WHC’s Parker receives Spring DAISY Award during Nurses Week 2023


By Dawn Hatfield


GREENVILLE — On Tuesday, May 9, Wayne HealthCare presented the Spring DAISY Award to a very deserving nurse. A favorite award of many because of its meaningful beginning and significance of excellent care, excitement abounds as Nurses Week approaches, one of two annual DAISY award presentations at WHC.

According to daisyfoundation.org, their mission is to “express gratitude to nurses with programs that recognize them for the extraordinary compassionate, skillful care they provide patients and families… An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, The DAISY Foundation was formed in November 1999, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The nursing care Patrick received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family.”

Patrick’s father, Mark Barnes, explained,As Patrick’s family, we brainstormed what to do in his memory. We vividly recalled the skillful and compassionate care Patrick received from his nurses during his eight-week hospitalization. We wanted to say ‘thank you’ to nurses everywhere by establishing a recognition program, The DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses (The DAISY Award). Through this and other recognition programs, we honor the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.”

Wayne HealthCare Vice President of Patient Care/CNO Kim Freeman, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC, explained the DAISY Award selection process is conducted by committee with “blind” applications, so names of candidates remain anonymous. Candidates can be nominated by anyone. Freeman stated, “Nominations by patients, especially—we enjoy getting those, but it can be also from co-workers, family members of patients, supervisors as well.”

The winner is kept secret until a decorated cart packed with goodies rolls up to the DAISY Award honoree. “This is Nurses Week, so the staff anticipate that. Where is the cart gonna go? What area is it going to? There is a lot of excitement surrounding this,” said Freeman. “This award certainly means a lot to our staff because it recognizes superiority of care they provide. This is really a big deal to them, and it’s one of our favorite things to do.”

The WHC 2023 Spring DAISY Award recipient is Debbie Parker, RN, who has been in nursing for six years, all of which have been at Wayne HealthCare. “I came here right out of nursing school,” Parker said.

When asked about her favorite part of the job, Parker quickly replied, “Taking care of patients, making them smile. I try to make everybody laugh—that’s my goal is to at least make everybody laugh or smile before I leave.”

Although Parker said her youngest son, age two, doesn’t know she is a nurse and sees her only as “Mom,” Parker said she knows her family will be proud of her when she takes home the award.

Her inspiration for nursing comes from within her family too. “I actually am following in my grandma’s footsteps. She was a nursing assistant, and she made me promise to become a nurse before she passed away, so I do it for my grandma. I was volunteering in a nursing home at eight years old with my grandma, so, yeah, that’s all I’ve ever known. Pretty much all my family is medical. I do it for my grandma,” Parker concluded.

Now in its 24th year, the DAISY Award program has affiliations with 5,400 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing in all 50 states and 35 other countries and territories committed to honoring nurses. The strategic impact of the program on nurses and their organizations is deep, affecting nurses’ job satisfaction, retention, teamwork, pride, organizational culture, healthy work environment, and more. Additionally, there are numerous benefits and additional opportunities to DAISY Honorees such as reduced tuition, conference scholarships, special rates on certification, just to name a few.

Nominate a nurse by visiting daisyfoundation.org.

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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