Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Celebrating GBMC’s Most Compassionate Caregivers

The GBMC Healthcare System is working toward our vision of treating everyone, every time the way that we would want our own loved ones treated. We remind each other that there are four components of the care that we want for our family members:

1. Better health: the best possible health outcome;
2. Better care: the best possible satisfaction with the way the care is delivered;
3. Lower cost: with the least waste of money, effort, and time;
4. And with the most joy for those providing the care.

But as I reflect on our quadruple or four part aim, the one that the patient has the easiest time judging is the better care aim.

Patients cannot easily tell if we have made the right care decisions. They don’t know if we have ordered the correct tests, they can’t tell if they got better because of our therapies or in spite of them. Our patients don’t often know if we have wasted their money or time. And frequently we don’t show them our joy in being able to help them.

But our patients can readily appreciate kindness. They know a smile from a distracted look. They know if someone is rushing through an explanation or if the clinician really cares to see that the patient has understood. Our patients know when we are really listening and showing empathy as opposed to going through a checklist with no time for real understanding.

Our patients know when a care provider is compassionate.

Linda Kelly with her award.
And that’s why, once a year the GBMC family formally celebrates those who are the exemplars of compassion - those people who are closer to perfection in treating others like they love them even if they have just met them. I had the privilege of recognizing these wonderful individuals at this year’s Compassionate Caregiver’s Award ceremony and to honor Linda Kelly, RN, FNE-A, SANE-A, Clinical Program Manager of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Program, who was awarded with GBMC’s Nancy J. Petrarca Compassionate Caregiver Award on June 5.

Linda truly embodies the vision of our healthcare system with her dedication to caring for the victims of abuse as if they were her own loved ones. She received a number of nomination letters on her behalf that praised her not only for the compassionate care and extraordinary commitment to victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, but also for her dedication to educating young people in the community about sexual and domestic violence. The nomination letters were extraordinarily touching and each one cited one particular patient – a victim of severe torture and abuse whose life was ultimately saved because Linda went above and beyond to provide her with loving care and to seek justice for the abuse she endured.

I also congratulate and thank all of those individuals nominated for this year’s Compassionate Caregiver Award including:

Honorable mention finalists:
Donna Thomas, Patient Access
Nancy Shackelford, RN, General Operating Room
Harold Goll, MD, Anesthesiology
Gabrielle Whalen, RN, Pediatric ED

LaChond Alston - Gilchrist Hospice Care
Daniel Blue, RT - Respiratory Care, NICU
Jaime Clark - Wound Care Center
Lynne DeLancey, LCSW-C - Greater Baltimore Cleft Lip and Palate Team
Lois Fitzgerald - Gilchrist Hospice Care
Melissa Frey, RN - Bariatric Surgery
Mike Lohnes - Physical Therapy, Joint & Spine Center
Modesty Lyles - Gilchrist Hospice Care
Diane Moniuszko - Core Clinical Laboratory, Gilchrist Volunteer
Cate O'Connor-Devlin, RN - Nursing Administration
Patricia Schoenleber – Gilchrist Hospice Care
Renu Thomas, MD - Hospitalist, Medical Residency
Claudia Williams, RN – NICU
Rita Yow - Gilchrist Hospice Care
Mary Zappala - Gilchrist Volunteer

It is hard to show compassion always. Everyone shows compassion at times. I count myself among those who intend to be compassionate but are too task-oriented. The people that I look up to are the ones that get the work done, but almost never fail to demonstrate that they get it - that they are dealing with another human being in need and not just completing another task.

We are fortunate that in the GBMC family we are surrounded by caregivers who inspire us and remind us of the innate goodness in people.


  1. Congratulations to Linda Kelly, and to all
    the nominees! You are all winners!!! Proud
    to be working with such caring professionals
    at GBMC and Gilchrist!

  2. Congratulations, Linda. Great person.

  3. Michael SchwartzbergJune 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Congratulations Linda! Much deserved!

  4. I couldn't agree more with this year's choice of Compassionate Caregiver. I attended the Schwartz Center Rounds where Linda presented "Saving Brittany" and agree with Dr. Foster - this story would make a great movie. I'm reminded of the saying, "You may be one person to the world, but to another person, you may be the world." Linda is GBMC's (and Brittany's) shining star!


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