9 posts tagged “Schwartz”

Compassion for all: Terry Yoas, CNA – Schwartz Center NCCY Award finalist

Posted November 18th, 2015 by

Tonight, the recipient of the National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award, from our partners at the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, will be presented to one of six nominees at the 20th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner in Boston. 

Today we’re highlighting the sixth and final nominee for the NCCY Award. We’ve already introduced five of the nominees, including Rick Boyte, MD, Melody J. Cunningham, MD, Cheryl D. Kane, MEd, BSN, RN, Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C and Jayne O’Malley, BSN, RN, OCN.

Terry Yoas, CNA
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (Santa Rosa, California)

“He ensures the dignity of our patients by going the extra step to make a connection with each person at an individual level.” – A colleague

Terry Yoas is well known for his cheerful Hawaiian shirts that have become his trademark and working uniform as a care partner at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s oncology unit. For the past 16 years, Terry has created and continues to establish a welcoming, safe and caring second home for cancer patients and their families. Although becoming a certified nursing assistant was something Terry pursued later in life, it seems he was always destined to find his own home at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he was born.

“I feel like I didn’t choose oncology, oncology chose me,” says Terry, who believes that every encounter with a person is a chance to make a positive difference in that person’s life. “If you’re doing it right, you’re going to get just as much out of caring for that person as that person is going to get from you.”

For Terry, this isn’t just his job—caring for others is something he loves to do. He finds ways to connect with every patient, learning their personal story and listening attentively to their needs.

“Terry made it possible for me to start to step out of my depression. He gave me hope,” says a patient.

Terry also has a knack for remembering the small details that can make a big difference, like determining how a patient likes her coffee and having it ready each day. During his time off, Terry often comes to sit with patients who are having a rough day or at the end of life, or stops by the ICU to comfort patients and families who have been in his care and whose condition may have worsened.

“He instills hope through his gentleness, humility and the ever-present joy and pride with which he performs his work,” says a colleague. “Terry treats each person for whom he cares like a member of his own family.”

Over the years, Terry has formed many bonds with his patients and families. One poignant example of compassion was the time Terry came in on his day off to fashion a customized wheelchair with his own tools for one of his patients who had become increasingly dependent on IV medications, which made it a challenge to leave the room. After some teamwork and ingenuity, Terry and his patient rigged together a wheelchair that could carry all of the necessary medical equipment. Together, they wheeled to the healing garden and creek to enjoy the outdoors. Terry will never forget the big smile on this patient’s face, because to Terry, “compassionate care is the only kind of care.”
Stay tuned for the winner of the NCCY Award, which we’ll share on the blog tomorrow.


Let’s celebrate compassionate care, together.

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Compassion for all: Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C – Schwartz Center NCCY Award finalist

Posted November 16th, 2015 by

Today, we’re happy to introduce the fourth of six nominees for the National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award, presented by our friends at the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. We’ve already featured Rick Boyte, MD, Melody J. Cunningham, MD and Cheryl D. Kane, MEd, BSN, RN. 

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Providence Cancer Center (Portland, Oregon)

“She finds power and strength in her patients. She works with them to maximize their strengths so they may achieve their hopes and dreams.” – A social worker colleague

Although caring for patients who face challenging diagnoses can be emotionally demanding for caregivers, oncology social worker Krista Nelson has discovered that finding laughter and joy in each experience ensures that everyone involved approaches challenges with more compassion and understanding. Krista reminds caregivers and patients to celebrate any “win,” big or small, and works hard to bring a positive, joyful attitude into each interaction.

“I fell in love with my job because it allows me to fight social injustice and inequalities, and it also allows me to get to know each patient personally and support them through their journey,” says Krista.

The foundation of Krista’s work can be summarized into one word: connection. Connection with patients, their families and her colleagues is what brings her joy and sustains her efforts. In her role, she provides individuals counseling, facilitates support groups and organizes retreats. After experiencing the effects of cancer on patients’ families, Krista helped with the development and coordination of a program for children who have a parent with cancer.

Outside of work, Krista’s time is dedicated to serving others on a global scale. Krista and her team have shared the model they developed for supporting children of cancer patients with doctors from Japan, who now use the model to heal tsunami victims. Each year Krista travels to a clinic in Haiti and conducts the Schwartz Center Rounds® program, providing emotional support for caregivers from both Haiti and the U.S. Krista is also active in several professional organizations, and has previously served as the president of the Association of Oncology Social Work and as an invited director of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society. Currently, Krista serves as an invited director on the Board of Directors of the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and as a director of the American Clinical Social Work Association, where she advocates for compassionate care.

“I love big picture thinking with passionate colleagues around the world in order to enhance the care for those we serve daily,” says Krista.

Krista gives the same type of support to her colleagues as she gives to her patients, and feels honored to support the caregivers who are her teammates. Through her counsel, Krista’s team processes their often complex experiences and emotions so they can continue to provide the best possible quality care to the next patient they encounter.

“I have many moments of joy and laughter, and have the opportunity to learn how to live from these stories and those I serve,” says Krista. “I am reminded of the courage and strength of all of the individuals I have met, and live my life to the fullest due to them.”

The winner of the NCCY Award will be named at the 20th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner in Boston on November 18.


Let’s celebrate compassionate care, together.

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