A Stellar Performance: SuperStars Who Go Above and Beyond

Pictured here from left to right:  MedStar Washington Hospital Center Board Treasurer Stan Gutkowski; Earl Mozie, Roberto Perez, Stephen Willson, Rita Carswell, Jesse Jackson, Jakki Carter, Carrissa Greenwell, Maria Biscocho, Erin McDonnell, Phyllis Sams, President John Sullivan, and Hilary Hancock.

The list has grown! Here are our SuperStars for this quarter.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a long tradition of recognizing associates who not only rise to the occasion, but go above and beyond in assisting patients or colleagues within our community. We recently recognized several associates for their outstanding service, and we want to share their stories with you today.


Recently, we experienced a sad event when a patient passed away in the OR. Before going to surgery, the patient had only very briefly been admitted to 2NW, where Erin McDonnell is a patient care manager. Even though the patient was not a 2NW patient at the time of death, Erin recognized the family’s need for help.

She provided space and privacy on 2NW for the family to grieve, connected them with interpretive services, kept in communication with the holding area to let them know when the family would be coming, and provided ongoing support and kindness to the family. She even stayed beyond her shift to wait for additional family members to arrive.

Erin’s kindness, dedication, and going above-and-beyond the call of duty made a real difference to this family during one of the most difficult times of their lives.


This nomination comes from a Rapid Response Nurse, who wanted to convey her sincere appreciation for a team member in MRI. The nurse wrote that this associate’s “calm, patient manner was a great help to me during a Rapid Response call in the East Building MRI. Her knowledge of the emergency equipment availability and the location of supplies were instrumental in caring for this critically ill patient. I appreciated her assistance in transferring the patient with the rest of the Rapid Response to the Emergency Department. I also noticed that she went out of her way to gather all of the patient's belongings to accompany him to the ER."


A nurse contacted Jakki Carter, seeking her support and advice to challenge an order for a procedure on a patient that she was not comfortable with. This nurse even brought her concerns to a physician, but the orders were not changed. The order directed this nurse to insert a Foley catheter on a patient who had a history of problems with Foley insertion. Jakki agreed with the nurse’s evaluation, and continued to escalate the concern several levels, until reaching the Urology attending. The attending agreed with Jakki that a specialist should do the insertion.

Jakki is being recognized for supporting the team.


One of our IV therapists learned one evening she would be the only one working her shift, due to a call out. She wrote, “I was lost and didn't know how I was going to serve all our patients.” Fortunately, this next super star – who already had worked a full shift – had stayed a little late to finish with a patient, and she volunteered to stay. “Before I knew it, it was 6 a.m., and Maria had stayed all night to help serve. Her act of selflessness brought me to tears.”

STEPHEN WILLSON, Information Systems

Stephen is an extraordinary IT associate who thinks broadly, and with the best interest of our hospital at heart. Last summer, when President Sullivan set a goal of 95 percent hand hygiene compliance, Stephen suggested to Public Affairs that the hospital time clock stations could support this goal by featuring a hand-hygiene message. This idea was presented to MedStar corporate, which eventually agreed this message could be an effective reminder system-wide. In early December, the hand-hygiene message went live throughout the system.

CARRISSA GREENWELL, Food and Nutrition Services

The following nomination is from a patient on 3NW. It notes an encounter with a Food and Nutrition associate, who is known to incorporate Language of Caring in her daily work.

“I was impressed by Carrissa Greenwell, due to the overall quality of service she provided. She came in the room with a smile on her face, greeted me by name and introduced herself. She always asked if there was anything she could do before leaving. About an hour later she was back picking up the tray and taking my order for my next meal. She even left her number for me if I had any changes. As hard as she was working, her pleasantries never changed. She really made my day!”

JESSE JACKSON, Spiritual Care

Last November, this Spiritual Care associate responded to a trauma code, which turned out to be a young girl who had been shot in the head twice. The patient did not survive. Jesse provided a space in the Chaplain’s office for the care team and the patient's family, some of whom were uncontrollably distraught. Filled with empathy and compassion, Jesse’s practice of presence, which spanned more than five hours consoling more than 50 family members, was quite admirable. He demonstrated our SPIRIT values throughout this tragic situation, and went beyond the call of Chaplain’s duty.

Thank you, Jesse Jackson, for your service to our patient’s family.


Sometimes, tracking down a patient’s family can be tricky, especially when the patient is confused, has no ID, doesn’t speak English, and has a traumatic brain injury. But that didn’t stop nurse Hilary Hancock. She exemplified our SPIRIT values of service, patient first, and innovation to find the patient’s cell phone (which was drained), and locate a charger so she could go through his contacts with him. At long last, she located our patient’s sister. Hilary’s patient-first actions actually reduced the patient’s length of stay, and ensured a safe discharge.


Our new scrubs policy – which prohibits associates wearing green scrubs to leave the building without full-body coverage – has presented at least one opportunity for innovation.

Associates in the OR quickly saw that the new policy meant the perioperative service assistants couldn’t transport patients outside to their rides home unless they changed into a full OR body gown. The time needed to do this directly affected the workflow.

