ST. LOUIS - Nurses at Mercy Hospital St. Louis are selected from nominations received by patients or co-workers to be honored with the DAISY Award.
DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The family of Patrick Barnes established the Daisy Foundation in 1999 to express gratitude to nurses for the work they do for patients and their families every day. The award is presented in more than 1,900 healthcare facilities in all 50 states and 15 countries.
Each quarter, the Mercy St. Louis Nursing Clinical Council reviews nominations, and based on key criteria (which align with Mercy values), determine DAISY award recipients. Winners each receive a special certificate, lapel pin and hand-carved sculpture. A celebratory banner also will hang in the nurse’s unit for a month.
Alex Whalen, RN, a behavioral health nurse at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, was nominated by a patient. The nomination reads, in part, "I was admitted to the Behavioral Health unit and was an emotional wreck spiraling downward into a very dark and dangerous place. I have never suffered from depression or had any mental health treatment at all. This process is completely foreign to me...Alex was my nurse when I walked in. He interviewed me but what he really did was to understand and appreciate me, relate to me very quickly, gave me an outlet to cry and breakdown and give me an introduction to what I could expect. I am deeply grateful. I am a Type A business personality and its very difficult for me to submit to a process that I can’t control. Alex picked up on that right away, related to me and gave me the best understanding of what I needed to do to have my stay be successful...I believe my stay in the Behavioral Health unit has been a success, certainly due to the exceptional staff (everyone!) but that first interaction made a huge difference. I will always be grateful for that conversation with Alex."
Carrie Pulver, RN, neonatal intensive care unit nurse at Mercy Children's Hospital St. Louis, received a July 2021 DAISY Award. The nomination from a patient's parents reads, in part, "When we entered the NICU, we had no idea what to expect. We were nervous, anxious and just plain scared. Then Carrie came into our lives. She was the first nurse that helped me to hold my baby girl 10 days after she was born. That day meant more to me than anything...Carrie takes care of my baby as though she is her own and I couldn’t be more appreciative. I know she cares deeply for her and I trust her opinion more than anyone’s when it comes to decisions for my baby. She also cares about my wellbeing too. I was telling her how I really was not looking forward to Mother’s Day because of our situation and Carrie made sure to make it a happy one...She is not only an outstanding nurse, but an outstanding person in general and I cannot imagine another person more deserving of this award. My family and I are very excited to leave the NICU, but sad that we will be leaving Carrie.
A Team DAISY Award was given in July to the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit and Surgical Progressive Care Units. The nomination read, in part: I have worked at Mercy for 13 years, most of that time has been on the fourth floor of the heart hospital. In my time at Mercy, I have floated to many other units and, while they are welcoming and caring, none quite compare to the family found on the fourth floor...The SPCU and CVICU welcome challenges daily and through nothing short of miracles often bending in ways unfathomable to make the impossible seem commonplace. And they do it with a smile.
They facilitate transfers and will take on additional responsibilities if it means improving the care of patients. Together, nurses, techs, doctors, nurse practitioners, physical and occupational therapy, social workers have open dialogue and a common goal that makes exceptional patient care the standard.
This can be seen by the successes of the patients from ECMO patients (some who have been featured on news specials) to open hearts to vascular procedures. They evolve from near death to sending Christmas cards with cheerful updates and thanks to the staff. We are often visited by former patients who comment on the teamwork and fierce work ethic and credit it to their wellbeing.
Emily Pusheck, RN, is a nurse on the medical surgical unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She was nominated for the DAISY Award by her co-workers for going above and beyond to help a patient. The day the patient was to go home, he expressed his excited to get home to his wife because he missed Valentine’s Day, which was also their wedding anniversary. Pusheck took the patient to the gift shop to help him buy flowers for his wife and then helped him clear his car of snow and ice so he could make it safely home. The nomination read, in part, “The compassion Emily provided this patient exemplifies what a Mercy nurse is. Thanks for being you, Emily. We are honored to have you on our team.”
Paula Collins, LPN, is a nurse in the ambulatory surgery unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She received 11 nominations from separate patients this quarter alone, all focused on her amazing work with IVs.
Here are portions of just a few of the nominations.
“The vein whisperer – Paula. No one has been able to get blood or IV in my left arm. Paula is not only friendly and accommodating, she was able to get a successful IV. She deserves a medal for that.”
“I can’t tell you how terrified I am of IVs because I’ve had so many bad experiences. However, Paula somehow gave me my first pain-free, worry-free IV ever. I told her I was nervous about an IV in the hand. She made accommodations for my arm, no problem, and was very friendly, calming and considerate of patients’ wants and worries. First person ever who really does an amazing job keeping me calm about needles and knew what she was talking about.”
“Paula represented the epitome of professionalism. Her demeanor was calm and welcoming. My experience with her regarding the insertion of my IV was one of the best ever. She met every check box… I am so apprehensive when it comes to IVs and have had so many bad experiences, it was a blessing that she was assigned to me…”
“I was very worried about getting my IV because of previous bad experiences. Paula explained step by step what she was doing, very gentle and kind. She got my vein, first try, for that I am grateful…”
Abby Dobrinick, a nurse with the float pool at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She was nominated by two co-workers, who both recognized her for going “above and beyond to help her patients.” She worked to help a husband and wife, both patients, spend their final moments together. In addition, when Dobrinick wheeled the wife out, she waited while her car warmed up and scraped off all the ice and snow for her, without being asked. “When Abby returned to the floor, she was covered in snow and was freezing. She didn’t care though. She was only worried about the patient’s wellbeing…She is a Rockstar.”
