Wheat Ridge, Colo.,
11:16 AM

DAISY founders celebrate Lutheran nurse

Melissa, ED caregivers, Mark, Bonnie and Andrea

Each month, Lutheran Medical Center chooses one deserving nurse from among the many that are nominated to receive the prestigious DAISY Award. During Nurses Week in May, we were honored to host The DAISY Award founders, and to present the award to Melissa Williams, RN-BLS/ACLS/PALS, Emergency Department.

Mark and Bonnie Barnes, from the DAISY Foundation, gave opening remarks and visited with the many caregivers in attendance at the event. Andrea Burch, MS, RN, NEA-BC, VP, COO & CNO, presented the certificate, daisy bouquet and sculpture to Melissa. A box of Cinnabon is included for sharing with her team. The cinnamon rolls are significant as well.

It was a group effort to share the history of this designation, which is given to extraordinary nurses with outstanding clinical skill, compassion, and inspiration, in nearly 6,000 hospitals and 39 countries.

Melissa Williams

The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation was created in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, Mark and Bonnie’s son, to thank nurses for their care and compassion during his illness and at the end of his life. 

Patrick became ill and died shortly after the birth of his now 23-year-old daughter, who recently graduated from college. The DAISY Foundation was a way for the family to “focus on the positive and to fill the hole in our hearts,” Mark said.

“It is so special and meaningful for you to come to Lutheran during Nurse’s Week to recognize the incredible care our nurses give,” Andrea said.

Former chief nursing officer Ann Evans is responsible for bringing the DAISY Award to Lutheran years ago, as she had met the Barnes’ at her previous position in Florida and brought the DAISY tradition with her when she moved to Lutheran.

Melissa and ED caregivers

“It is a joy to be here, to hear your stories and to say thank you for what you do every day – for your extraordinary and compassionate care,” Bonnie said.

There is history to both the cinnamon rolls and the Healer’s Touch sculpture, according to Bonnie and Mark. When their son was in the hospital, he lost his appetite and was not eating. The only thing his parents had success with encouraging him to eat was Cinnabon. They brought in a box one day to share with the nursing staff and so the tradition was born. Over the years, Cinnabon has partnered with the Foundation to donate cinnamon rolls to nurses, including here at Lutheran.

“Nursing is the world’s greatest team sport,” Mark said. “Even though one (nurse) is being honored, the whole unit shares in the cinnamon rolls.”

The Healing Touch sculptures given to every DAISY honoree are made in Zimbabwe, by expert stone makers of the Shona culture. Zimbabwe is the only country on the African continent with large deposits of stone suitable for sculpting. The design symbolizes the relationship between a nurse and his or her patient.

The Healing Touch

These pieces of artwork further “have created an umbrella of economic protection and sustenance over the group of artists and their families we support,” according to the Foundation. “Moreover, since the Shona people hold their traditional healers in very high esteem, viewing them as treasures in their community, there is no one better to carve such special gifts for our DAISY Honorees.”

As Melissa was being honored by her colleagues and the Barnes family, we learned that she was nominated by another caregiver for her devotion to following through for a patient in the ED.

During a busy day, an elderly patient was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. After the EMS transfer, Melissa noticed the patient had left behind a cell phone. She knew this was important as it was the only contact the patient had with a spouse who had dementia.

Mark Barnes, Melissa Williams, Bonnie Barnes, Andrea Burch

After her shift, Melissa drove directly to the nursing facility to deliver the phone to ensure the patient could be in contact with their spouse.

“I know that Melissa had many stressful patients that day and she took the time to ... deliver this phone. It was way out of her way,” said her colleague in the nomination. “Thank you, Melissa. Your compassion and concern for this patient allowed him to avoid additional stress that would have certainly caused him anguish.”

Thank you to the Barnes family and their benefactors that support the incredible work of nurses at Lutheran and throughout the world.