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Meet the second quarter 2013 DAISY recipients

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’ 2013 second-quarter nominations.

To nominate a nurse you know, visit

Ruby Svitek, RN, BSN • PACU, Advocate Trinity Hospital • Chicago

Ruby Svitek, RN

Ruby has crocheted 24 blankets, which are given to the Advocate Trinity Hospital patients that need that extra hug. She has used her own money for yarn and comes to work early each day to complete a few rows of the blanket before caring for patients. When the blankets are complete, she places a notation that the blanket is from surgical services.

Ruby has brought many smiles, hugs and tears to many patients. The blankets are handed out to patients undergoing a mastectomy, a lumpectomy, or to some who are just having a difficult time. Ruby taught herself and others how to crochet. She started Crochet for Comfort two years ago. She definitely has made a difference in many patients’ lives by her hard work and donation of yarn.

Andrea Agosta, RN • Pediatric ICU, University of Florida Health • Gainesville, Fla.

Andrea Agosta, RN

A patient, AJ, was upset one day and just seemed down. When his day shift nurse, Monica, asked why, he told her it was prom night at his high school and he had been on the committee that raised funds and organized the whole event before his hospitalization. AJ really wanted to go to his prom. Monica texted Andrea Agosta, AJ’s night shift nurse, to tell her AJ was feeling down because he was missing his prom. These nurses immediately began to rally the troops. They called all of the nurses they knew were working and started planning AJ’s “PICU Prom.” With only three hours’ notice, day and night shift nurses pulled together to set up a prom in the PICU conference room. They had decorations, cake, pizza, confetti, music and nurses in prom gowns.

At 9 p.m., Andrea (one of AJ’s favorite nurses) changed into her prom dress and surprised AJ by asking him to escort her to prom in the conference room. His mom helped him into a nice button up shirt, supplied by another staff member, and crowned him prom king. The staff even made him a prom king sash. The look on his and his mother’s faces as they entered PICU prom made everyone involved remember what nursing is really about. The spontaneity of it made the whole night that much better. The patient said afterward, “I feel so special.”

Elizabeth “Betsy” Dumas, RN • ICU, White River Junction VA Medical Center Vermont • White River Junction, Vt.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Dumas, RN

Betsy is a model nurse in every aspect of nursing. Betsy is an ICU nurse of many years and is dedicated and caring. She delivers the best care to acutely ill veterans. Betsy remembers patients and has a special way of giving every patient she touches tender loving care.

Betsy is frequently called to draw blood or start peripheral line. Betsy’s story is one of a long-term patient who had beginning onset of dementia. The patient loved music and loved to dance. Betsy was asked to draw blood for this patient. She recognized the patient and immediately started a conversation with him about music. When the patient asked Betsy to dance, she accepted his invitation.

They danced in the hallways of the unit. The smile and delight on the patient’s face radiated. This meant a lot to the patient and the staff on the unit.

She is a great resource of knowledge, extremely professional, always pleasant. In her generosity of spirit she is a mentor to colleagues. She has attained higher standing as a CCRN and is a devoted employee of White River Junction VA Hospital.

Suzanne Chen, RN • Surgical, Saint Agnes Medical Center • Fresno, Calif.

Suzanne Chen, RN

Providing exceptional care is worthy of commendation. Providing exceptional care in the midst of a challenging patient care experience is deserving of even greater praise. When a difficult, verbally abusive patient was admitted, Suzanne volunteered to care for him over the several days she worked. “It was an incredible delight to witness Suzanne work with this patient,” her nominator said.

Suzanne took time to get to know him, projected an attitude of hope, all while setting appropriate limits of acceptable behavior. While the patient often refused treatment from other caregivers, with Suzanne’s help, he cooperated. One of the most impressive moments was when she facilitated the reconciliation between the patient and his caregiver — even committing to train the caregiver in the skills needed to properly care for the patient at home. And Suzanne’s attention made all the difference in helping this man move past his hospitalization.

Ellen Reggiani, RN, BSN • Behavioral Health, Central Evaluation Unit, Saint Clare’s Health System • Boonton, N.J.

