Employees Honored with Daisy, U Make a Difference Awards


Each quarter, UCHealth recognizes employees who go above and beyond on a consistent basis through the U Make a Difference program.

U Make a Difference recipients promote UCHealth’s Standards of Excellence and serve as role models for the standards. Each month, in each region, a committee reviews and selects the top U Make a Difference nominations. Honorees receive a $50 VISA gift card and a U Make a Difference lapel pin.

UCHealth also honored two Daisy Award recipients. These awards are given to nurses who provide exemplary care for patients.

Earlier this month, the following Memorial Hospital employees were recognized:


Emily Ensminger, RN, Emergency Department
Nominated by Denise Kane

It was another crazy busy night in the Emergency Department. Emily went to triage where we had more than 25 patients, and she triaged almost all of them, medicated and started IVs, drew labs and stayed until we only had 2 people in the waiting room. She helped get the ball rolling on many of our patients so their time in the ED wasn’t as long. Thank you so much, I know you worked really hard and we all appreciate you!

Jody Gottesman Behavioral Health Evaluator, Behavioral Health Clinicians
Nominated by Billie Ratliff

Jody is a master clinician who always goes above and beyond for patients. She also has recently been holding up behavioral health by working alone during a period of staff leaving and our hiring efforts. Jody has had to do this more than most recently and continues to come to work and go above and beyond. Today Jody picked up the ball from another team member and made a call that identified a very mentally ill patient that had been in CU-4 for over 24 hours as a Doe. She obtained history, identification and necessary information that allowed her to evaluate the patient and secure the appropriate level of care for the patient. I cannot express enough how vital Jody is to the behavioral health team with her clinical skill, commitment and loyalty. Thank you Jody for being a part of this team and a role model for us all.

Harriet Hamilton RN Forensic Examiner, Emergency Department
Nominated by Megan Lechner

Harriet was taking care of a patient in the Emergency Department who was a victim of child abuse. The patient was later admitted to Children’s Hospital. Elizabeth Allen (Clinical Social Work Coordinator) had these great things to say about Harriet and her documentation: “Just wanted to offer some positive feedback on Harriet’s documentation in a child abuse case. I was paged during the night by floor staff to give us a heads-up on the case. After meeting with you a few weeks ago, I was able to get in the chart and find the appropriate documentation. Harriet’s notes were very thorough and it saved me a lot of trouble at midnight to be able to read them and get all the info I needed! Thanks for taking the time to walk me through your documentation and please let Harriet know how much I appreciated her great documentation. I have let all of our staff know where to find your info. Great job, Harriet!

Elizabeth Thorpe Physical Therapist, Acute Care Rehabilitation
Nominated by Cris Baker

Over the past few months, we have requested an increased amount of PT/OT evaluations in the ED; many of them have been late in the day. Beth not only has responded very quickly and completed the evaluation, but has gone out of her way to notify Case Management and discuss disposition options. She is always friendly and caring with the patients and takes the time to seek out physician, patient, nurse and CM input. She clearly is a patient advocate and works toward the best interest and safety of our patients.

Carol Lawson Registered Nurse, Mother Baby Patient Care Unit
Nominated by Paul Lara

I was called to a patient’s room who was upset with the discharge process. When I arrived at the patient’s room, I learned that the patient’s physician had discharged the patient to home from the physician office. The physician provided a prescription which required the physician signature and the patient was asked to stop at the physician’s office to have the prescription signed. The patient was very upset with this process.

The good news is that by the time I arrived to the patient’s room, Carol had arranged for the prescription to be signed by a physician on site. After further investigation we learned that the patient had another prescription with her for Ibuprofen and another prescription had been called to a local community pharmacy for Microbid. Carol called the Memorial Hospital pharmacy and informed them of the situation. Carol assisted with making arrangements to have the prescription from the Community Pharmacy sent to Memorial Hospital Pharmacy. The patient was then able to have all three prescriptions filled at Memorial Hospital’s Pharmacy. The patient expressed gratitude for the convenience. I believe that Carol placed the patient’s care first and demonstrated Patient Centered Care. Thank you, Carol for outstanding work.

