STAR Awards

Our STAR (Special Thanks and Recognition) program recognizes employees for their outstanding work and commitment to safety, excellent outcomes and an unmatched patient experience.

2021 STAR Award Winners 


STAR Winner September

Brittney Garcia – Staff Nurse, AP2 

Working in inpatient psychiatry can have its challenges, but when you work with someone who constantly shows respect to coworkers and every patient plus comes to work with a smile on a daily basis - it makes the days easier.

Brittney will go above and beyond for any patient. Specifically, there was a patient who was locked out of her apartment. Brittney took time to assist with identifying a locksmith and then sat with the patient multiple times over the next day and explained the situation. Whenever this patient saw Brittney you could see stars in her eyes in the way that her face lit up.

Upon discharge, Brittney highlighted specific things that were most important, such as medication details and home health care options so the patient had the education she needed when she arrived home. Brittney even made sure to follow up with the locksmith. 

Brittney is someone you want to work with and a true example of the nurse you want taking care of your loved ones! 

Melissa Tentler – Staff Nurse Level II, Maternity-GYN

Melissa Tentler – Staff Nurse Level II, Maternity-GYN

I am writing this letter in regards to my care during the birth of my daughter.

What should have been one of the happiest days of my life turned out to be the saddest and most traumatizing days. As my daughter took her first breath of air, my husband was struggling with his and was gasping for air in the emergency room from COVID-19. My husband was stabilized and transferred to the ICU unit. I was in disbelief.

My nurse Melissa made it happen that I was allowed to see my husband. I got to hold his warm hand and tell him about the beautiful daughter that was brought in this world. I know he heard me. She took me back to the room only to have to take me back two hours later to say goodbye. This time his hand was not as warm. My husband passed away within a couple of hours of my daughter's birth.

The whole time Melissa treated me like her sister, not a contagious COVID-19 patient. She was very kind and professional. She held my hand, answered every question, and brought me Kleenex as we wept together. She took care of my baby and made sure that I was medically and mentally ok. She and all staff involved made sure that I received every resource available.

After I was discharged I thought I would never see this amazing nurse. I was wrong. Her kindness extended to a home visit from her and the manager two weeks after I went home, the day before Christmas. They brought me diapers, formula a beautiful gift basket for my three year old that keeps asking for her daddy and a monetary collection from the unit staff. Santa paid us a visit. I heard people say that Swedish is a community hospital that cares for their patients, but this was not anything that I was expecting.

Melissa is an amazing smart nurse that Swedish Hospital should recognize, if she isn't recognized already. Please let her know that she will never be forgotten for her care. She was a blessing during my worst nightmare.

STAR Winner_May 2021_Chandra Ramroop

May 2021
Chandra Ramroop | Staff Nurse Level II, AP2

Chandra demonstrated the values of Swedish and human kindness in taking care of her patient. A patient came in to the unit with only a gown. He was embarrassed to come out of his room because his gown was too short for him since he is tall. Chandra bought new clothing for him. After the patient was discharged, his mother sent thank you card mentioning, “A very kind nurse who helped him get through a very difficult time. She even bought clothes for him as he had nothing with him. I just want to thank her, with all my heart, for showing kindness and compassion to my son above and beyond her duty. Thank you to this kind nurse and to all who cared for my son when I couldn’t be there.” 

A very wonderful gesture from Chandra that helped with a patient’s healing and wellbeing.

Chandra has been at Swedish since 1992.

April Star

April 2021
Tranqui Dimagulangan | Staff Nurse Level II, 5 East

Tranqui was nominated by a patient, who said: "I am writing to commend one of your nurses, Tranqui Dimagulangan. I was admitted to your hospital after suffering a TIA at home. My care was complicated by the fact that I was COVID positive and am a Parkinson's patient. My Parkinson's had already been exacerbated by COVID. I was disoriented and extremely anxious about my situation.
"Tranqui cared for me both days that I was hospitalized on floor 5E. I grew to thoroughly trust her. She was compassionate beyond the norm. Her persona was natural, authentic, and totally sincere. She transformed my mental state. She understood my situation in multiple factors that were compromising me. She advocated for me and truly made a difference in my hospital stay.
"My wife was not permitted in the hospital, but Tranqui extended herself to stay in communication with her. She listened to my wife's concerns and kept her informed of my condition and my treatment.
"I am very grateful that I had a nurse as competent and caring as Tranqui. Nursing is a revered occupation, a true calling. I was beneficiary of the great tradition. I regard Tranqui as an exemplary professional, and a classic example of doing for others."

STAR Winner March 2021

March 2021
Juvenal Reyes | Housekeeper, Environmental Services

Juve was working in the ED when he learned a patient who was being discharged had no shoes, but wanted to leave anyway. The ED donation closet did not have shoes. Juve took off his shoes right there and gave them to the patient who was urgent to leave, so he would not have to leave in hospital socks. Juve walked back to his locker in his socks where he had a spare pair of shoes.
Juvenal has been at Swedish since 2018.

