Nancy Kelleher (front row, second from left, in gray blazer) with colleagues at this year’s Nurse Recognition Dinner

Nancy Kelleher (front row, second from left, in gray blazer) with colleagues at this year’s Nurse Recognition Dinner

Nancy Kelleher, MSN, RN, of Care Coordination, approaches her patients with grace and dignity. No matter a patient’s background or situation, Kelleher treats all patients with the respect they deserve.

“Every patient I care for is important to me,” said Kelleher, who practices on Tower 14B, a general medical service with medically complex patients. “It’s essential that I spend time getting to know the patient and their situation so that I’m able to develop the best discharge plan for everyone involved.”

For her compassion, expertise, leadership and many other outstanding qualities, Kelleher received this year’s Essence of Nursing Award, the highest honor presented to clinical nurses at BWH. She accepted the award at the Nurse Recognition Dinner on May 5.

Kelleher, who began as a nurse care coordinator at BWH in 1994, works closely and collaboratively with many members of the interdisciplinary team, patients and their families to ensure patient care is well-coordinated across the continuum from pre-admission to post-discharge.

“What strikes me about Nancy is her commitment to her work and patients,” wrote nominator and Care Coordination Program Director Terri O’Sullivan, MPH, MSN, RN, ACM. “As a care coordinator, her nursing practice reflects her exceptional commitment.”

When Kelleher first engages with patients and their families, she initiates discussions about discharge plans with all who are involved in their care to meet their individualized needs. Her leadership and clinical expertise direct the team’s focus on the issues at hand and possible strategies to solve problems. She communicates the necessary steps required and joins in to be part of the solution. If the team encounters a barrier, she quickly regroups to develop an alternate plan, which can include reaching out to community resources.

“Nancy is a most-valued member of the team and stands out as one of the best individuals to work with at BWH,” said O’Sullivan. “She is extraordinarily flexible, willing to meet early or late with the team, patients and their families. She demonstrates amazing insight into facilitating transitions of care from inpatient to outpatient.”

During this year’s Nurse Recognition Dinner, the four exemplary nurses named as honorees were also recognized: Andrea Fonseca, MSN, RN, ANP-C, Shapiro 8 Vascular Surgery/Cardiology, nurse-in-charge; Melanie Nedder, BSN, RN, CCRN-CMC, clinical nurse in the Levine Cardiac Intensive Care Unit; Hayley Tuon, BSN, RN, CCRN, clinical nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit; and Ann Walsh, BSN, RN, clinical nurse at Brigham and Women’s and Mass General Health Care Center, Foxborough. Nearly 500 attendees gathered at the dinner to recognize Kelleher and the honorees.

“I was delighted to celebrate the many strengths and achievements of our recipient, honorees and department and the extraordinary care we provide to our patients and their families every day,” said Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN, FAAN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services.

Learn more about BWH nurses’ compassionate patient-centered care in this video.