Sara Valdez and Brandy Grein, Medical Assistants, CHMG Primary Care
Nominated by Susan Baker

Brandy Grein and Sara Valdez went above and beyond with patient care. While getting lunch at Subway, they helped a lady that had fainted. Their quick thinking and training helped with providing and getting the proper care that she needed. I would like to say how proud I am of Sara and Brandy. You both are heroes in my book and clearly demonstrate our Standards of Excellence.

Chong Pedrick RN Graduate, Staffing Office
Nominated by Myra Parker on behalf of a patient

The patient called me (Myra Parker) on my work phone and wanted to speak to me about the care he received from my employee and one-month nurse resident Chong Pedrick. The patient had this to say about Chong. “She was wonderful! I have been in and out of hospitals for 5 years and you know when you get good care and when you get bad care. Chong gave me exceptional care! She was attentive, she sat and talked with me about my care, and educated me on options to deal with my situation. She made sure I understood the plan for the day, and talked about my long-term care. She helped reduce my anxiety by sitting with me for sometimes 30 minutes, and just listened. That meant the world to me. She is an outstanding nurse!”

Steve Kusulas, Patient Benefits Coordinator BL, Scheduling Services
Nominated by Robin Rogers on behalf Paul Lara

I would like to recognize Steve Kusulas for providing patient-centered care and preventing a patient from leaving against medical advice. A patient presented to Memorial Hospital with a dislocated hip after a fall at home. The patient was admitted to the Ortho Spine Unit and was refusing treatment because he was without insurance due to his Medicaid being dropped. He was recently married and was in the process of obtaining insurance coverage under his wife’s policy; however, the patient was caught within a 30-day window of transition without insurance coverage. The physician and physician assistant recommended further testing to determine a treatment plan. The patient did not want to be financially responsible for costs associated with the tests and was requesting to leave against medical advice.

The patient was under the impression that because Medicaid dropped him, that he would not qualify for Medicaid and did not see the purpose of reapplying. Steve met with the patient and explained the Colorado Indigent Care Program benefits and let the patient know that there was a chance he would qualify for Medicaid and if Medicaid should deny him, based on his income he would qualify for CICP. Steve went a step further and explained the process for CICP, as the patient would need to reapply with Medicaid and be denied by Medicaid before CICP could be applied. The patient was pleased to hear of the CICP benefits and chose to stay and continue treatment.

Gary Hale, Systems Analyst Pharmacy, UCHealth Epic Inpatient
Nominated by Cynthia Larson

While Gary always does a great job with his Clinical Decision Support work, I’d like to celebrate his recent efforts to drive and coordinate external teams in regards to an important patient safety need. Due to significant risks (patient death), a certain medication cannot be given with certain clinical conditions and a BPA build was needed to alert providers to this potential situation. However, the EKG results needed as criteria in the BPA do not live in Epic for all regions due to the disparate third-party systems. Gary encountered significant challenges with this build, and I applaud Gary’s perseverance when he was told that this would not work until over a year from now when the ancillary teams might be consolidating software. Driven by what he felt was important, Gary orchestrated many meetings and communication between CDS, Pharmacy, CV lab, Interfaces and the ancillary application teams to push for a solution and not allow any more patients to fall through the cracks. His focus was always on the patient and his clinical leadership was instrumental to the conversation and change management he influenced. Great work, Gary, and thank you for your tireless efforts and keeping our patients safe!

Candice Jahner,Medical Lab Technician, Lab Services Central
Nominated by Jennifer McElroy

Candice is a role model to all staff of what it means to be a valuable, productive, and a true leader. Candice always steps in to take extra duties. For example she took over responsibilities of the Hematology Lead/Supervisor while I was on maternity leave. She gathered QC review, conducted reagent correlations, six-month test correlations, delegated work duties to staff, created day and night shift schedules, and was the main source of information during the recent CAP inspection. Candice is always working above and beyond, taking on additional work days/hours when needed due to staffing. She is always on the lookout for things that could possibly have an impact on patient care. such as inventory for testing reagents. Candice always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude towards any task. She is appreciated by all!

