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Meet the 2010 DAISY Recipients — Second Quarter

Thanks to The DAISY Foundation, nurses across the country are celebrated for their extraordinary patient care, spirit and character. Each quarter would like to recognize the nation’s DAISY recipients so the celebration of their accomplishments continues. A sample of these nurses’ nominations, or “spotlights,” will be featured on and The following are excerpts from DAISY Award recipients’ second-quarter nominations.

To view a full list of this year’s winners, visit

Kelly Brady, RN

Kelly Brady, RN
ED, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
Vancouver, Wash.

Kelly Brady shows kindness and compassion on a daily basis. Not long ago, Kelly was driving over the Woodland Bridge and noticed a pregnant woman walking alone on the other side of the bridge. Kelly turned her car around and parked on the other side of the bridge. When she started to approach the woman to ask if she needed a ride, the woman ran and put one leg over the side of the bridge and stated she had nothing to live for. Kelly ran to the woman and wrapped her arms around her. Kelly began to cry and told the woman, “If you go over, I’m going with you and I don’t want to die today.” The woman started to cry and they both fell to the ground. At that point, a man came toward them and grabbed the women’s hands trying to get them behind her back. The man said he was a Vancouver Police officer, and Kelly told him to back off as she was a nurse and she would handle the situation. The woman in the meantime panicked and started to run. Kelly directed the officer to call an ambulance and said she would get the woman off the bridge. The woman was then led to the end of the bridge by Kelly and waited there for the ambulance. Kelly asked the woman why she wanted to jump. The woman stated she had just been beaten by her boyfriend and that she was a meth addict, she felt all was lost. She also stated she was afraid to go in the ambulance because she did not want to be tied down. Kelly told her that the ambulance crew were her friends and that they would keep her safe and take her to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center where she worked, and she would check on her later when her shift started. The woman agreed and went on to the hospital. Later that day when Kelly got to work she went and checked on the woman and asked her if she remembered her. The woman stated, “Yes, you are the one that saved my life. It took a total stranger to make me understand that I have a reason to live.”

Diane Gray, R

Diane Gray, RN, BSN
ICU, Florida Hospital: Winter Park Memorial Hospital
Winter Park, Fla.

The following is an example of how Diane goes above and beyond her “duties” at work to care for her patients and their families:
“For the past year or so, there has been a young lady who had been in and out of the hospital with cystic fibrosis with numerous complications and surgeries. Diane developed a strong positive relationship with this young lady as well as her family. She always came into work with a smile and a joke to cheer up the patient, even on her worst days. She motivated and pushed this young lady to give all she could for the fight of her life. Admission after admission, this young lady looked forward to working with Diane and continued to fight and overcome obstacles. Diane showed such an immense amount of caring and compassion during this patient’s hardest times in her life, her decision to stop fighting for her life, withdraw care, and donate her own organs for someone else to live a life she knew she never could. Diane was there for the patient to cry, to laugh, and to say her special goodbyes. Diane, along with her awesome fellow staff members, made the final days of this young girl’s life some of her best. They got special permission to decorate the patient’s room in her favorite color: Pink! There were pink Christmas lights, pink stockings, pink candy and pink balloons from floor to ceiling in the patient’s room. Diane held the mother’s hand while she said goodbye to her daughter for the last time. She was with the patient, holding her hand in the OR, during her final breaths of life.”

Dean Schmidt, APN
Cardiology, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center
Peoria, Ill.

“Based on issues I was having at Ottawa Regional, I was airlifted to OSF. There I received a temporary pacemaker on Jan. 9 with a permanent pacemaker scheduled for two days later. Dean became involved and looked at my case on an individual basis rather than following routine procedure. He asked why this person who is healthy and has had no heart problems in the past was scheduled for a permanent pacemaker. Through his investigation and concern, an EKG was ordered that confirmed my heart was indeed healthy, resulting in the need for no pacemaker. I cannot express my gratitude for the time and caring that Dean showed by digging deeper into my case. He was indeed my angel.”

Roxanne Boucher, RN

Roxanne Boucher, RN
3F, Pediatric Medical Unit, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Wilmington, Del.