STAR Winner - FEBRUARY 2021

February 2021
Melissa Tentler | Staff Nurse Level II, Maternity-GYN

Melissa, who has been with Swedish Hospital since 2011 was nominated by a patient who said: “What should have been one of the happiest days of my life turned out to be the saddest and most traumatizing days. As my daughter took her first breath of air, my husband was gasping for air in the emergency room from Covid-19. Melissa made it happen that I was allowed to see my husband  and hold his hand. He passed away within a couple of hours of my daughter’s birth. The whole time Melissa treated me like her sister. She held my hand and brought me Kleenex as we wept together. She took care of my baby and made sure that I was medically and mentally ok. She and all staff involved made sure that I received every resource available. Her kindness extended to a home visit with her manager 2 weeks after I went home, the day before Christmas. They brought me diapers, formula, a beautiful gift basket for my 3 year old who keeps asking for her daddy and a monetary collection from the unit staff. I heard people say that Swedish is a community hospital that cares for their patients, but this was beyond anything that I was expecting.”



January 2021
Mikhail Krasnopolskiy | Staff Nurse Recovery Room

A patient said: I had a procedure and unfortunately came in with a horrible Migraine. I was in my room crying from the pain while waiting. Mikhail walked by and saw me crying and came in to see if I was okay, even though he wasn't my nurse at the time. I informed him of the migraine and how much pain I was having with no relief. He turned off the light in my room, went to get me an ice pack to place on my neck, a towel to cover my eyes, and offered me a heating pad. He then sat with me and explained different pressure points on the hands to help reduce the pain from the migraine and attempted to relieve the pain for me. I overheard him telling the desk how much pain I was in and requesting when being brought into the OR that they have the lights dimmed until I was asleep, which they did end up doing. When I woke up I was in a dark room covered with warm blankets and I again overheard him stating he was going to let me sleep until I was ready to ensure I got adequate rest as I was not feeling well. His heartfelt and genuine display of compassion meant so much to me. He genuinely cared about my mental, physical and emotional well-being and made this one of the best experiences I have had at Swedish, despite feeling so awful. While we waited for my son to arrive he continued to give me methods I could work on at home to help lessen the effects of my chronic migraines. Mikhail is an exemplary employee and he is proof that a genuine act of kindness no matter how small can have a huge impact on a patient’s experience.

Mikhail has been at Swedish Hospital since 2008.

2020 STAR Award Winners 


Michelle Garduno - February STAR Winner

February 2020
Michelle Garduno | Access Services

Michelle was nominated by a patient: "It was New Year’s Eve and I broke my ankle. I came in with an order for a CT scan but the prior authorization hadn't gone through and the doctor’s office had closed. Michelle was an angel and sprang into action for me. She was talking on my cell with the doctor and on the hospital phone to the underwriter at the same time. Swedish Hospital was closing at 4 p.m. for New Year’s Eve and my insurance was changing on Jan. 1 so the clock was ticking. It was amazing! I am forever grateful to her for going above and beyond for me in my literal time of need!”

Michelle has been at Swedish Hospital since 2016.

January 2020 STAR Winner

January 2020
Thor Arlt | Public Safety

Thor was nominated by a patient’s son-in-law: "I came into the ER with my soon-to-be mother-in-law on a very busy day. She traveled two hours to come here because of a specialist and was nervous being in a new hospital and felt absolutely terrible. She was having a very bad attack and couldn't relax or stop shaking and was beginning to panic. I went out to see if there was any way she could lie down. 

Officer Arlt went out of his way to see if we could squeeze a recliner into the waiting room so she could lie down. He got her warm blankets and made a pillow for her head. As if that wasn’t enough, he stayed there and talked with her until she felt better. 

Officer Arlt should be recognized because of his heartwarming actions. Thank you so much for making her experience at Swedish Hospital enjoyable.”

Thor has been at Swedish Hospital since 2018.

2019 STAR Award Winners 


November STAR Winner Cheryl Rodriguez

November 2019
Cheryl Rodriguez | Emergency Department

Cheryl was nominated by her co-worker: “A patient came in by ambulance because of sore feet. The patient was barefoot and a very tall man with very large feet and just wanted to rest. Cheryl was going off duty and went to the closest Salvation Army and found two pairs of gym shoes. The patient was so grateful and could not stop thanking the nurses and Cheryl for the gift. Later that evening the patient was seen walking down the street with his new kicks on, a pep in his step, a few dance moves and smiling and staring down at his feet.

Cheryl is known in the department for gestures like this. She comes into work every day with a smile on her face for her co-workers and her patients. Cheryl treats everyone, patients, staff and family members, with kindness, compassion and patience and demonstrates our values every day."

Cheryl has been at Swedish Hospital since 2005.