Ellen Reggiani, RN

The central evaluation unit at Boonton Campus is one of the busiest portals of entry into the hospital’s behavioral health inpatient services and it is where Ellen can be found performing her duties as a behavioral health admission nurse with vigor, passion and dedication.

Ellen deals effectively with interpersonal conflict and stimulates the staff to work collaboratively in the interest of service to patients. Last month, she saw a women who was upset and asked how she could help. The women said she was distressed over her husband’s discharge from the alcohol chemical dependency unit. Ellen listened to the wife’s concerns and walked her down to the unit. When they arrived on the unit Ellen observed the husband’s presentation was unusual; it appeared he had an altered mental status. Ellen discussed the situation with the on-call physician and it was decided the gentleman would be sent over to the ED for evaluation and treatment.

Ellen is not only a DAISY nurse while at work, but outside of work. On her way to work recently Ellen observed an elderly woman approach the car in front of her. She thought it strange when the car sped past and the women backed off, looking dazed. Ellen pulled over and inquired whether she was OK. The women explained she was lost and looking for her family. It was then Ellen realized she was disoriented to time and place and encouraged her to get into her car where she could drive her down the road to the hospital and assist her in locating her family.

Ellen gently probed to discover the women had been missing for many hours and her family was extremely upset by her absence. The husband explained his wife had advanced Alzheimer’s but had not wandered off before. He expressed his gratitude for Ellen’s compassionate and unselfish act in taking care of his wife and removing her from harm’s way.

Melissa Greco, RN • Oncology, Pennsylvania Hospital • Philadelphia

Melissa Greco, RN

The following was written by an 11-year-old nominator:

I was visiting my grandfather in the hospital. When Melissa came in and saw the dozens of bright colorful pictures on the wall she realized how much I love to draw. She told me about an art kit I could borrow. She also told me about the patient next door to my grandfather. He was originally from Haiti and he didn’t have anything on the walls to brighten them up. She suggested that I make a bright drawing to put on his wall. I drew an island like Haiti and I got to go in to give the patient my picture. He loved it and since then I have drawn him a second picture. I have also gotten to know the patient and his son and they are both really nice.

When I ran out of wall space for all my drawings I asked Melissa if I could hang some on the ceiling. Sensibly, she said no, but she came up with a great idea instead.

She suggested that I hang lots of drawings off of an IV pole. Then we could put the pole up really high. The pole would touch the ceiling and be almost like a mobile. I worked on it until I finished. When I was done, I showed my grandfather and he loved it. It brightens up his room even more than all the pictures!

Melissa is a great nurse. She is super energetic and she has made my visit to the hospital very meaningful.

Melanie Hanes, RN, CCRN • ICU, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano • Plano, Texas

Melanie Hanes, RN

A patient was admitted to the hospital for a thoracotomy. He had a mass that was presumed to be a metastasis from a history of stomach cancer. His wife spoke only Korean. He had a son who lived in Houston and two daughters that lived in the area. One daughter was pregnant and expecting her first child, and the other was engaged and to be married in the next year.

The patient had a gastric bypass in the past for his stomach cancer, chemo and radiation. He was emaciated with a low protein and albumin level before surgery. After the surgery, he had a hard time getting enough nutrition orally.

The pathology report came back determined he did not have metastatic lung cancer, but chronic lung injury from aspiration. After many weeks in the ICU, he was well enough to transfer to a long-term acute care facility.

There were many discussions with the family about his poor prognosis with all the complications he had experienced during his ICU stay. The family was always consistent with the theme that the patient would recover and get well enough to go home. They even requested that pain and sedation medication be withheld so that he would be awake enough to fight to get better.

Melanie was assigned to care for the patient and family for four days in a row. The first day she provided care, she met all of his family members and developed a bond with them. The second day she asked the family a question, that went something like this: I notice that you are very concerned that your dad be kept comfortable and not experience any pain, I see that his comfort is of the utmost importance to you. The doctors keep writing in their notes that they do not see your dad recovering from this illness. Why is it so important to you that we keep your dad alive?”

The pregnant daughter who was the family spokesperson said that in her culture, unless a father is present when his daughter gets married, the marriage would be a failure. Melanie then had a longer discussion about the father being able to recover enough for this to be possible. The daughters both felt that their dad would not recover enough for this to be a realistic goal.

