake up the next day and still be thinking about that man. But that is exactly the kind of person Debbie is. She cares totally and deeply. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to work her.

I believe Debbie should be Nurse of the Year every year. She is very dedicated and thoughtful about her patients and everyone else. Her patients ask for her all the time. She is very passionate about the care of her patients and always gives 100%. I admire the fact that she will always pitch in and take care of any patient even those who aren’t assigned to her. She’s one of the best nurses, and I enjoy working with her.

“Trusted Nurse” Award
Megan Van Hoy, O’Neill 3 Unit


Megan is one of the most trusted nurses I know. The staff looks up to her, the physicians respect her and patients can’t say enough good things about her. As a charge nurse, she is aware of every patient and their needs. When a problem arises, the staff knows they can count on her to collaborate with the whole team to resolve the problem. Megan worries about her patients and will follow up on their progress even on her days off. Many times, I count on Megan to follow-up on issues when I can’t. She never lets anyone down. She is the epitome of a trusted nurse.

She goes an extra mile to make her patients comfortable. She is compassionate, and she makes sure that her patients get the best care. She also continues to expand her knowledge by taking certification courses and has reached the 4th nursing level. She may not be in the managerial position at this time, but that is because she loves to be a hands-on nurse. She prefers to deal with the patients because that is what nursing is all about.

“Advancing Practice” Award
Jennifer Difatta, Emergency Department


Before Jennifer started her career as an emergency department (ED) nurse in June of 2013, she was previously an RN on O’Neill 4 for 7 years. During that time, she was a charge nurse, orienting new staff and caring for patients. Since joining the ED through the residency program, she has proven herself to be an integral part of the MGSH team, and she continues to grow in her role every day. She advances practice by teaching ED staff how to better utilize the MC75 hand helds, and she was instrumental in the implementation of Patient Call Manager in the ED. She is an active member of the Professional Development Council and the ED Nursing Council and participates in share days with potential staff members. She is always willing to orient, precept and mentor new staff, aiding in their practice and development. Jen Difatta is an integral part of our team and truly Advances Practice in the ED by her actions.

“Rookie of the Year” Award
Gregory Gibson, 5th Floor Unit


Gregory is a caring nurse who always looks out for his patients – he truly exemplifies our SPIRIT values. He works very well with fellow colleagues and is always open to learn new things.

Although Greg is a new nurse, he has grown so much during his first year, and during that time, he has proven himself to be a kind, caring and knowledgeable nurse. He is not only a kind nurse, but he is also willing to lend a hand where help is needed. He deserves to be Rookie of the Year.

“Tech of the Year” Award
Clement Buadu, O’Neill 3 Unit


Clement is a nurse’s dream come true. His priority is always the patient. He greets patients and establishes positive relationships as soon as he goes into a room. He anticipates the patients’ needs and answers the call bell in a timely manner. He is a dedicated hardworking man.

Clement treats staff, patients and their families with the utmost respect and dignity. He performs his job competently and helps to create a good work environment. He definitely works well with others, and when he is pulled to work on other units, he shows the patients and staff the same respect he shows to those on his unit.

“Tech of the Year” Runners-up
Jeanette Okello, Short Stay Unit




Cassie Schuster, Short Stay Unit



2016 Nurses Week Award Winners

“Nurse of the Year” Award
Leila Ignacio-Macale, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Leila is the epitome of what a nurse of the year represents.  She is on multiple committees and is always so eager to help her teammates. She always has a smile on her face, no matter how stressful the day is. 

Leila is well deserving of this award. She is a nurse with an enormous amount of skills, knowledge and compassion for her patients. She is a team player, a patient advocate and an overall excellent nurse.  No one deserves this award more than this great nurse.

Leila is one of the most conscientious nurses I have ever worked with. She is always on time and keeps the unit functioning like a well-oiled machine. She takes excellent care of all of the patients on the unit. She is very knowledgeable and shares her knowledge with others. 

