Greenebaum Award Celebrates Compassionate Care

For immediate release: September 19, 2014

Wilean Wilson and Mary Rutter

Wilean Wilson and Mary Rutter

Two staff members at University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, Wilean Wilson and Mary Rutter, MSN, RN, OCN, were each presented with the 2012 Greenebaum Compassion Award at the center's recent all-staff meeting.

The bi-annual Greenebaum Compassion Award was established by Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum, who also attend to personally honor the two members of the cancer center staff who are chosen twice a year for going "above and beyond their normal duties to provide not only excellent patient care, but also compassion, hope and dignity at a time when a patient is so vulnerable."

Wilson, a registration clerk in the Stoler Pavilion for outpatient cancer care, has been working in the cancer center for 15 years. Her role includes serving as a concierge, listening to patients' concerns and making their visit to the center as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Wilson said she loves talking to patients and learning from them. She works to inspire the patients she encounters by keeping their spirits uplifted with a smile and laughter.

"I think laughter is good for the soul," Wilson said.

One of Rutter's coworkers wrote, in nominating her, that "She is a role model of how to care for our patients. She has a great sense of humor and fosters a family feeling. She truly loves patient care and the patients."

Rutter said she was humbled by the award and that her colleagues in BMT are just as committed to patients.

"They are my mentors and I learn something from every one of them," she said.

Rutter, an oncology-certified nurse in the Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program, says she also learns life lessons from her patients and finds inspiration in how they handle what she calls "possibly the worst medical crisis of their lives."

One of their patients was a young man from Ethiopia who developed leukemia while he was studying in the United States. He came to UMGCC for care. He was often alone, with very few family or friends nearby.

The Greenebaum Compassion Award is open to all employees of the cancer center who are involved with patient care. Nominations may be submitted throughout the year, and are reviewed by the selection committee on a bi-annual basis. Each award recipient receives a $2,500 cash award, a crystal award plaque and a commemorative pin, and has his or her name added to a permanent display of Greenebaum Compassion Award winners, located in the Stoler Pavilion patient waiting area.

"We are extremely grateful to the Greenebaums for their generosity in making this award possible," said Kevin Cullen, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Greenebaum Cancer Center.

See past winners