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Ann Paluzzi, night shift unit secretary

A smiling face, reassurance, and a helpful hand. A self-described people person, Ann Paluzzi is the first person you see entering the 15th floor of Smilow's North Pavilion many nights. Ann is there to help anyone in the unit - from patients and visitors, to nurses and PCAs, and for the last eight years, she has enjoyed every moment.

"I love answering the call bell," says Ann of the button patients can press when they need assistance or have a request. "Whether it's getting a glass of water for a patient or helping them get to the bathroom, I am always ready to help."

And Ann does just that. In addition to answering the call bell, she calls nurses when patient meds arrive, she faxes information to rehab facilities or to the VNA if a patient is transitioning to home care. She prepares welcome packages for the PCAs to give to patients, she helps nurses if they need an extra lunch or commode ordered, and so much more. Perhaps most importantly, Ann is a steadfast resource to the visiting families.

"Knowing that I am the first person they (families) see when they come to our floor - sometimes arriving before even the patient is released from the OR, I always want to provide them with a pleasant experience," says Ann. "Being calm and patient, it makes the nature of the surgery their family member just endured easier to accept. Since I work during the night shift, family members often will come by and talk while taking a break from being in the room. They'll talk and ask questions, and I always try to remind them to take care of themselves, too."

"Ann has been instrumental in the safety of our patients at night," shared Cara Henderson, RN, BSN, CMSRN, Patient Service Manager. "On NP15 we have many patients that can't speak and need alternate ways to communicate, and Ann prioritizes patient needs at the desk to ensure that every single patient is safe and participates in our response time initiative. Not only is Ann a dedicated employee, she is also thoughtful and kind and goes above and beyond for the staff as well."

Previously, Ann worked in the box office of the New Haven Coliseum and the Bridgeport Arena, helping guests buy tickets and choose their seats for events. She has always enjoyed helping, a trait instilled in her by her parents when she was a child.

"We are all here for the same purpose: to get patients well, provide a good experience, and help get patients home soon."