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Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center
Gold Star Winners

The Gold Star Program was created in 1999. Employees can be nominated for Gold Stars by patients, co-workers and physicians. We look for nominations that detail acts/behaviors that exceed the job expectations of the employee. 

Click here for Gold Star Nomination Form or call Service Excellence at (814) 534-3177 to nominate a Gold Star recipient.

2014

 Gold Star Ad March 2014

Pam Weyand – 8 Ashman
An employee nominated Jessica.
One of our patients had been here for over 30 days. This patient was mentally challenged and had no family. He had resided at Helping Hands Mission in Portage for the past 15 years. He suffered a fall and developed many other medical problems during his stay here at MMC. His discharge process was very complicated and that is why he was here for an extended stay. One of the staff members at Helping Hands Mission brought him his favorite blanket so he could have it while he was a patient at MMC. The blanket made the patient feel safe and secure. He used the blanket on his bed and wrapped around him when he got out of bed. He always had this blanket with him in some way or another. During his stay here at the hospital, the blanket got soiled. One day after working a full shift, Pam took the blanket to the Laundromat so she could launder the blanket for the patient. Pam sat at the Laundromat while the blanket washed and dried and when it was done, Pam drove back to the hospital to deliver it to the patient. Pam knew his attachment to the blanket and did not want him to go a day without it. This kind of action is typical of Pam. She shows great compassion and caring to her patients every day. This is just one of the many acts of kindness she has displayed in her six months or so of employment at MMC. She consistently exemplifies the CARING Values and does everything she can to create the ideal patient experience. She is a great employee who embraces her role.

Carol Collins – Home Health Meyersdale
An employee nominated Carol.
We want to nominate Carol for a gold star as she provided many acts of kindness to one of our elderly, lonely patients. The patient confided in Carol that he was lonely and had very little support. He told Carol that on special occasions he missed certain meals because he was too sick to cook anymore. He told Carol he was hungry for a turkey dinner. Carol surprised the patient by cooking him a turkey dinner and delivering it to him. On another occasion the patient’s birthday was coming up. He told Carol that he never had a birthday cake. Carol again surprised the patient with a cake and some presents. Carol’s coworkers even got into the surprise and also sent cards and small gifts for the patient. Carol found out that the patient had financial limitations and there was a possibility he wouldn’t make it through the winter with his heating oil. Carol investigated and found a community agency that could provide private funding to the patient but in the meantime she purchased some heating oil for the patient with her own money. She wanted to make sure he would be taken care of. The patient spoke to a coworker from home health and told her that he was so appreciative of everything Carol has done for him. He said he was overwhelmed by Carol’s many acts of kindness. He said nobody could have been any more compassionate to him.

Judy Dembowski – 6 Ashman
A patient’s family nominated Judy.
I want to make you aware of the wonderful care my mother received while a patient on 6 Ashman. Although a number of wonderful people cared for my Mom, Judy was one of her day nurses so we saw more of her. She kept us updated on everything and explained her condition to the very last detail. We were truly impressed with her and felt very comfortable knowing our Mom was in her capable hands. We trusted her completely and will be forever grateful to her. Your unit is blessed to have her and so are the families of the patient’s she cares for. Any conversation the family had regarding my Mom’s condition started with, “Nurse Judy said . . . “. We wish she could have cared for Mom 24 hours. The expert care that your team provided made it possible for us to hold on to our Mom for a few more days, which is what we all prayed for.

Melissa Ramirez – 10 Ashman
A co-worker nominated Melissa.
10 Ashman had a Sunshine Committee that was stagnant. Nobody was committed to donate their personal time to chair the committee. This committee is a committee that can do nice things for staff. The staff work hard and this is one way to recognize them for their efforts. Melissa volunteered to bring the committee back to life. Since her involvement with the committee she has helped to increase morale and teamwork by ten folds on 10 Ashman. Recently she spear headed ordering scrub shirts with the recent recognition of 10 Ashman becoming an official Medical/Pulmonary step down unit. They look very professional and staff is proud to wear the shirts. She also does many nice things for staff such as offering her home for the Holiday Christmas party and she also used a gift certificate that she won to cater food for the party. Every year at Christmas we give money to a local charity. This year we knew that some of our own were going through hardships and we decided to help our own staff. Melissa and her daughter were going to purchase gift cards for distribution to those in need. She found out that there wasn’t much money in the fund so she put a substantial amount of her own money in the fund to make sure there were enough gift cards for staff. Melissa’s generosity and commitment has made staff very happy. 10 Ashman has become an extraordinary team and most of all family. Thanks Melissa for paying it forward.

