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Meet the 2012 DAISY recipients — second quarter

The DAISY Foundation continues to celebrate the tremendous skill and compassion of extraordinary nurses through its nationwide recognition program.

The following are excerpts from DAISY Award recipients’ 2012 second-quarter nominations.

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

To nominate a nurse you know, visit

Lorraine Diaz, RN • Med/Surg • Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City, Calif.

Lorraine Diaz, RN

Lorraine Diaz demonstrated the true essence of what a nurse should be.

Besides her professionalism and pleasing personality, she goes out of her way to make sure all the patients’ needs are met, from the time her shift starts until she goes home for the day. She treats her patients like her family, always making sure they are comfortable, pain-free and safe. Her compassionate attitude is a testimony that whoever is under her care can expect a very successful recovery.

An example would be one patient who just was transferred from the PCU to the floor.

This patient, since her stay in the PCU, had been unable to meet her personal needs. When she was transferred to 5N, Lorraine, her nurse at that time, noticed that her hair looked like it had not been washed for several days.

She went out of her way to stop doing her work, asked the PCT to watch her other patients, gathered her supplies and went inside the room to wash the patient’s face and shampoo her hair.

The patient, who was very tearful at that time, realized after what Lorraine did that she was able to regain her dignity.

Tammy Monroe, RN • Surgical Unit • Morton Plant Mease Health Care, Mease Dunedin Hospital in Dunedin, Fla.

Tammy Monroe, RN

Tammy loves her role as an advanced patient care leader because it provides her the opportunity to care for and make a difference in the lives of her patients that extends outside the “traditional” model.

Here are two examples of Tammy’s compassionate care:

She recently had a patient facing tragic circumstances with no friends or family. All he could think about was his car. With his permission, his primary nurse and Tammy found his car and brought it to the hospital parking lot. It made all the difference to this patient.

When hospitalized unexpectedly, a patient left his dog alone.

Tammy and the unit social worker were able to “rescue” the pet, and Tammy kept her until the patient was again able to care for the dog.

Susan McGee-Staehle, RN, BSN, BBA, ACM • Care Management • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago

Susan McGee-Staehle, RN

Our patient had been placed in a corner room on the PCCU. His bed faced a full wall of windows looking east over the city. He had light — lots of it. He had the sun, and he had a room with a view. And our patient was dying.

Susan had met some of his family earlier in his stay. The family’s initial impression of her was a good one: professional, decent, charming and funny, which is just the right thing to have when everything and everyone around you is gloomy. Susan was there, present and keeping vigil with her patient’s sister on what was to be the last day of the patient’s life. She told her about meeting him and his friends and how he had kept her laughing for a good half-hour. This allowed the sister to laugh along and reminisce about her brother and know he had affected us and was not just another patient. She was there with her when the telemetry monitor blinked and the tell-tale lines showed an infarction.

The family was left to grieve in privacy after his peaceful passing. I saw them again some time later. His brother asked me to please ask Susan to return to the room as he wanted to see her before she left. I paged Susan, and she was back to the unit in minutes.

Back to the windows. The patient was dying in the PCCU. Our census was low. Susan was the case manager for the patient. She could have had the patient shifted to the general medical floor with the click of a mouse and may have been urged here and there to do so. She did not. She knew the family loved the room.
She knew the patient was at the end of his life. She supported the patient and family remaining in their room.

What for some may perceive as a small act of kindness was a monumental one for this family and patient. The family said over and over again how much they loved the room and loved that their loved one had sunshine and liked the room, too. Previously, discharge options began to be discussed, and the patient had indicated he’d really like to stay where he was. And he did, thanks to Susan and assorted PCCU staff. The family could not say enough positive things about the care they had received here and their experience at Illinois Masonic.

Michelle Johnson, RN • B3 Oncology • Winchester (Mass.) Hospital

Michelle Johnson, RN

A fellow nurse nominated Michelle for “going above and beyond” as she arranged for a dying patient to see her daughter’s wedding.

In the nomination, the nurse described how Michelle took care of her patient as the end grew near.

According to the nurse, when Michelle asked the patient what her last wishes were, the patient wanted to see her daughter get married.

Knowing the patient wouldn’t be able to see the ceremony, Michelle arranged for her daughter’s wedding day to be moved up.