Sarah Powell, Administrative Assistant, Cancer Service Line Administration
Nominated by Sloan Maes

For Oncology Nursing Month Sarah took it upon herself to plan a wonderful afternoon celebration for management and some of the nursing staff. She personally made and gave us lavender Epsom salts in a tub, a lavender eye compress made out of healthcare themed fabric, and then put out an awesome food spread of fruit, chocolate fountain and angel food cake, numerous beverages and other items. And to top it all off, she arranged for the Everest College massage students to come and provide chair massages for 2 hours. Sarah’s efforts were simply outstanding!! There are many other examples where Sarah makes someone’s day, but this one deserves extra recognition. She came up with the idea, asked for my blessing to do “something” for nursing month, took the ball and ran with it and provided a truly marvelous experience for our team.

Kevin Dulin, Inventory Analyst, Distribution
Nominated by April Smith

Kevin is our “go-to” person at Memorial North in the OR. He never says “that’s not my job,” and he is always willing to lend a hand in any way that he can. I was faced with an urgent CMS issue regarding the bone freezer in the OR. Not knowing who to call about this issue, I called Kevin and asked him to reach out to the manufacturer to see if they have a temp monitoring wheel available for the freezer. Kevin didn’t hesitate; he accepted the project, even though it is really “not his job” and the next day he returned the info to me and saved the day. Thank you, Kevin for always willing to go above and beyond to help our team at Memorial North. You are the best!

Patricia Riley, Nursing Assistant, Medical 56 Patient Care Unit
Nominated by Brianne Wagner

Pat consistently demonstrates every one of our Standards of Excellence. Pat is the bath aide on our floor and is so compassionate about her job. Pat ALWAYS puts the patient first; she takes time to make each bed bath of the highest quality. She engages with each and every patient. On top of doing her job Pat is a huge advocate for the patients. She coaches other staff members and takes new teammates under her wing to make sure they are giving the highest quality healthcare experience for each patient. She holds others accountable in a way that has endless value for our organization. Today Pat helped with a patient who was climbing out of bed (multiple times), and she prevented him from falling. The patient got combative with Pat and Pat remained calm. Pat stayed by the patient’s side for over an hour while a code gray was called, and meds were given. The outcome would have been detrimental without Pat’s calm and comforting demeanor. Thank you, Pat, for all you do and your quality of care.

Tiffney Phillips Nursing Assistant, Medical 56 Patient Care Unit
Nominated by Hannah Miller

Tiffney, I wanted to recognize you for following through and making sure that your patient got the attention they needed when you saw that something was wrong. Your patient was bleeding significantly, and you were not able to get a response from the nurse, so you followed up with the charge nurse instead of waiting. A MET was ultimately called on this patient, and the patient was transferred to ICU.   It is because of you that this patient’s post-op complication was noted, and addressed. You are awesome! Thank you for everything you do!

Adrienne Walsh, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Clinical Education
Nominated by Deborah Bopp

Adrienne worked with Womens Services to educate staff on sepsis. She came to multiple staff meetings and presented a 45-minute lecture on sepsis, and she allowed for discussion and case presentations specific to pregnancy. Smart, engaged and approachable, she made all staff feel important in recognizing this very scary condition. Very well done! Thank you from all of Women’s Services.

Chelsea Webb Nursing Assistant, 75 Digestive Medicine
Nominated by Tanja Sisenstein

My team and I went up to 75 for a code gray. It appeared that Chelsea was not part of the original incident that caused the code to be called but once involved, Chelsea stayed with the patient and code team. She was very responsive with the patient, and she was always close by to help keep the patient and staff safe when the patient became violent. Chelsea’s communication was open and effective and she was very receptive to suggestions during the debriefing. Chelsea was hit by the patient during the code, but she stayed professional with the patient until safe to step out of the room and was able to identify that she needed to step away so she could continue to be professional. Overall this was one of the best experiences I have had with a floor tech on a code gray.

