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Meet the 2012 DAISY recipients — first quarter

Monday April 9, 2012
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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 first-quarter nominations.

To view a full list of this quarter’s winners, visit http://daisyfoundation.org/daisy-award/daisy-nurses/Honorees-2012.

To nominate a nurse you know, visit www.DAISYfoundation.org.

Eva Heldt, RN • Cardiology • Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Recently, Eva admitted an elderly gentleman who, the day before, had lost his wife of more than 50 years. While Eva was getting him admitted to the unit, his dinner tray was delivered. He told Eva that would be the first time in more than 50 years he would be eating alone. Eva replied, “Well, tonight isn’t going to be the first night.” She excused herself from the room and went and grabbed a snack and went back into the room. She sat down with the patient and had her snack while he ate his dinner.


Joe Long Jr., RN
Joe “Jo Jo” Long Jr., RN • ED • Winter Haven (Fla.) Hospital

On Dec. 4, 2011, a patient from a nursing home was brought to the ED by EMS for changes in mental status. We were extremely busy, but Jo Jo focused on this patient to see what he could do to expedite her care. He overheard the physician and the nurse obtaining an evaluation on the patient. They were about to begin a full workup on her to see what was causing her change in status. Jo Jo wondered if the patient might have a hearing problem and questioned if this was related to her change in status. Jo Jo not only assessed the patient, but he started looking for hearing aid batteries in the department. When he could not find them, he took the time to go to Walgreen’s and buy a replacement battery for hearing aids. It worked; the patient was able to hear great and had no other complaints. Jo Jo didn’t just help this patient; he offered his own time and money, which saved this patient an extensive workup. We are happy to have Jo Jo as a charge nurse.

Norma Spryszak, RN • Oncology/Hospice • Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Mich.

Norma can assure solid scheduling to provide coverage for her patients. She can monitor staff training to make sure everyone is up to date with the latest procedures. She can complete all her evaluations and present them in a way that encourages and builds a strong team. She can watch her unit’s budget, round on every patient and enthusiastically promote the Adopt-A-Family initiative that will make a difference in the lives of others. And today, she can hold a 2-year-old on her lap for more an hour. This child's mother just died in the room down the hall. Snuggled close like her own boys did once upon a time, the little girl doesn’t keep Norma from documenting on the computer or providing information to her nurses. She has no idea what happened down the hall. She just knows the comfort of the arms of the nice lady in blue who knows her priorities. Norma is a nurse manager who lives her calling, healing one broken heart at a time. Those who work with her are very proud of her. What a gift Beaumont Troy has in Norma.


Najawa Harris, RN
Najawa Harris, RN • Telemetry • SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton, Mo.

Najawa cared for a patient whom many had written off as being a “drug addict” and “noncompliant.” The patient, during admission, was diagnosed with throat cancer and failed a swallow evaluation. She was quickly scheduled for a trach and PEG. Najawa not only supported this patient during the diagnosis by the physician, but through the rest of her hospital stay in the ICU and 2N. The patient called the unit every day after being able to speak again, and continues to call to talk to Najawa postdischarge on a daily basis. Najawa visited this patient during her work shifts and has continued to provide the type of compassionate nursing care that goes beyond passing medications.

Walter Edwards, RN • Pediatric Med/Surg/Telemetry Unit 8C • Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va.

Walter was nominated by the mother of one of his patients who was extremely impressed with Walter’s superior bedside manner and with the special care given to her daughter. Her daughter has had 12 surgeries at CHKD, so she was familiar with the hallmarks of a great nurse. It was the little things that set Walter apart from his peers: offering the patient emotional support for an upcoming procedure, answering her questions, being attentive to the child’s needs with frequent checks on her status. The mother assumed these characteristics were the result of years of clinical experience and was shocked to learn that Walter had been a cable installer for the past 25 years and had been a nurse for less than one year. The mother told us that their discussion about Walter’s decision to change his career path and his encouraging words, “You’re never too old to learn” and “If I can do it, you can do it,” inspired her to return to school. The mother met with a counselor the following week and is now enrolled in a medical office assistant program. In the mother’s own words: “Some people touch you in a way that will change your life forever. Walter has done this for me.”


Omar Gabriel, RN-BC
Omar Gabriel, RN-BC, CNRN, ACVN • Med Surg/Ortho • Kingman (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center