This trio of superstars saw the opportunity for adjustment, and presented their idea to leadership. They led a uniform change for the PSAs, medical office assistants and patient and guest services staff in the Main PACU. As outlined by Robert Perez in his justification for the purchase of new uniforms, the change prevents product cross-contamination, promotes department pride and fosters team spirit. Virginia Brown Gray reports “we have received positive feedback from associates.”

Thank you to all our MWHC SuperStars for your compassion, professionalism and exemplary application of Language of Caring!

Nominate a SuperStar!

These are just some of the wonderful stories of our associates who are providing exemplary care to our patients. Do you have others to share? Email them to our Internal Communications.

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Making a Difference in Patients’ Lives

(In the photo: Board member Leila Batties, left, who joined President John Sullivan, far right, congratulating SuperStars Idi Marah, Officer Derrick Anderson, Kenneth Moore, and Patti Peiera. Not pictured are Dwight Gholson, Liane Okada, and Officer Ben Dzkietey)

MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a long tradition of recognizing associates who take that extra step to care for our patients and for one another. We recently recognized several associates for their good work, and we want to share with our community and our entire MedStar family.

PATTI PEREIRA, Cardiovascular Lab Tech: Patti received more than one nomination for living our SPIRIT values. Her colleagues say she comes in on short notice on her day off when they are short-staffed. Physicians ask to work with her, especially in complex cases, and the nurses feel privileged when she is assigned to a case.

On one recent Friday, the lab had several call-ins. It was Patti's scheduled day off, but she was asked to come in and help for a few hours to help cover breaks. Without hesitation, Patti immediately jumped in, demonstrating Service, Teamwork, and Patient First values. She worked non-stop moving from one lab to the next, case to case, without taking a break. Because of her efforts, the lab completed all cases as scheduled, in a safe, patient-first manner. She truly is a SuperStar!

KENNETH MOORE, Material Management:
Kenneth was nominated by one of our physicians. This doctor was by the elevators in the Physicians Office Building (POB) and noted that someone had spilled ice in front of the elevator doors. “I was trying to call housekeeping but could not find the number. I approached the first MWHC employee I saw and asked him if he knew the number. He told me the POB had its own housekeeping team,” the doctor wrote.

“When I explained the situation, Kenneth said he would take care of it. He had towels in his cart and mopped the floor and dried it. I thanked him and apologized for having recruited him.

“He smiled and told me he would not want anyone to fall. I wanted to commend Mr. Moore for his attitude and his dedication to our hospital.”

DWIGHT GHOLSON, Application Analyst, Information Systems: This nomination is a from patient care manager in our Endoscopy Department. She wrote: “We had an issue with a travel cart not downloading images after an emergent endoscopy case. I called our analyst, who was at an offsite meeting. He walked me through the steps to work with the online recovery specialist. He also called IS at the hospital and asked someone to meet me at the travel cart to facilitate any administrative changes. With his guidance, we recovered the file and it was determined the patient did not need to have a repeat procedure.

“The best part is that as I was finishing up with online tech support, Dwight walked on the unit. He had left his meeting early to help us. He really exemplified patient first.” And, teamwork!

LIANE OKADA, RN: This is a very special nomination that speaks to the importance of strong leadership and mentorship. Michael, a nurse on one of our units, writes: “When having to choose between offers from competitive hospitals like Johns Hopkins and INOVA Fairfax, Liane was the deciding factor for my decision for MWHC, because of her positive attitude, willingness to teach, and support those who want to learn.

“She put such patience, support, and effort put into me because she wants me to do well. I recall a recent situation when she was the charge nurse and resource nurse while having a patient and having me on her radar. She frequently followed up and helped me with my patients, had the unit flowing smoothly, and took admissions.

“She embodies the SPIRIT values and advocates for her patients. I have had my experiences working at another hospital and I can tell you this nurse is indispensable to MWHC.”

OFFICERS BEN DZIEKETEY and DERRICK ANDERSON: These two public safety officers are to be commended for their handling of a situation that that involved a patient who eloped from a unit and made her way to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital. These two officers caught up with the patient, sat on a bench with her and calmly talked with her, showing her photos and information on their cell phones to help calm her. After an hour sitting outside gaining her trust, they managed to safely to return her to her room.

IDI MARAH, Unit Clerk: During a recent night shift, the staff cared for a patient who was confused, sometimes combative, and an elopement risk. At one point, he had an episode of confusion and hostility. His nurse tried to bring him his medications, but the patient refused and started gathering his personal belongings to leave. Our unit clerk responded to the situation by going into the patient’s room, sitting down and using his language of caring to talk to the patient. After having the conversation, the patient calmed down and took his medication, and showed no further inclination to leave.

Idi put the patient first by going above and beyond his responsibilities to treat him with dignity and respect to diffuse the situation.

Thank you to all our MWHC SuperStars for your compassion, professionalism and patient-first behavior!

Know Someone Going Above and Beyond?

These are just some of the wonderful stories of our associates who are providing exemplary care to our patients. Do you have others to share? Email them to [email protected]

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