6 Nightingales Reflect Commitment of Entire UConn Health Nursing Staff

Paying tribute to nurses who served during a year of unprecedented challenge

Nurse Lina Godfrey, wearing personal protective equipment, holding a newborn

Lina Godfrey is one of six UConn Health nurses to win a 2021 Nightingale Award for Nursing Excellence. Godfrey, an assistant nurse manager in OB and labor and delivery, received a record 15 nominations. (Photo by Ethan Giorgetti)

‘So many of our exceptional nurses are worthy of this outstanding recognition, especially considering the challenging year we have just experienced.’ — Caryl Ryan, Chief Nursing Officer

History will show 2020 to be a year of heroism by health care providers and the staff who support them. Among the faces of that heroism are those of the nurses at UConn Health.

The six UConn Health nurses named winners of 2021 Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence – the largest nursing recognition program in the state – may have various roles, but one thing that’s not varied is a commitment to patient care that shined through during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to carrying out their normal duties— collectively ranging from inpatient provider to outpatient clinician to nurse manager — this year’s class of UConn Health Nightingale nurses did what was necessary to deliver that care, either in close support of front-line staff, or as front-line staff themselves. They represent a small sample of the kind of commitment shown by the entire nursing staff at UConn Health.

“I could not be more proud of our Nightingale awardees,” says Chief Nursing Officer Caryl Ryan. “They have all made a significant impact within the nursing profession, ‘gone beyond the call,’ and clearly demonstrated excellence in patient care. Although we are limited to six awardees each year, so many of our exceptional nurses are worthy of this outstanding recognition, especially considering the challenging year we have just experienced.”

National Nurses Week generally is observed May 6 through May 12. Florence Nightingale, a British nurse largely credited as the founder of modern nursing, was born May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy.

UConn Health’s 2021 Nightingale Nurses

Lina Godfrey, assistant nurse manager, Labor and Delivery

From one of her record 15 nominations: “Whether Lina is the assigned nurse to a patient, or just helping out, she demonstrates this instant connection with each patient that I know the patient can feel… Lina impacts the care of every single patient that walks through our doors… She provides an experience that makes the patient feel more than cared for. I know she makes them feel supported, safe, and like the only woman who has ever had a baby.”

Marina A Creed, nurse practitioner, Multiple Sclerosis Center

From her nomination: “She is a great example of leadership, compassion, commitment to patient care, diligence, and organizational skill for others at UConn and beyond… There is no doubt that she is at the top 1% of MS providers, including M.D.s, that I have the privilege to work with over the last 15 years… She has mentored other nurses in our department, supporting them in learning MS patients’ management.”

Ashley Johnson, quality assurance specialist, Patient Safety and Quality

From her nomination: “During the height of the COVID pandemic, Ashley was asked to resume her role as an ICU staff nurse, having taken a new position as a sepsis RN about three months prior… Her mantra was and is to be there for her fellow nurses…. Ashley, along with many other ICU staff, put their own physiological needs aside ensure our critically ill COVID patients received top notch care.”

Kate Falotico, infection prevention specialist, Epidemiology

From her nomination: “Kate has made a significant impact in her role as Infection Prevention Specialist by being dedicated to the identification and prevention of infections in patients, employees and visitors… During the COVID-19 pandemic Kate was available to all staff for training regarding donning and doffing PPE and to provide information about COVID-19. She was willing to go to any location to do the training and also was available on all shifts.”

Anna Hummenyj, associate director, Nursing Workforce Management

From her nomination: “Anna has been involved at every single level during this pandemic. Opening UT4, closing UT4. Bio-containment, non-biocontained. Deploying nurses from OPP, PACU, etc., to assist in the ICU. It doesn’t just happen… Anna has been involved in every single decision and has worked tirelessly to make this hospital safe for our patients, nurses and ancillary staff, every single day. In addition to all her administrative duties, she physically has helped out on the floors when needed.”

Eileen Scully, nurse manager, Emergency Department

From her nomination: “Eileen has supported her staff in an exceptional manner. She is so supportive of her nurses and clearly breeds a culture of excellence… She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She is there during critical resuscitations, she is cleaning rooms during busy times to turn them over. More than any teaching or education this is how you show leadership… I am amazed at her ability to lead in such chaos. She makes it look easy.”