On the day of the wedding, Michelle offered to help the patient get dressed for the big day and granted her last wish.

Melissa Hendricks, RN • NICU • MIHS-Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix

Melissa Hendricks, RN

I was sitting in the entrance when Melissa Hendricks noticed me, no one else did, and that I just needed someone. I have cancer, no money and not long to live.

Of course, Melissa did not know this right away.

She sat down, talked to me, made me feel like somebody. Even though she did not have much time, she took me for breakfast downstairs and to the chapel to pray.

All this for a man she doesn’t even know or even from a unit she works on.

Please give her thanks for treating someone such as myself as a very special person.

I will never forget her kindness and this hospital.

Pam Jones, RN • ED • Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, N.C.

From left, CNO Lorena Silva, RN; Pam Jones, RN; and ED director Amy Walker, RN

Pam is exceptional clinically and consistently cares for patients and their families at great lengths. Pam goes out of her way to make patients and their families feel safe and well cared for.

This is an example of Pam’s caring spirit: She was the nurse for a patient who was receiving chemotherapy. The patient told Pam that she had concerns about her hair loss. Pam offered her comforting words, and the next day she took the patient a silk scarf saying that “it would make her feel better and beautiful.” Pam always is cheerful and quick with a smile for her patients and their families. Even after her scheduled hours in the ED, Pam has gone to extra lengths to take food and magazines to our staff, paramedics included, during times of illness. She has visited their rooms and has helped them and their families to run errands. Pam was instrumental in providing care and meals for one of our paramedics, who recently died from terminal cancer, and his family.

Pam also shares her caring spirit with our community. She coordinates our department efforts to provide needy families with meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She makes sure the meals are delivered to their homes. Pam also coordinates the department “Secret Santa” and the gifts for the needy children in our community.

Carina Marasigan-Stone, RN • M11-ICU • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y.

Carina Marasigan-Stone, RN

It was just last week as I sat at my desk in the ICU, feet elevated, exhausted after a 12-hour shift. It was 7 a.m., and I only had one hour left of a night filled with fluid boluses and drip titrations.

As I sat exhausted contemplating whether to treat myself to bacon or not, out of the corner of my eye I saw bright yellow pompoms (expertly handmade out of the patient contact gowns) cheering in the air. As Carina came running up to me to recruit me in the cheering efforts I was confused. I asked, “What are you cheering for?”

As she explained, one of our elderly ICU patients turned the corner ambulating in the hallway. As the patient made three laps that morning, each time I saw Carina with a smile on her face, filled with enthusiasm and support cheering for another nurse’s patient.

This is just one instance I can recall where Carina went above and beyond her duties as a critical care nurse.

Not only is she experienced, intelligent, up to date on current best practices, but she also is compassionate, helpful and a team player. In any emergency, she is an active part in life-saving measures. She understands in which situations to talk and in which to listen. She is willing to question orders and procedures, regardless of anticipated backlash, and always keep patient safety and comfort a top priority.

Debbie Smith, RN • Medical Oncology • Rogue Valley Medical Center, Medford, Ore.

Debbie Smith, RN

My family member was in the hospital and received outstanding and compassionate care while battling kidney cancer. We had a large amount of family who were visiting and arrangements were made to get a bigger room so everyone could be together. Every effort was made to get my loved one comfortable and out of pain, so a referral was made to the palliative care team. They actually had to track down the last epidural catheter that was available so that the patient could be sent home on long term pain IV meds.

The moment that I recall best was when Debbie called my nephew’s officer while he was stationed in Afghanistan to get him home right away so he could spend time with his dying loved one. These nurses rarely have time for lunch or to go to the restroom, and she took precious time to make several calls to get our nephew home. That goes above and beyond and I would love for Debbie to be recognized. I have been a floor nurse with Debbie and worked with her as a utilization review nurse in the past as well. She always has given compassionate, outstanding care to patients, family members and fellow co-workers.

Michele Pitt, RN, BSN, BA, CWOCN • Nursing Education Department • MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore

When a patient had difficulty remembering how to care for his new ostomy, Michele took real-time photos of him doing the procedure, then made the photos into step-by-step directions.

Another patient had a difficult-to-dress, fragile, abdominal wound that leaked a massive amount of fluid. Michele “concocted” a wound vac solution that allowed him to heal.

