Clinical Nurse, Brigham and Women’s and Mass General Health Care Center, Foxborough
Nominated by Kimberly Smelstor, MSN, RN, nurse director; with letters of support from Sharon Owusu Darko, MD, OB/GYN physician, and Frances Dilks, MS, RN, CS, nurse practitioner, OB/GYN, all of Brigham and Women’s and Mass General HealthCare Center, Foxborough
Known by her peers as a leader who provides superior patient care and clinical education, Ann Walsh, BSN, RN, is described in nomination letters of support as “passionate,” “meticulous,” and “invested” in her approach to patient- and family-centered care.
One day, Kimberly Smelstor, MSN, RN, nurse director at Brigham and Women’s and Mass General HealthCare Center in Foxborough, received a call from a nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), who asked if her patient, who came to DFCI for weekly chemotherapy treatments and to have his dressings changed and central lines flushed multiple times per week, could receive his care at Foxborough to reduce his travel to Boston. Smelstor immediately called Walsh.
“Ann was enthusiastic about developing a patient- and family-centered plan of care and arranging her schedule for the next six weeks for this new patient,” wrote Smelstor in her nomination. Later, when the patient was subsequently assigned to receive his cancer care at Foxborough, Smelstor recounted how Walsh collaborated with the patient’s former nurse at DFCI to learn more about his diagnosis and treatment protocol, so that his first visit was seamless. “Over the next several weeks,” Smelstor wrote, “Ann meticulously cared for him, getting to know him through conversations in a way that was inspiring.“
“One of the qualities I admire most about Ann is her ability to build a rapport and develop a relationship with patients,” wrote Sharon Owusu Darko, MD, OB/GYN physician at the Brigham and Women’s and Mass General HealthCare Center in Foxborough. “They recognize that she is truly invested in their well-being and they open up to her.”
Over the past year, Walsh, a member of the BWH Ambulatory Practice Committee, has emerged as a champion in education for staff and patients at Foxborough. Smeltsor had identified a gap in patients’ ability to access prenatal childbirth classes, which are available on the main BWH campus but not in satellite locations. Walsh wanted to help, so she arranged for a day-long course for Foxborough patients. Recently, she completed the training and passed the exam to become a childbirth educator, so she can lead these classes, enablling Foxborough patients to take prenatal childbirth courses without traveling to Boston. Additionally, she became certified as an instructor in Basic Life Support (BLS). “Ann’s commitment to education and clinical scholarship has advanced our professional practice,” wrote Smeltsor.
Walsh earned her BSN at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has practiced as a BWH nurse since graduating in 1979 (she first worked at the Robert Breck Brigham and Affiliated Hospitals Center).