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A Calming Voice for Cancer Patients

Amy Keith Honored With BEE Award

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a scary time for our patients. The emotions are overwhelming, on top of the many appointments that need to be scheduled. Often, a calming voice can make a powerful difference for these folks as they begin navigating their way through treatment. Calmness and compassion are what Amy Keith, the office coordinator for Medical Oncology at The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital’s (CVPH) FitzPatrick Cancer Center (FCC), is known for. And that is why she is our newest BEE (Beyond Exceptional Everyday) Award recipient.

"She is always compassionate when talking with frightened patients or family members, and she treats each person as if it is her own family member,” writes Patti Johnson, RN in her nomination of Keith. Johnson is an oncology care coordinator at the FCC and works closely with Keith daily.

When patients first receive their cancer diagnosis, they are understandably eager to figure out their next steps. Keith is vital to helping ensure those patients have the best possible chance to beat their disease by getting them scheduled as soon as possible, while offering support and words of encouragement to each person she speaks with on the phone.

“Amidst the challenges of provider shortages and an overwhelming number of newly-diagnosed patients, Amy works closely with navigation and the providers to get patients seen and started on treatment as soon as possible,” Johnson says. “I am always amazed at how she can visualize all provider schedules and find a place for our patients. I couldn’t do my job without her!”

And Keith’s dedication extends to her team at the hospital. Charleen Tuthill, Director of Oncology Services at the Cancer Center, describes Keith as an example of CVPH’s culture at its best.

“Amy is the type of person who goes above and beyond at all times. She not only works hard in the Cancer Center, but will even take on other shifts in other departments when there are shortages of staffing. As an organization, we are very lucky to have people like Amy Keith,” Tuthill adds.

During a surprise ceremony with her FCC colleagues, Keith was presented with a certificate commending her for her extraordinary work. She also received a BEE Award pin and a basket filled with bee-themed gifts.

All CVPH employees who support patient care by working together with physicians and registered nurses to improve the physical, emotional and spiritual health of patients and their loved ones are eligible for the BEE Award. Nomination forms and boxes are located at each of the hospital’s main entrances and on the CVPH website. Support staff may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues. A committee reviews nominations and awards a deserving employee each quarter.