Raffi Boghossian saw a lot of things growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, during the height of a civil war. Out of those things grew a passion for nursing and service to others.

“I grew up in a war-torn country and all I saw were people in need,” explained the clinical director of the intensive care and telemetry units at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “The only way we survived was by helping others, so it’s in my blood.”

Boghossian moved to the U.S. at age 16 and carried with him his passion for helping others. He worked as an emergency medical technician for 10 years before deciding to pursue a career in nursing. While studying at Western Governors University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Boghossian’s passion for nursing grew. His compassion for helping those in need recently earned him the USC Choi Family Award for Excellence in Patient-Centered Care, which honors physicians, residents, nurses and staff for their dedication and commitment for delivering compassionate patient care.

Promoting to nursing management was one of Boghossian’s career goals, but he was concerned he’d lose the day-to-day patient interaction he enjoyed, so he promised himself that he would find a way to keep the interaction going.

“Patients are human beings and a lot of times medical professionals forget the human element because we get caught up with procedures,” said Boghossian, who began working at Keck Hospital of USC in 2007 and transferred to USC-VHH in 2015. “I make sure I round every day to speak to patients and families. Sometimes I’m getting them an extra blanket or a cup of coffee; it’s just being there for them and meeting their needs.”

Theresa Murphy, RN, MSHA, chief nursing officer at USC-VHH, said Boghossian consistently goes above and beyond in advocating for his patients and his astute clinical skills have surely saved several patients’ lives.

“On more than one occasion, he has jumped into the ambulance to provide critical nursing care when there would have been a delay in getting a critical care transport set up,” Murphy explained. “For many patients requiring tertiary or quaternary care, he has been the engine behind facilitating rapid transfer to a higher level of care at Keck Hospital of USC.”

— L. Alexis Young