Nurse of Distinction Nominees 2017

As part of Milford Regional’s Nurses Week celebration every year, a Nurse of Distinction is selected that demonstrates Milford Regional’s values in his/her professional practice by providing exceptional care. This year, nominees for this prestigious honor were chosen by their peers in each unit within the hospital.

We would like to recognize all of the nurses that were nominated for the Nurse of Distinction Award.

See below for all of our 2017 nominees.

Melissa Leavitt

I would like to take this opportunity to nominate Melissa Levitt, RN for the 2017 Nurse of Distinction Award.

Recently I had an experience where I needed to be admitted to Gannett after a procedure was completed and I was awaiting a transfer to another facility. As always there is anxiety with being a patient. When admitted to my room Melissa immediately made my family and me very comfortable. She answered all our questions and explained what was to come. She assured my daughter all would be find and encouraged her to call is she had concerns.

Melissa sat and took the time to listen to my concerns and had compassion and empathy for the anxiety that I was feeling towards my diagnosis and the uncertainty of the outcome. She too every measure to be sure that all my needs were met, kept my privacy and confidentiality in place as I am a co-worker. I never once felt as though I had special treatment because for who I was as Melissa treats her patients equally and gives 300% of herself to anyone she cares for and their family.

I have been and will always be proud and honored to be Melissa’s coworker, but I am very grateful to have had the experience of her nursing skills and kindness that she shows to each and every one of her patients.

Samantha Titlebaum


I am nominating Samantha Titlebaum, RN, on MP1 for Nurse of Distinction Award. Sam is always professional and caring with her patients and coworkers. She is an excellent resource for all. Sam is always running around the unit asking if anyone needs help. During emergencies Sam is always calm and reassuring to both patients and co-workers. Sam has definitely demonstrated the true meaning of being a nurse.

Gabby Coffin

When thinking of the human and nursing capital that we are so blessed with here at Milford, it’s hard to overlook Gabby Coffin as one of the leaders and future all-stars of our profession. I could tell you how she has seemingly conquered many skills nurses have, that frankly take years to hone and master. I could explain that her skill set is very rounded out and more than capable. She is more than willing to put them to the test in the toughest environments. 

Although these traits are admirable, it’s her ability to work through the gray parts of nursing while making it look easy that make her a nurse of distinction. Nursing skills take practice and time to get right. Working through emotional gauntlets in this field is a true test to one’s practice and test of a person’s character and will. Without hesitation, time after time, I have watched Gabby deal with the gray areas of our practice as if was helping a close friend battle through it. Sitting down next to a patient and dedicating time to listen when the floor is imploding around her, or doing everything she can to make someone comfortable in their ultimate time of need. These may sound like easy tasks, but as we all know, they can be the most challenging and draining experiences we encounter. They can also be the most rewarding. 

Nursing school and orientation only go so far in training us to deal with the frustrated patient, with the dying patient, with family that can’t wrap their head around what is happening. To explain that things are going to work out to a patient who is violently rearranging a room with you in it. Whenever I see Gabby encounter these types of patients she handles them with grace and professionalism that school and orientation can’t teach. She has brought her strong character and big heart to a field that will always desperately need it. She has integrated empathy into her practice that is second to none. She’s always been one of my rocks and partners on the floor whenever I’ve needed her help, Gabby, you’re my choice for nurse of distinction.

Sharon Pellerin

I first met Sharon in 2015 when I was a patient on the Maternity unit at Milford Regional Medical Center.  I was 25-weeks pregnant, sick with the flu, and contracting.  Sharon was charge nurse, and immediately put me and my husband at ease.  Not only was she wonderful to us, but she made my other two sons feel welcomed and reassured with kindness and a smile that lit up the room.

Sharon provided excellent care to me while I was a patient, which was the reason why I applied for and accepted a nursing position on maternity after I delivered my baby that July.  Sharon then became my mentor.  She has a wealth of knowledge, and we all feel relieved when she is working because she can tackle any stressful situation put in front of her.  She handles emergencies calmly, and often assists others without hesitation.  I have seen Sharon triage 7 patients during an 8-hour shift as charge nurse, without complaints. Sharon is just like the “Energizer Bunny!”

Not only is Sharon an excellent role model, she is an exceptional nurse.  She deserves to be nominated for the Nurse of Distinction Award, and I hope is a recipient of this award.  I strive to be just like Sharon in providing excellent patient care – it is truly an honor to work with her!

Cheryl Hamel

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Cheryl Hamel, RN for consideration for MRMC’s 2017 Nurse of Distinction Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in delivering exceptional care in one of the most taxing healthcare environments.