Roxanne’s nomination was written by Maryann Heitmann:
“There are not enough words to describe the outstanding care provided to my son by Roxanne. In addition to the outstanding medical care, the calm reassuring manner she displayed to me was worlds apart from all the other outstanding staff members. She made sure all my son’s need were met, physically, emotionally and spiritually, then made certain that his parents were OK. I am honored to nominate Roxanne. She deserves recognition for her fine nursing services! Thank you!”

Jenny Nguyen, RN
OR, University of Colorado Hospital
Denver, Colo.

Nominated by Amy Burant, RN, Neuro ICU:
“On Jan. 12, the Neuro ICU had a patient who became a candidate for organ donation after cardiac death. Jenny Nguyen worked behind the scenes to ensure that the patient and family were treated with dignity and that the experience of the patient’s death would be as peaceful as possible. Jenny took the time to come to the Neuro ICU to partner with the Donor Alliance representatives and Neuro ICU nurses as well as to meet the family and patient. She volunteered to get the staff scrubs and the family gowns ahead of time so that there would be no delay in caring for the patient in the OR. I have never had anyone offer this or be so concerned with conveying professionalism to the family in this situation. In addition, she came back to the ICU to check in with us again and wanted to make sure that the family had been offered the services of a chaplain. Once we transported the patient down to the OR and the initial positioning and preparation had been done by the surgical team, Jenny ensured that all of the surgeons understood the timing and that the family would be given their privacy. Furthermore, she placed surgical towels over the windows so that there would be no prying eyes in this family’s moment of grief. Before the family arrived, she turned the lights down and manipulated the spotlights so that the lighting would not be distracting to the family. After the patient expired, she made sure the family had left the OR prior to any of the physicians coming back into the room or any activity resuming. Jenny showed an incredible level of professionalism, compassion and initiative during this time. I know the family had very little interaction with Jenny, but her actions on their behalf were innumerable. As is so often the case, nurses work in the shadows, away from the spotlight, to ensure an optimal outcome for their patients. While the family will never know or recognize the actions this nurse took, Jenny Nguyen ensured that their final experience saying goodbye to their son, brother and husband would be a peaceful, dignified moment. For this, she deserves our recognition.”

Cheryl Perault, RN

Cheryl Perault, RN, BSN, CPAN
PACU, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center
Nashua, N.H.

“While a patient was in the OR, her husband called to say he needed his wife’s purse. We told him he would have to wait. When the patient came out of the OR and was more awake, her husband again asked for her purse so we asked her if that was OK. She was adamant that he could not — “My checkbook is in there,” and she said she did not want him to “touch it.” As she progressed in her care the patient was brought to Phase 2, where family is usually welcome. At this time the patient was very hesitant to have her husband visit, so Cheryl began to further question her about whether she felt safe at home. She expressed a feeling of fear and did not want to be discharged to his care. Social Services was called, and Cheryl had to work to find another place for the patient to be discharged. The patient’s spouse was determined to have her come home with him but then said “fine” and left. The sister of the patient came and took her home — she was to spend the weekend there. The patient was given information about the Bridges Victim Advocacy Program prior to her discharge. Several weeks later, she came in for more surgery and never said anything until she was post op and said that we made a difference in her life. She was now separated from her husband and never would have had the courage if we didn’t help her. Cheryl took the time to look deeper and offer suggestions that may have saved the woman’s life.”

Holly Ritger, RN
Med/Surg, Carolinas Medical Center – Mercy
Charlotte, N.C.

“Holly was awesome to me. I felt like I was the only patient on the floor. She not only did her duty by giving the medications on time but also talked to me and listened. Being a recovering addict and detoxing, I felt really bad about myself, but she didn’t treat me like I was ‘less than’ her. She looked at me on the same level eye to eye. Though I barely knew her, I could tell that what she was doing for a living was actually a ‘calling.’ You blessed me beyond measure. Though I felt undeserving, eventually my self-worth began to be built up on this floor by all the workers, and I thought, ‘I do deserve the best that God has for me in this life. Just like Holly, I can make the right choices.’”

Deisy Fijolek, RN

Deisy Fijolek, RN, OCN
Oncology, Saint Peter’s University Hospital
New Brunswick, N.J.