Jaclyn Griffith, RN, BSN • Oncology • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia

Here is the inspiring story about Jaclyn: “Jaclyn became very close with a young woman on our floor who had leukemia. The patient was 18, but developmentally much younger. Jaclyn had done many nice things for this patient and her family; she also wanted to have a “prom” for her in April. However, the patient started getting sicker, so Jaclyn and the staff moved up the event. At the last minute they gathered decorations and all wore purple, the patient’s favorite color. They had a tiara and prom dress for the patient, complete with food, music, decorations, karaoke and photos. Jaclyn even went so far as to crown the prom queen, (the patient), and a king (a staff member the patient selected) and created a photo album, which all of the staff signed.”

The patient’s prom was held on Monday, and she died three days later. Jaclyn organized this prom in two days to make this patient’s dying wish come true. Jaclyn exceeded expectations as a nurse, spent her own time and money, and put an incredible amount of effort to give this patient something that she never would have experienced otherwise.

Andrea Homan, RN • MICU • Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.

The only certified hospice palliative care nurse in MICU, Andrea has solid critical-thinking and time-management skills. Very frequently, Andrea is commended by patients and family members in MICU.

Most recently, Andrea took care of a complex, ventilated, very anxious patient with severe lupus. This patient was in MICU on the ventilator for about 50 days, had died and was revived by our staff, had frequent panic attacks and complex family dynamics.

One day last month, Andrea had a typically very busy day with two demanding patients. Andrea participated in daily bedside rounds and discussed the option of taking her patient outside for the first time. After receiving approval, she got the patient’s approval, respiratory therapy’s buy-in and the family’s buy-in to take her patient outside. Respiratory therapy and the family accompanied Andrea and her patient outside. The patient’s anxiety virtually was absent during the outing.

Two days later, the patient’s mom left me a message asking me to call her.

Thinking something was wrong, I immediately called her back. She said that she wanted to tell me how wonderful Andrea was in caring for her daughter over the weekend. The mom said she had never before seen someone who could manage her daughter’s anxiety and many needs as well as Andrea did and would there be any possible way she could have Andrea as her nurse again in the future.

Beckie White, RN • Med/Surg ICU • Trinity Mother Francis Hospital in Tyler, Texas

Out of all the care I received and all the interactions with staff, Beckie stands out above all others for her positive attitude. She will poke her head in the doorway and smile and wave to me. She is happy all the time. The first thing she does when she comes on shift is to come and see me and give me this big smile. I can tell that she genuinely cares.

I recently had a bad day. I was nervous and worried about my upcoming surgery.

But as soon as I saw Beckie’s smile, I was able to smile also. I had not been able to eat before surgery. After I came back from my surgery, Beckie brought me a Payday candy bar so I could have something to eat as soon as I got back.

Something as small as a candy bar means a lot.

Beckie is a superb nurse. She consistently goes above and beyond and has provided me with the strength I need to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Colby Christopherson, RN • Critical Care 5C • Franciscan Health System – St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday that was ordinary for us, but for the patient it was a day she’ll always remember.

The patient had been in the hospital for 27 days, in and out of 5C with multiple complications. As you could only imagine, she was starting to feel a little down and out. Each day she seemed to lose that twinkle in her eyes and the smile in her heart. We were all being her cheerleaders, telling her not to give up, and how much we admired her strength, but nothing seemed to cheer her up. It was the weekend and not much was going on so Colby decided to take the patient on a “date.” He was determined to make her smile again.

Sunday afternoon, he helped her into the wheelchair and off they went; not returning for more than an hour. Colby bought her a smoothie, got himself a coffee and together they enjoyed the sunshine, something she hadn’t seen or felt in almost 30 days.

When they returned to the unit, the patient was holding her smoothie and had the biggest smile, one that would melt your heart. She said her favorite part was “feeling the breeze on my face.” Her eyes twinkled, that familiar twinkle, the one we all were hoping she would find again. Sunday night she slept so peacefully holding onto her smoothie and the memories of her “date.”

Colby’s compassion for all of his patients is admirable. He is truly an inspiring nurse and someone we all look up to.

By | 2020-04-15T09:43:48-04:00 July 16th, 2012|Categories: Awards, Nursing news|0 Comments

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