The Daisy Award winners are as follows:

Andrew Livesey, RN – This letter was written by a patient’s family members:

“I would first like to start off by complimenting you on having such a patient, understanding and experienced staff.

“My mother passed away at Memorial Main on Tuesday May 12th around 4 a.m. in room 4626 of the ICU department.

“I’m writing this to personally thank and hope that you recognize Andrew (Manchester, England) for the truly wonderful job that Andrew did as the night nurse for the final four days my mom was with us.  The care that Andrew exhibited was absolutely first-rate but, it was all of the little things he did that really helped making my mother’s passing a little easier.

“First:  The little things that he did and that your entire staff does really make a difference.  They were constantly asking if we needed anything or had any questions but more importantly; they would always talk to my mom before they did anything even though she was in an induced coma.  That meant a lot to me.

“Second: On the first night that he was on duty, there was a code “Blue” called to my mom’s room.  After all of the nurses and doctors had left I went in there crying thinking the worst.  Andrew showed up, and calmly explained the situation and didn’t leave until I felt better and understood the circumstances.  Thank you Andrew.

“Third:  My step-sister stayed in the room part of the nights so that I could get some sleep; accolades to Andrew for putting up with her sarcasm. Thank you Andrew.

“Fourth: As additional family members would arrive, Andrew would always take the time to answer any questions and his general demeanor was calming to all.  One of my family members mentioned to Andrew the difficulty my grandfather (her dad) was having.  When my grandfather entered the room with multiple family members present; Andrew immediately approached him to bring him up to date with the information and just to talk to him in general.  This act of kindness was recognized by my entire family.  Thank you, Andrew.

“Fifth: On the third night, I overheard that Andrew may be going to Memorial North the next night.  My sister was going to be coming into town that night and we had gone through so much with Andrew already. That being said, I requested through a doctor that he be there that fourth night as we would be turning off life support after my sister arrived; it turns out, Andrew had requested the same on his own. Thank you, Andrew.

“Finally: Words cannot express how much Andrew contributed to me and my family as we went through this entire process.  I hope that he will be recognized for the difference he made to one family.  You could use an army of Andrew’s and if he ever decides to move to the casino world for work (I know he won’t), he will be hired on the spot.

“In closing, thank you, your entire nursing team and most importantly Andrew for making my mom’s exit from this world as comforting as possible for myself and my entire family.”


Jennifer Freeman, RN

I am entering this on behalf of a patient’s wife. This letter was read during safety briefing. This is a letter sent to the CEO from a patient appreciating the care received from Jennifer Freeman, RN.

I would like to take a moment of your time to praise one of your employees! My husband has had many health challenges since September 2014. He was diagnosed with severe allergic asthma and his doctor prescribed Xolair injections to help lessen his sensitivity to his lung allergy triggers. These injections are given at Memorial Hospital in the Outpatient Infusion Unit within the Oncology Department. He received shots on several occasions without incident. However, at his appointment on December 11, 2014, as his vitals were being taken, Jennifer Freeman, the attending RN,noticed that his pulse rate was very fast. She called his prescribing doctor and it was decided that she walk him over to the Emergency Department. He was given an EKG and results showed he was in atrial fibrillation. This was a very surprising diagnosis for us because much other testing to find his problem had shown that his heart was fine.

Jennifer said she would stay in her unit until it was decided if it would be safe for her to administer his Xolair injection. About 20 minutes after her normal quitting time she was called from the Infusion Department into the Emergency Department and allowed to administer the injection! I can’t help but feel that Jennifer truly saved his life! She certainly went above and beyond to make sure my husband was well cared for and in the right hands for treatment. Although he was not happy to be in the Emergency Department, he was seen quickly, diagnosed quickly and treated quickly. Dr. Cross and staff made sure my husband was feeling better within minutes! We had been trying to identify the cause of why he was sometimes feeling badly for many months. But it was truly Jennifer that saved the day. We cannot thank her enough and wanted you to know your employees are doing excellent work! Every employee in the Outpatient Infusion Department from the ladies at check-in to the advanced medical staff is excellent in every conceivable way, and they seem to be very happy to care for their patients.”

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