“Deisy has been an oncology nurse for six years. She is caring and compassionate. Deisy has spear-headed the oncology unit charity projects. She has identified patients in need. Last Christmas Eve, Deisy along with Annette Bruney, our March DAISY Award recipient, delivered $500 that was donated by staff along with diapers and formula to a homeless oncology patient with a 9-month-old baby. This year Desy and Annette also arranged a baby shower for a young man with recently diagnosed lymphoma. While he was receiving his chemotherapy treatments, his wife delivered their baby. Deisy is consistently mentioned positively by our patients during daily rounds and on Press Ganey returns.”

Flower Mary Joseph, RN, CPN
Adolescent, Blythedale Children’s Hospital
Valhalla, N.Y.

“Flower Joseph is a shy, discreet night nurse. At the beginning of our stay at Blythedale, my daughter was seriously ill, and for weeks I had not been able to sleep deeply because I was afraid that something could happen to her. The first night that Flower was taking care of her, I noticed that she was coming very often to check on her, silently, discreetly. Little by little, I felt more confident. Since then, when she is with us at night, I can get a good sleep and feel more positive the next day which is very good for my daughter. It’s good to know that a nice guardian angel is watching on my daughter.”

Lt. Vogel is pictured here with (L-R) Tena Barnes Carraher, Hayden and his parents,
Bonnie and Mark Barnes. Tena, Bonnie and Mark are with The DAISY Foundation.

Jonathan Vogel, RN
Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Jon was nominated by a patient’s appreciative mother:
“Being a peds nurse takes patience and humor. Vogel has these and much more. He goes above and beyond to keep a smile on my son’s face even through tough obstacles. My son, Hayden, has been battling cancer since November 2009, and having Vogel there has made things easier. He blows bubbles, plays hide and seek, and has even been a shoulder to cry on for me. He is an exceptional nurse and is dedicated to what he does. He always seems to know when we need a pick me up. Hayden always wants to play with Jon. He is our Patch Adams. He always takes time out of his busy day to put a smile on Hayden’s face, which in turn puts one on mine.”

Joseph Gonzales, RN
Med/Telemetry, City Center Campus of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital
San Antonio, Texas

“Joseph exemplified the CHRISTUS Core Values of Compassion and Stewardship when a homeless Veteran passed away while a patient on 3 North. Joseph was not working this day, but after hearing of the plight of this American hero, he took it upon himself to contact the VA, which in turn gave him the information that he needed to arrange a burial with honors in the Fort Sam Houston Cemetery. Joseph did not have to take this extra step; no one will ever miss this patient. The patient was homeless and his family had no ties with him, but at one time, he defended our country with disregard for his own comfort and safety. Joseph did not have to take his day off to make phone calls and arrange a proper burial for this veteran, but his compassion and gratitude pushed him to assure that this patient will be remembered by his country. Joseph displayed dignity, integrity, compassion, stewardship and the very essence of nursing through this selfless act to a man few will remember.”


Julie Atkins, Assistant Director of Nursing
Patient Care Services, UAMS Medical Center
Little Rock, Ark.

Here is what employee Susan E. had to say about Julie:
“One weekend evening after a baseball game, I stopped by Kroger about 11 p.m. on my way home. I ran in to Julie on one of the aisles so, of course, I had to stop and chit-chat. I made a comment in regards to the delicious food in her cart and asked if I was going to be invited to dinner. I then listened as she shared a story about one of our clinic patients who had unexpectedly passed away earlier that day. It turns out she was purchasing food to prepare a meal for the patient’s family who were to fly in the following day. Not only had she volunteered to have the late patient’s daughter stay at her home, since she was alone in a foreign country and did not know anyone, but she was also going to drive to the airport at 5 a.m. to pick up the other arriving family members. Additionally, she had spent the majority of the day taking numerous calls to help with the funeral arrangements. I left Kroger in awe and feeling so proud that UAMS had such a dedicated nurse who didn’t think anything out of the ordinary in going the extra mile to share such extraordinary compassion with one of our families. I am truly honored to be one of her colleagues and to be able to recognize the contributions that she provides on a daily basis.”