“Caring Nurse” Award
Phoebe Taillon, 5th Floor

Phoebe came to work on the 5th floor as a new nurse in September, 2013. She successfully completed her orientation and quickly grew in her clinical and critical thinking skills. But in addition to these skills, Phoebe excels in her ability to assess her patients holistically—identifying their psycho-social and spiritual needs. Her customer service skills are so polished you would never know she is having a “bad” day — a smile comes naturally to her. 

Phoebe comes prepared to plan-of-the-day rounds so she can address her patients’ needs. She is an excellent patient advocate. She follows policies and procedures to provide her patients with quality care and to keep them safe.

Phoebe had a patient who was anxious and concerned about their condition. Consulting with the patient’s family, she found out that the patient liked listening to gospel music and played several songs to help calm the patient. Almost immediately, the patient improved. When the family came in later that day, they stood around the patient and joined in singing the gospel songs. It was such a beautiful moment, and the family will never forget Phoebe’s kindness. 

“Trusted Nurse” Award
Karen Zielinski, Ambulatory Surgery Unit (ASU)

Karen has worked many years at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital (MGSH) and has been charge nurse in the ASU through much of that time. She can be trusted to keep the unit running smoothly and in an organized manner. She takes the initiative to make sure that our unit is in compliance with hospital and Joint Commission requirements. In addition, she usually takes the lead in acknowledging staff accomplishments (i.e. graduation, retirements, even spearheading the birthday club). She has been a part of the scheduling committee for many years. Karen also has been an active member of MGSH’s Professional Practice Committee. I hope that her efforts and accomplishments can be rewarded prior to her retirement at the end of May. She will be missed.

“Advancing Practice” Award
Nadine Stewart, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Nadine exemplifies what it means to advance in nursing. She holds a BSN, an MSN and MBA, two certifications, and is preparing for another. She is on multiple committees, including the falls committee, the co-chair for the Research Committee and now the Professional Development Council. This September, she will be pursuing her Ph.D at Walden University. I nominate her wholeheartedly.

“Rookie of the Year” Award
Lisa Lonchiadis, Emergency Department

Lisa became a nurse after graduating in 2015, and her first nursing job was in the Emergency Department. She excels in patient care, critical thinking skills and time management. She is caring and compassionate to her patients, always willing to take on a challenge and succeed. Recently, she had a patient who required special medication and the family was anxious about making the decision on the patient's behalf. Lisa remained calm and compassionate while explaining everything to the family. As a new nurse, it can be difficult to manage a critical patient confidently and independently, but Lisa did so and maintained a positive attitude.

“Tech of the Year” Award
Marge Lugenbeel, Endoscopy

Marge Lugenbeel has been with MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital for approximately nine years. She has worked in the Endoscopy department during this time and has brought much knowledge to the staff. Marge consistently demonstrates the hospital’s SPIRIT values. Margie demonstrates the SPIRIT values because of her dedication to the job. She talks to the patients and if she can help them in any way, she does so. She always ensures that they are warm and comfortable and that their dignity is preserved. 

Margie has obtained the respect of her peers by her knowledge and understanding of Endoscopy. She is in constant teaching mode and willingly shares her knowledge with the staff. She has given in-services to the O.R. staff on several occasions and is the tech who trains new nursing staff.

“Tech of the Year” Runner-up
Emerito Infante, Emergency Department

I nominate Emerito because of his compassion, skill set and urgency for our patients in the ED. He is always respectful to patients and family members as well as the staff. When things get tough, he is always on the front line supporting the entire ED. His technical skills are superb! 

Emerito always ensures that patients are safe and comfortable. He follows protocol and stays updated on his patients' condition, aware of new equipment that will make patient care easier. He goes above and beyond to serve our patients and staff. I am proud he is on our team.

2017 Nurses Week Award Winners

Vivian Aligada, RN
Nurse of the Year

Tracey Stewart, RN
Caring Nurse

Sharon Griffin, RN
Trusted Nurse

Jacqueline Johnson, RN
Advancing Practice

Jasmine Brown, RN
Rookie of the Year

Trey Clay
Tech of the Year

Jo Ann Kennedy-Hoyte, BSN, RN
DAISY Nurse Leader