BETHESDA, Md. -- Saluting the “extraordinary and compassionate” care nurses provide the nation’s heroes and their families at the largest military medical center in the U.S., Walter Reed Bethesda honored its nursing team during the quarterly DAISY Award Ceremony on Aug. 15 in the Memorial Auditorium.
More than 90 nursing team members were nominated for the May, June and July DAISY awards. “These individuals were nominated by patients, family members and colleagues for their extraordinary compassion and care, advocacy, mentorship and professionalism,” said Army Col. Joy W. Napper, department chief of hospital education and training and a nurse.
One nursing team member for each month is selected to receive the DAISY Award, Napper explained. “The individual selected has gone above and beyond in providing compassionate and skilled care to patients and their families during difficult times.”
Hospital Corpsman Jerome Whiteman, Ensign Kristi Hayden-Leitner, and Ensign Sabina Do received the award for May, June and July respectively.
Nominated for the DAISY award by a patient’s spouse, Whiteman works on 5 Center. He was described in the nomination as “attentive to details, outstanding, hands-on, encouraging, engaged, very professional and personable.
“We felt like we mattered,” said the family member in regards to the care she and her husband received from the hospital corpsman. “My husband wasn’t just another medical case to be watched. Our care was exceptional. [Whiteman] provided care encompassing the whole patient, not just the physical. Our care during this hospital stay was outstanding, and [Whiteman] played a large part in that … with his positive attitude. His care and compassion set him apart from all others.”
Hayden-Leitner of 3 West was nominated for the DAISY award by the Penrod family. The parents said their young son Zachary developed “quite an attachment” to the nurse during his nearly month-long hospital stay. “As a parent, knowing your child is excited to see a caregiver means a lot [and] is incredibly encouraging. In addition to the fact that Zachary loved this nurse, [she] demonstrated exceptional nursing skills with our son. We felt confident Zachary was getting great care. Having a child in the hospital is scary for any parent. Having a child in the hospital for four weeks is extra challenging. We appreciate all the wonderful care Zachary received on 3 West.”
Do was also nominated for the DAISY award by a patient’s wife. “This nurse spent so much extra time getting to know my husband and family, she made us feel as though we are all family and not just people she supports here,” stated a patient’s wife in the nomination. “This nurse is intelligent, confident and has the perfect bedside manner.” The nomination continued on to describe Do as “compassionate, committed, positive, professional, enthusiastic, and a morale cheerleader.”
Nominees for the DAISY award receive a pin, and each winner receives the “Healer’s Touch,” a serpentine stone sculpture hand-carved by artists from the Shona people in Zimbabwe. “Healers are greatly respected in the eyes of the Shona people and are considered treasures,” Napper explained. “The statue represents the relationship nurses have with their patients.”
Napper added the DAISY Foundation was established in 2000 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes. “Pat died at the age of 33 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) [an auto-immune disease]. In their grief, the Barnes family searched for a way to commemorate Pat and turn their loss into something positive. The Barnes family came up with DAISY, an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.
“Throughout Pat’s hospitalization, the family was repeatedly impressed by the clinical care Pat received, and overwhelmed by the compassion and kindness that his nurses brought to his bedside,” Napper continued. “They came to understand that the communication and attention given to Pat were a very important part of the care nurses provide. As a result of their experience, the Barnes family believes nurses are unsung heroes of our society, and dedicated their foundation to recognizing that.
“There are now over 1,500 hospitals internationally committed to honoring their nurses with the DAISY award,” Napper said. “To date, the foundation has paid tribute to over 30,000 nurses for their extraordinary care.”
Army Chaplain (Capt.) Sergio Daza, who provided prayers at the ceremony, said the nursing staff at the Nation’s Medical Center provides “wonderful acts of kindness, compassion and care each and every day.” He added everyone should be encouraged and inspired by patient and staff testimonies “of the great things our nurses are doing every day, and for this, we rejoice.”
Bernard S. Little WRNMMC Journal staff writer