Russell Jones, RN
Emergency Department, Baptist Memorial Hospital – Collierville
Collierville, Tenn.

“I am writing to inform you of an experience we had at your facility with a nurse named Russell Jones. My 18-year-old son was fortunate enough to have been his patient. Not only did we leave the ER impressed with Mr. Jones’ skills as a nurse, but his compassion was most evident. It didn’t take us long to realize Mr. Jones was not an ordinary nurse. My son is a 6-foot-tall, lanky fellow who had of all things a hot dog lodged somewhere in his esophagus. It was not life-threatening but did need a Gastro team to be called in. My son was nauseated and very uncomfortable. Mr. Jones was very attentive to his immediate needs until the gastro team arrived. I know that Mr. Jones had many patients and duties that night. He could very easily have treated us with a nonchalant attitude. That was not the case with Mr. Jones. When the gastro team arrived, Mr. Jones was very good to facilitate their arrival; moving my son to the appropriate room; assisting the gastro team with any details. My son had to be sedated for the endoscopy and removal of the hot dog. As my husband and I waited in the waiting area during the procedure, Mr. Jones purposefully came to us asking if we needed anything to eat or drink. He offered to get us whatever we wanted while we waited. Once the procedure was over, the Gastro team spoke with us and exited the room. My son was sleeping off the anesthesia and being monitored. My husband and I observed Mr. Jones very gently speaking to my son to awaken him, and Mr. Jones was pleasantly conversational with my husband and I. As my son began to wake, Mr. Jones preceded to unhook my son from all appropriate machines. My son was ready to be dressed. Mr. Jones was kind enough to get my son’s shirt, help with his long lanky arms and showed my husband how to take a semi-sedated teenager and dress him. Mr. Jones was sincere. He not only seemed very astute in his nursing skills but very concerned and attentive to the needs of my son. THAT is after all, what mattered most.”

Allison McDevitt, RN
Intermediate Care, Piedmont Hospital
Atlanta, Ga.

Allison was nominated by the daughter of a patient at IMCU:
“As a nurse of more than 30 years, I was so taken with the extraordinary skills and grace that Allison holds at such a young age. Her apparent professionalism and demeanor of care and kindness fostered a special relationship with our family from the moment she introduced herself. Throughout our tender and emotional stay at Piedmont Hospital, Allison orchestrated the most comprehensive and comforting care to our entire family and to my father until his passing. It seemed as if only minutes passed between my mother’s requests to speak to a priest or the cardiologist that they arrived to the room. Allison notified appropriate team members not only upon request, but when she personally sensed a need. When she noted new tears on my mother’s cheeks, a faith support was called. When Mom had questions regarding Dad’s status, physicians appeared. In just two of her shifts, Allison coordinated two visits from priests administering Last Rites, three chaplains, five physicians, respiratory therapy, case managers, and a hospice representative. When we requested to delay the scheduled hospice transfer “until morning” due to Dad’s fragile status, Allison was our advocate and facilitated the change of transfer time. My father passed before the original scheduled transfer time. The most striking gift I will remember is how astute Allison was to my father’s nearing time. She was sensitive to our privacy, continuously observing the monitors and Dad’s assessment from the window. Her knowledge and keen perceptions allowed her to know and act so appropriately just moments before my father passed. As the numbers on the monitors where changing and Dad’s breaths were becoming more shallow, Allison so gently entered, turned off the drip and the monitor, dimmed the lights and closed the door. My mother never even noticed. It was like a beautiful ballet that allowed us the most peaceful and private last moments with our father. As I looked up from my father’s bed, my eyes saw Allison through the window. She was already on the phone and with staff coordinating the continued care needed at this step. Her actions were all done with such grace and tenderness, yet clinically she remained timely and appropriate. Upon leaving the hospital, Allison gave us each hugs — I don’t believe my mother wanted to ever let her go as she became her “Rock.” With my hug, I told Allison that she is a living testimony that, “People can fall in love with a stranger in just a day.”

By | 2020-04-15T14:39:23-04:00 July 12th, 2010|Categories: Awards, Nursing news|0 Comments

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