Melanie then spoke with the daughters about what was necessary in their culture for a marriage to be recognized. It was decided by the family, nurse and chaplain at the hospital that a symbolic marriage could occur at the bedside, between the daughter and her fiance. She arranged for the chaplain to marry the couple at the bedside the next day.

On her last day of caring for the patient, the family allowed the hospital personnel to change the focus of care to comfort care and allow the patient to experience a natural death. She was with the patient and family when he passed away.

Lindsey Spencer, RN • ED, Salem Hospital • Salem, Ore.

Lindsey Spencer, RN

Go anywhere, anytime, and do anything. This is the credo of the emergency nurse and this sums up Lindsey perfectly. Lindsey came to the ER from ICU and the Family Birth Center a few years back and has made the fast-paced ED her home.

An excellent clinician with superb skills and a compassionate heart, Lindsey truly sets the standard in the ED, precepting new graduates and raising the bar higher every day with her skills and hard work.

Recently, a young woman and her husband came into the ED. The young woman was about 10-12 weeks pregnant and was miscarrying, a fact confirmed by ultrasound two days earlier. The young woman was bleeding and distraught; this day the reality of what was happening to her and her unborn child was sinking in.

Miscarriages are not uncommon in the ED, particularly in the first term. There is little that can be done to intervene and the emotional stress on the patient is immense. Often the child has been named, nurseries have been painted, hopes and dreams abound. This day this family’s dream would come to an end.

The young woman was moved to a room in the ER and Lindsey was assigned as the nurse. Introductions were made and the clinical portion of the visit began. The woman soon passed a fair amount of blood and several clots, the products of conception. The nominator spoke with Lindsey in the supply room while she was preparing for the woman’s exam. She wondered aloud about her role with this woman and the woman’s angst. The nominator told her simply to do what she does best, to be herself.

Lindsey went back to the patient room and began the process of healing. Lindsey asked the couple if they would like to see their baby. They did and Lindsey went about the process of cleansing the intact baby of the blood and clots that covered it. Once clean she placed it on the only thing she had, a tiny makeshift blanket composed of a folded pillowcase.

She handed the baby to the mother and father who then began to grieve, weeping openly and speaking softly to one another, saying those things that one does in such a private and sorrowful moment. They counted the fingers and toes, asking Lindsey, is it a boy? They wanted a boy so very much.

Lindsey answered their questions and then left them to grieve privately. She came back to the room a bit later. The parents had let go, they had the time of grieving and closure they so desperately needed and that Lindsey had provided them. They thanked Lindsey for what she had done. It was evident this was the closure they needed.

Kristin Bast, RN • Inpatient Behavioral Health, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital • Scottsdale, Ariz.

A patient was visiting from out of state when she needed to be hospitalized. She was traveling with her service dog. The patient became unable to care for the dog while in the hospital. The dog started feeling very overwhelmed and anxious due to the environment of the unit.

The patient did not have any family or friends in Arizona to care for the dog during the hospitalization. This began to cause the patient much distress and heartache as well as increased anxiety for the dog.

Risk management was notified of the situation and received authorization to pay for shelter while the patient was admitted and unable to care for the dog. Kristin called her vet and explained the situation. She worked out the details so that the dog could receive temporary shelter while the owner was hospitalized.

In order for this to occur, the vet needed the dog’s vaccine records, which were located in the Los Angeles area. After many, many calls, the dog’s vet records and immunization records were tracked down and faxed to the hospital. Kristin then took the dog to the vet/shelter after her shift. She continued to visit the dog daily, taking him for walks and socializing with him every day, as he was used to being with someone 24/7.

Kristin took pictures of the dog to show to the dog’s owner, which brought her much comfort. Kristin shared with the patient how her pet was doing. The patient was so relieved a knowing that her pet was being so tenderly cared for. Kristin continued to do this until the patient was discharged. Kristin clearly demonstrated empathy and caring for not only the patient but her dog as well.

By | 2021-05-07T08:27:51-04:00 October 24th, 2013|Categories: Nursing Awards|0 Comments

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