Shannon Dolan Named Recipient of Stephanie Barker Award

The following are remarks from Suzanne Armstrong, Director of Nursing, upon presentation of the Stephanie Barker Award to Shannon Dolan (photo above), RN during BHCHP’s Nurses Appreciation Celebration on May 1.

It’s really hard to believe that this is the 7th year we are memorializing our beloved Stephanie Barker with this award. It is always a true honor to be part of this process, and to have known and worked closely with Stephanie. Two things run through my mind as we gather to present this award for the 7th time, to a nurse who embodies Steph’s qualities. First, I am struck by the importance of ensuring that we do not forget her. Second, I often find myself imagining how Stephanie would be responding to our current pandemic. Through all of your nominations, we are able to keep Stephanie close, and remember the meaningful, funny, intense, and heart-warming moments we spent with her.

If she were still here with us today, I think a day in the life of Stephanie during the COVID-19 pandemic would have looked something like this: Wake up, roll 1 scrub pant leg up, hop on her bike, ride to the BHCHP testing tent, eat something, don PPE, swab 30 homeless patients for COVID, doff PPE, eat something, ride her bike to McInnis House, don PPE, work a shift at respite, doff PPE, eat something, ride her bike home, shower, eat something, sew 40 masks for her BHCHP colleagues before bed, go to sleep….repeat. Other things Stephanie would probably be doing during the time of COVID – making her own hand sanitizer, providing live entertainment for restless quarantined patients, drawing funny faces on her N95, holding a scared COVID positive patient’s hand, and raising the morale of her nursing colleagues.

Presenting this award to someone who embodies Steph’s nursing style and practice is a great honor, and it has become an integral part of our Nurses Week celebration to recognize excellent people that we have the privilege to work with, and who embody Stephanie’s traits.

As many of you have seen in past years, Stephanie’s mother, Cher, is an artist who made beautiful solar lanterns in her honor, which we presented to winners for the first 5 years. It is tradition that the winner of this award receives a special lantern, as a symbol that Stephanie’s light shines on. Today, it is with great excitement, to be presenting the Stephanie Barker Memorial award to Shannon Dolan.

Shannon is the site manager of the Southampton Street Shelter-Based Clinic and the Transitions Site, and I would like to highlight some of the accolades included in her nomination – here is an excerpt:

Shannon stepped up to take the very difficult task of leading operations not only at Southampton Street but also at the Transitions Site. She was chosen to lead because of her passion for making both sites excellent places to work and excellent sites for patients to receive care. As a leader, she not only continues to serve as a passionate nurse, but to spread that passion to the whole team. We responded to countless overdoses, well more than ever before, but under Shannon’s leadership, we were able to keep our patients safe and engage many patients in care for their addiction.

The patients at SHS are extremely diverse, from many cultural and linguistic backgrounds, but Shannon does an outstanding job of making everyone feel welcome without judgment. She has re-imaged how we provide care at SHS during the COVID pandemic, which has required tremendous creative thinking from Shannon. She has been integral in making plans to implement mass testing, find patients who’ve tested positive, while adjusting clinic hours, staffing, and flow to deliver the best care. Shannon is energetic and funny -- on 3 occasions now, the clinic has flooded due to an overflowing toilet. Working tirelessly, she led the effort to clean up —working long hours to do so—but kept a lighthearted tone with staff and patients. Please join in to congratulate Shannon Dolan as the recipient of this year’s Stephanie J Barker Memorial Award.

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