Nurse Practitioner, ‘Beacon of Peace and Comfort,’ Named Employee of the Year

For many years, one of the most cherished traditions at Albany Medical Center has been our recognition of the Employee of the Year. In the extraordinary year of 2020, every employee went above and beyond to care for our region through the pandemic.

“Our actions have guided, informed, and healed our community in truly extraordinary ways. Identifying one among us as the Employee of the Year was no easy task,” said President and CEO Dennis P. McKenna, MD, ’92.

Yet out of more than 500 nominations, Donald Tessitore, a nurse practitioner with a 10-year career at Albany Medical Center, stood out.

Tessitore came to Albany Medical Center as a registered nurse before advancing to an NP in the hospitalist program in 2014 (hospitalists are providers who see patients solely in the hospital). Because he sees patients throughout the hospital, colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines nominated Tessitore, including many nurses with whom he works on the overnight shift. They noted his skillful practice and kind demeanor with patients and employees alike.

“‘Donnie’ exemplifies our Albany Medical Center mission,” said Dr. McKenna. “He takes his role as a caregiver seriously—remembering that he must also be a trusted educator and advocate. Nighttime can be a critical time for our patients. When Donnie enters the room with a smile, fear fades away. And for our patients battling the fight of their lives, whether from Covid or any other condition, Donnie is the beacon of peace and comfort. He is the light in the darkness.”

Tessitore is also known for being supportive and responsive to the needs of his colleagues, creating a positive environment with his kindness and leadership even in the most challenging situations, according to nominators who work with him on units caring for patients with coronavirus.

“I am currently in NP school, and Donnie was the main motivation for me going back to school,” wrote one colleague. “Seeing how great he is with patients makes me want to follow in his footsteps and try and be a great NP like him.”

“I’m truly humbled and honored to receive this recognition,” Tessitore said. “I’m completely blown away by what my colleagues said about me. That is something I’ll cherish forever. I think it’s going to propel me to keep moving along in my career. I’ve been a nurse for 15 years. This is where I’m meant to be. I’m just honored to be part of this amazing hospital.”

Albany Medical Center staff nominate colleagues for Employee of the Year based on the characteristics of the Albany Medical Center CARES program, which emphasizes Albany Medical Center’s culture of compassion, accountability, respect and engagement in their interactions with patients, visitors and coworkers.