Gold Star Ad Feb 2014

Richard Shinholt, Security
An employee nominated Richard.
A patient on 7 Ashman was being discharged. When her husband went to get his car for her discharge, he realized the car was missing. After a call to Security, it was determined that the patient parked at Franklin Pediatrics and his car was towed. Richard Shinholt made a telephone call to the garage where he suspected the car may have been towed. Richard then drove the patient and her husband, in a Security Vehicle, to the garage so they could reclaim their car. The patient’s husband, however, was in a dilemma because he did not have the money to pay the fee to release the vehicle. Putting our patient’s needs first, Richard pulled out his personal credit card and told the garage to charge the amount to him. The patient called 7 Ashman to praise Richard for his kindness and compassion. She said they didn’t know Richard and it was not only generous but extremely kind of Richard to do this for them. She said her and her husband were so impressed and asked that we recognize Richard for his kind act.

Ruthann Palm, Radiology
An employee and the family of the patient nominated Ruthann. This is Ruthann’s third Gold Star!
Ruthann was leaving the Main Campus to finish her shift at the Lee Campus. While she was driving under the P5 Pavilion she saw that a woman had fallen from the sidewalk onto the roadway. She apparently hit her head off of the pavement. Ruthann pulled her car aside and rushed to the woman’s aid. The woman was bleeding profusely from the wound in her head. Ruthann had a clean towel in her car and she used to apply pressure to the wound. Ruthann stayed with the woman, who was quite shaken, until emergency personnel could help her. The patient’s family wrote that they believe Ruthann went above and beyond. They said it would have been easy for Ruthann to keep driving past the fallen woman but instead she stopped and got involved. They said you don’t always see Good Samaritans in this day and they were very grateful and appreciative that Ruthann helped their mother.

Christine Schreyer, 8 Ashman
An employee nominated Christine.
A patient needed transferred to Pittsburgh for vascular issues. The patient needed to be monitored by an RN due to a critical drip. After much planning, obtaining a bed in a Pittsburgh hospital and arranging transport, there was nobody available to go with the patient. Upon hearing this, Chris volunteered her time to monitor the patient on the trip to Pittsburgh. Chris had already worked a full day. This trip took place at 1 a.m. Chris did not have to volunteer for this job. Chris made sure the patient’s needs came first. Had Chris not done this, the patient’s transport would have been greatly delayed. This was a great act of compassion for the patient. This act truly exemplifies our CARING Values. She was compassionate and put the patient first. She respected the need for a timely transport. She didn’t make any excuses and she certainly did this with a great attitude! 

Jessica Goodwin, 8 Ashman
An employee nominated Jessica.
A patient was admitted to 8 Ashman after spending a few days in critical care. The patient’s illness required mechanical ventilation and a subsequent tracheotomy insertion along with many other critical illnesses that were complicating her stay. Attempts to wean her from the ventilator were not going very well. The patient was very anxious during the attempts to wean. Jessica was this patient’s nurse for a few days in a row. The patient told Jessica that she was bored. She lived in Meyersdale and her husband had vision problems and had to leave the hospital every day before dark in order to drive home. In an effort to lift the spirits of the patient, Jessica called her Mom and asked for a favor. Jessica had her Mom stop at the hospital. Jessica gave her money and sent her to the store to buy the patient a CD player and some music CDs. The patient was hospitalized for 30 days but the small gift of the CD player and CDs helped the patient through her boredom and brought some happiness to her during her stay. Jessica was very empathetic to the patient’s situation and she showed great kindness by being attentive to the patient’s emotional needs. We want to thank Jessica for all she did.

Pam Weyand, 8 Ashman
An employee nominated Jessica.
One of our patients had been here for over 30 days. This patient was mentally challenged and had no family. He had resided at Helping Hands Mission in Portage for the past 15 years. He suffered a fall and developed many other medical problems during his stay here at MMC. His discharge process was very complicated and that is why he was here for an extended stay. One of the staff members at Helping Hands Mission brought him his favorite blanket so he could have it while he was a patient at MMC. The blanket made the patient feel safe and secure. He used the blanket on his bed and wrapped around him when he got out of bed. He always had this blanket with him in some way or another. During his stay here at the hospital, the blanket got soiled. One day after working a full shift, Pam took the blanket to the Laundromat so she could launder the blanket for the patient. Pam sat at the Laundromat while the blanket washed and dried and when it was done, Pam drove back to the hospital to deliver it to the patient. Pam knew his attachment to the blanket and did not want him to go a day without it. This kind of action is typical of Pam. She shows great compassion and caring to her patients every day. This is just one of the many acts of kindness she has displayed in her six months or so of employment at MMC. She consistently exemplifies the CARING Values and does everything she can to create the ideal patient experience. She is a great employee who embraces her role. 