Hortencia Aspurez

October 2019
Hortencia Aspurez | Environmental Services

Hortencia was nominated by staff: “Hortencia well exceeds her role as a housekeeper. She is kind to all patients and has even been known to sing with the families. Her ability to translate for and speak to our Spanish-speaking families has proven to be invaluable. She often brings flowers, not only to brighten the unit, but also for the patients. Hortencia is an important asset to Swedish Hospital and Seasons and exemplifies all of the values of a STAR employee."

Hortencia has been at Swedish Hospital since 2013.

Yoon STAR Winner

September 2019
Kwang Yoon | Pharmacy

Kwang was nominated by an employee and ED physician: “A patient came to the ED and upon arrival went into cardiac arrest. The cardiologist came and determined R Ventricular collapse suggesting a major, central PE. Kwang remembered a couple of case reports where a double bolus of TPA resolved such a clot. The cardiologist and myself trust her knowledge base implicitly and gave it a try. As a result of her constant hunger for knowledge, she saved this man’s life with her suggestion.”

Kwang has been at Swedish Hospital since 2005.

July 2019
Cindy Karl | 4North

Cindy was nominated by a charge nurse: “Cindy recently had a patient who had foot surgery and was to be discharged that night. The patient's car was parked over a block away and he didn't have anyone to help him get home. After Cindy confirmed that the patient was stable to drive his car home, she personally wheeled the patient to his car to ensure he would be able to get in without difficulty. Not only did she show kindness and compassion to this patient, but she ensured their safety. We are very blessed to have her on our team and she is an inspiration to us all.”

Cindy has been at Swedish Hospital since 2016.

June STAR Winner

June 2019
Jennifer Ledesma | Emergency Department

Jennifer was nominated by a patient’s family member: “Recently, my grandfather was being cared for on your hospice unit and I received a frantic call from my mother telling me to hurry because my grandfather was still coherent and talking but we didn't know for how much longer. I ran to the ED very flustered. An ED staff member immediately recognized that I needed help and pointed me in the direction of public safety. After public safety verbally gave me directions, I began to cry because I was lost and afraid of losing precious time realizing how far away I was from the unit. Jennifer stepped in, comforted me and told security she would guide me to my destination. Because of her, I was able to say my "final goodbyes." I will forever be grateful for her because I can cherish the final moments I was able to spend with my grandfather. Swedish Hospital should be extremely proud to have such a valuable team member who went above and beyond her role and saw me as a concerned family member, not just as a patient or number.”

Jennifer has been at Swedish Hospital since 2017.

Dana Andersen - May STAR WinnerMay 2019
Dana Andersen | Social Worker

Dana was nominated by an employee: “One Friday afternoon, a complicated request came to a physician that had potentially volatile social concerns. In spite of the fact that it was after 4:00 pm, Dana fielded the call, contacted the key person who would know best how to deal with the situation and returned to the floor to be able to speak with the physician in person. She provided the relevant background information, contact numbers and advised the physician on next steps. She contributed to the safety of the patient and the staff with an expertise that only a social worker could bring. The circumstances and timing of this situation were not ideal, but she refused to let that prohibit her from providing the best possible care and outcome for this patient in the way that she could. She showed professionalism and dedication and did this all without complaint. Thank you for being an inspiration to your fellow employees."

Dana has been at Swedish Hospital since 2018.

Margareth April STAR WinnerApril 2019
Margareth Mohar | Emergency Department

Margareth was nominated by a patient: “I brought my daughter late in the evening and I was given medicine but I did not have money and didn’t know where to get it. I am a refugee, and my nurse Margareth talked to me in my language (Swahili). She made me comfortable. She called the pharmacy for me. She showed me how to give medicine to my daughter who does not like medicine. She even watched my daughter when I went to the bathroom and called the clinic to make a follow-up appointment. On top of that, she called a taxi and helped me carry all my stuff. The next day she even called me to check if my daughter was ok. Margareth truly made me feel at home.”

Margareth has been at Swedish Hospital since 2008.

Melanie STAR WinnerMarch 2019
Melanie Sempio | ICU

Melanie was nominated by an employee: “Melanie cared for a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest and was admitted to the ICU with a very grave prognosis. Efforts made by staff and social workers to locate their family were unsuccessful. The patient unfortunately passed and preparations for organ donation began. Melanie made time to search the patient's belongings and in doing so, found a cell phone. The phone battery had died so Melanie searched for a compatible charger but was unable to find one among her coworkers. She thought to try the charger for the unit camera, and it worked. Thanks to Melanie's compassion and quick thinking, their family was notified of their loved one's passing, they were given time to be with them to say goodbye.”

Melanie has been at Swedish Hospital since 2016.

Paul Ibanez STAR WinnerFebruary 2019
Paul Ibanez | Inpatient Rehab Services

Paul was nominated by numerous employees: “Paul is a great example of a non-clinical employee who demonstrates care and compassion towards all employees, patients and visitors. He always has a smile on his face and gives you his all without any complaints. Whether you are a doctor, nurse, CNA, front line employee, housekeeper or visitor, he will treat you the same and help you however he can without any hesitation.”

Paul has been at Swedish Hospital since 2003. 

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