Toni Taylor, nurse supervisor for the neurology unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, was recognized with the DAISY Leader award for this quarter. Her nomination by a co-worker shared an experience in which Taylor went above and beyond for a patient who spoke no English. She took time with the patient, wheeled him out his room and enjoyed viewing the sunset from the lobby windows. His daughter was appreciative of the extra time Taylor spent with her dad, even when they were unable to fully communicate.
Chelsea Koller, an oncology nurse at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, received the October 2020 DAISY Award for always making patients feel special. She was nominated by two co-workers for going above and beyond.
One nomination reads, in part, "Chelsea truly makes patients comfortable, confident and well-informed while they are here. She has a contagious attitude and always brings positivity to the floor...She bought the patient's mom a birthday gift with her own money so the patient would have something to give her despite being in the hospital."
The other nomination reads, in part, "Chelsea was caring for a patient transitioning from active treatment to comfort care. During her conversations with the patient, she found out the patient loved pink flowers. As the patient was declining, Chelsea realized that she should have pink flowers before she passed. She quickly went to buy a bouquet of pink flowers to have at her bedside. The family was moved to tears by such a touching act of kindness for a dying patient."
(Mary) Brenn Hagarty, recently named clinical supervisor for oncology at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, received the October 2020 DAISY Leader Award for her work in the transitional care unit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nomination from a co-worker reads, in part, “Brenn has been float charge for our entire unit and has been an absolute Rockstar. When faced with all of the chaos and changing information, Brenn keeps the greatest attitude. She is calm, jokes with staff and is always there for whatever you need. She helps move patients, keeps us up to date on the latest information and best of all, she keeps us calm. She is honestly one of the greatest nurses I have ever seen. Her passion, knowledge and temperament are an inspiration to us all. She makes me want to be a better nurse every day.”
Rebecca "Becky" Hoffmann, RN, nurse with Mercy Hospice, is one of the most recent DAISY Award winner, nominated by a patient's family.
The nomination read in part, "In December, my dad signed himself into Hospice. It was that day the angels of Mercy Hospital St. Louis appeared at my front door and stayed with us the entire time. Becky Hoffmann deserves this DAISY award because she showed extraordinary compassion, outstanding skill and genuine kindness not only to my dad but to our entire family. She went above and beyond many times by calling us on her days off, swinging by just to check on us and in the final days, she came by every day. She was on duty the day my dad passed away. Her tenderness with my father and mother were ever so sincere. She is still checking on my mom as she is struggling emotionally. They had been married for almost 68 years. Becky honored that with her care of them both.
Allison Herrmann, a nurse in the medical surgical intensive care unit, is one of the most recent DAISY Award winners, nominated by both a co-worker and a patient's family member.
The co-worker nomination read in part, "The family decided to transition to comfort measures, a very different decision at any time, but especially during these times when family is not allowed to be with/visit their loved ones...Allison assured them that she would not let their dad/grandfather/great-grandfather pass alone. She told them she would stay by his side and keep him as comfortable as possible until he passed. Allison gathered his supplies, donned her PPE and went into the patient’s room...more than an hour later and Allison was still in the room, donned in all her PPE, sitting right next to the patient’s bedside in a chair she had pulled up, holding his hands and speaking words of comfort. In this moment, Allison reminded me of the power of compassionate care and being a nurse – something to inspire us all."
The family nomination read in part, "Allison was his nurse on the day he passed away and there are not enough words to express the compassion and respect that she gave me over the phone, since I could not be with him. More importantly, I have no doubt this is the same compassion and respect that was given to my father. The tone of her voice and the chosen words were very comforting.I was able to live stream with my father and say goodbye as were his grandchildren. In a very difficult time Allison made it a comforting memory."
Emliy Klos, RN, supervisor of Mercy St. Louis's women's health unit, is the most recent DAISY Award winner and was nominated by a co-worker.
The nomination read, in part, "I have floated to WH multiple times in which Emily is in charge and still manages to be present, helpful and thoughtful with her care. On this particular day, she went above and beyond. One of my patients started going downhill and required most of my attention and time for the first few hours of my shift. During this time, Emily stepped up and not only did what she could to help me and this patient, but also managed to help care for my other patients while I was tied up...She is a true leader, and it shows in her actions and demeanor when speaking to both patients and co-workers. Thank you for everything, Emily!"
Kristina Sandler, a nurse on the oncology unit, is the most recent DAISY Award winner. She was nominated by the husband of a recent patient.
The nomination read, in part, "...Kristina went above and beyond by spending time with my wife, really listening to her and getting to know her. She made my wife feel like more than just a patient. They shared stories about life, making the nurse/patient interaction more of a personal human connection rather than an impersonal one involving checking off the boxes for tests, meds, and process compliance...It was a hard time for us but Kristina shared her humanity and affirmed my wife’s dignity while under her care. That was a gift we will cherish. I’m sure she has done so for countless other patients and families and will continue to do so."