Charlene Goldberg, PACU
A patient’s Mother nominated Charlene.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly believe God sent you to me, like my guardian angel here on earth to comfort me. It seemed every time I just needed someone – there you were to offer a hug, kind words, prayers and even food. I appreciate it so much. You were so caring. You didn’t have to stop. You could have passed me by like so many others. You didn’t have to call me to check on me and my son. You didn’t have to bring pizza for my family and hug me, but you did. You are truly an amazing person and I am sure a wonderful nurse and I feel blessed just by knowing you. I am a mother of five. Cody was my baby and he still lived at home. He always joked that he was never leaving because no one could take care of him like I did. My heart is completely broken and there are always tears in my eyes. I know that God must have a plan for taking Cody from us. The only thing that helps me is knowing that someone like you made this difficult time easier for me. I appreciate all of your kindness more than you know and I am completely grateful for all you have done. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. You are truly one of a kind.

Leann Cruse, 7 Ashman
An employee nominated Leann.
I would like to nominate Leann Cruse for a Gold Star. Leann’s caring spirit and behavior exemplify our vision and CARING Values. There are so many reasons to nominate Leann. Here are only a few reasons why we feel she deserves a Gold Star:

  • Often patients leave personal items or even medical supplies behind after discharge. Leann will drive to the patient homes to deliver these items. Many times these patients are elderly or do not drive. They are so appreciative that she goes out of her way to help them out.
  • Leann does a great job communicating with our patients and their families. She makes sure that she asks them about every aspect of their care including understanding medication instructions, how staff is treating them and even how they like the food. One patient was elderly and couldn’t read. Leann took extra time to read all the meal options to her and called down her meals.
  • One time a family was here because their son was admitted with an overdose of street drugs. The parents were extremely distraught. She got the parents something to drink and sat with them and explained that their son was in good hands and that we would take care of him and if they had any questions, at any hour, they could contact her. The mother broke down in tears and thanked Leann for her kindness.
  • Leann’s philosophy is that no matter how many days you’ve worked or how difficult the patient may be, there are no excuses for not delivering the best care possible to your patient. Leann has a great smile and is kind to everyone. Her patients and the patient families love her. Leann realizes that you don’t just heal patients physically, but emotionally too. She takes the time to have personal conversations about television shows and many other things. This takes the patient’s mind off of their illness and it brings a little joy.
  • Leann is also wonderful to her coworkers. A fellow coworker found out that the baby she was carrying was going to have some health problems. Leann organized a sub, pizza and bake sale and a basket party in order to raise funds for her and her husband to help off-set expenses while they stayed in Pittsburgh.

There are so many more examples but needless to say, Leann makes sure that she creates the “ideal patient experience” for every patient and every family member that comes through our department.

Giancarlo Levrio, PT
An employee nominated Giancarlo.
We would like to nominate Giancarlo for a Gold Star. Giancarlo was assigned to 8 Ashman. He does an excellent job meeting the needs of his patients by always putting them first. He has a great rapport with the patients and coworkers. A few recent examples of his acts of kindness include:

  • He recently assisted an employee on 8 Ashman find a place to live. This person has had some recent health problems and she is recovering from cancer treatments. The employee was left having difficulty with every day ambulation and increased fatigue. The employee was looking for new housing without stairs to make it easier to get around. On his own time Giancarlo offered to drive her around and assist her in finding a new place to live. This employee comes to me almost daily to tell me how much his wonderful his acts of kindness mean to her and she is so appreciative. When she talks about it to me, she gets tears in her eyes.
  • Recently a patient was admitted to 8 Ashman with a gangrenous foot that required amputation. The man was elderly and living in deplorable conditions. He could no longer care for himself and had to be admitted to a skilled facility. He didn’t want to be admitted because he said he had no money and no clothing. Giancarlo got some clothing from a family member and after work hours, he went to the nursing facility, on the day the patient was discharged from here, and took the clothing items to him.
  • On Christmas morning, Giancarlo came to 8 Ashman and 8 Rose dressed as Santa Claus. With his own money, Giancarlo bought small gifts. He visited the patients on 8th floor and distributed the gifts to them. This was such a surprise for our patients who were here on Christmas day. How unselfish for Giancarlo to give up his personal time on Christmas day.

Giancarlo consistently embraces the “Ideal Patient Experience” concept. He is a perfect example of an employee who does his job for the personal rewards! 
  

Click the following links to view past Gold Star Recipients
2013 Gold Star Winners
2012 Gold Star Winners
2011 Gold Star Winners
2010 Gold Star Winners
2009 Gold Star Winners
2008 Gold Star Winners