There are many examples I could share on how Cheryl exemplifies MRMC’s core values. Not only does she participate in many committees, spending hours looking over and updating hospital policies and procedures to ensure best practice, but she also uses evidence based practice in her everyday care. Even though I have not worked in the healthcare field for very long, Cheryl’s compassion and commitment to her patients is exemplary and something I continuously try to embody in my own patient care.

In regards to knowledge, I could say everyone on the unit would refer to Cheryl for any questions and get answers about all things ED. She is resourceful, always collaborating with multiple disciplines to ensure everyone is on the same page. She makes sure everyone is heard and understood. She uses humor, knowledge, and enthusiasm to create a team atmosphere, and trust me when I say this, everyone wants to be on Cheryl’s team.  

I can recall a patient we both worked with that was very ill. He presented with a report of “unable to urinate” as he walked through the ED front door. After greeting him with her big smile and open heart, I saw a change in Cheryl’s demeanor from happy to focused as she was assessing him and obtaining a set of vital signs. He was sick, Cheryl knew it, and then next thing I know she is on the phone with the charge nurse, telling her that she was not leaving this patient’s side, and she needed a doctor and assistance in there fast. This man ended up passing away of severe sepsis, and Cheryl’s experience, nursing judgment, and intuition allowed her to tell this man was sick within a matter of minutes.

She views patients, not as patients, but for the people they are, with lives, loved ones, and obligations. This patient’s family was at the bedside as multiple disciplines worth of hospital staff walked in and out of the room, none really taking the time to explain to the family what was going on, why, or asking them if they had any questions. Cheryl took the time to inform the family, keeping them comfortable and calm during such a scary experience. It was in that moment that Cheryl became my nurse role model.

Emergency nursing is more than putting a band aid on a laceration. It is more than medicating an infection. It is more than chest compressions during CPR. Cheryl exemplifies all of the qualities you would want in an ER nurse taking care of your loved one, and there is no one I would trust more than Cheryl to do so.

Erin Henry


I nominate Erin Henry for the 2017 Nurse of Distinction Award.  Erin makes a difference everyday with her patients and I learn continually by the example she sets as a nurse.   I used to work on the same shift as Erin, but now I receive report from her and I see the improvements and positive impact she makes with her patients every day.

Even on the busiest days, Erin focuses on the most important issues for our patients.   Working on a Med/Surg unit, pain is a big issue.  It’s difficult to balance treating pain and weaning patients off of narcotics especially intravenous narcotics.  I remember one week when I worked with two patients that Erin handed off to me, and both patients decided they did not want to take intravenous narcotics and instead they wanted oral medications.  The patients were still able to participate in physical therapy and they got out of bed to the chair.   This was a big change from the day before when I had the patients.  When I asked them about their pain, they both said the same thing.  They said “the last nurse, Erin” talked to them “for a while” about their regular medications and their pain medications.  It was easy to see why these patients were improving so much; Erin empowered them by helping them better understand their regular medications and the side effects of narcotics and the patients decided on their own to reduce using narcotics as the only means for controlling pain.  I see this often with Erin’s patients.

Erin was a charge nurse on nights for years so she understands how demanding and crazy it is on the floor especially at change of shift.    I was the charge nurse one afternoon and I received report on all my patients. One of the patients Erin handed off to me was in recovery. 

The recovery room called and said they got an order for medication that the patient’s nurse needed to bring to recovery and administer.   My heart sunk.  Erin was about to leave for the day but she heard what was going on, she clarified the details, and she asked me to witness her taking the controlled substance then she left for recovery.  Instead of just administering the medication and leaving, she stayed with the patient until she was assured that the patient was stable and would not require further interventions from her.  One hour later she returned to the floor and updated me on the patient.  She was calm as always and I thanked her profusely for helping me out.  She knew I needed her help without having to ask me.  Erin understood the demands on the floor and the best way to handle the situation and she did what needed to be done.

Sometimes a simple idea goes a long way.  Erin trained me when I started working nights over a year ago, and I was new to many IV medications.  I had a patient that needed Zosyn which runs over four hours and the patient was also receiving normal saline.  Erin taught me to watch out for Zosyn because it runs over four hours and if the patient needs intravenous fluids (IVF) for hydration, instead of stopping the IVF and having the patient go without it for four hours, IV therapy could be called and a new peripheral line could be established.  Or, she said, you can run the IVF with the Zosyn at the same time if they are compatible.  This would save the patient the pain and stress of having another peripheral line established.  This is a great tip that I never forgot and I have taught it to other nurses.

Erin Henry is an honest and compassionate nurse, she advocates for her patients, and she consistently applies evidence based practice in her job.  Working with her is a continuous learning experience for me and I aspire to be a nurse just like her.   This is why I am nominating Erin for the 2017 Nurse of Distinction Award.


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