Nominated by Ellen Bradley, BSN, RN, on behalf of the 14CD Unit-Based Practice Council; with letters of support from Pat Aylward, MSN, RN, CCRN, nursing director of Tower 14CD; and Tammy Davis, a patient’s daughter.

It’s not unusual for Bertha Lee, BSN, RN, to hear from patients and their families long after they leave Tower 14CD. Many stay in touch, feeling a deep connection to Lee as a result of the relationship-based care she provides.

“Often, they view Bertha as a caring extension of their family,” wrote Ellen Bradley, BSN, RN, in a nomination letter.

Tammy Davis, whose mother was battling cancer, recalled how Lee took care of her whole family, opening up to Davis about her own mother’s fight with cancer: “Bertha understood. She cared. And she became a lifeline to me. My mom adored her and felt confident when Bertha was around. She took in stride the failing systems in our mom’s body with grace and helped mom overcome her embarrassment and retain her dignity time and time again.”

Lee is also a role model for nursing students and newly licensed nurses, exemplifying the importance of knowing the patient. She is deeply committed to nursing practice development, quality improvement and research.

As a member of the Tower 14CD Unit-Based Practice Council, Lee helped to develop IPASS, a format for nursing report to be used at the bedside so the patient is part of the hand-off. Although it was a big change for nurses to complete their hand-offs in this way, Lee has led by example and never hesitates to do bedside report. “I believe her gentle, easy manner and her strong relationships with her patients have helped her make this transition so seamless,” wrote Bradley.

Nursing Director Pat Aylward, MSN, RN, CCRN, cited Lee’s extraordinary understanding of nursing practice, professionalism and teamwork among the qualities that make her an outstanding nurse. “Bertha is truly a leader,” Aylward said. “Her growth as a clinical nurse is clearly demonstrated in the way she precepts students and performs charge on the unit.”

Lee graduated from Boston College with her BSN and completed master’s courses at Regis College. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing from Northeastern University.