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Johns Hopkins Hospital DAISY Award Winners
July 2021, Sarah MacLean
The July 2021 DAISY Award was presented to Sarah MacLean, a nurse on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Sarah was nominated by the mother of a patient, not only for her extraordinary care, but for a seemingly simple act that was incredibly meaningful to the family. Sarah made a craft and wrote a special note for her patient’s older sister, from her new baby sister. “This small gesture that Sarah did made [big sister’s] entire life. She has the picture and note hanging in her bedroom and talks about it every single day.” The nomination letter goes on to say, “She is the most caring and compassionate person I've ever met…. We will forever be grateful for Sarah and the love and care she has shown to not only our daughter in the NICU, but us as well.” Thank you, Sarah, for your amazing, compassionate care and the enduring acts of kindness that help so many of your patients and their families. Read Sarah’s full nomination letter here.
June 2021, Eric Renteria
Eric Renteria, our June 2021 DAISY Award winner, is a night shift nurse on Weinberg 4CD, a surgical oncology unit. Eric was nominated by a by a patient and his wife, who were so grateful to be in his care during their nights on the unit. Outlining the details of his exemplary actions, the patient described Eric’s consideration to avoid interruptions when possible, how he educated the patient about new medications in a way he could understand and the relief Eric provided when the patient was suffering from severe pain. “Eric was outstanding… my wife and I knew we were in very capable hands and we both felt so relieved.” Read Eric’s full nomination letter here.
May 2021, Janet Barnes
For our May 2021 DAISY Award, we were honored to celebrate Janet Barnes, a nurse on Meyer 4, a psychiatric in-patient unit. Janet was nominated by one of her long-stay patients, who credits the success of her treatment to Janet’s ability to connect with her so genuinely. In the nomination letter, the patient praises Janet’s empathy, humor and intelligence as well as the sincerity of her words and actions. “I felt most comfortable reaching out to Janet whenever I wanted to feel heard and often left with not only sound advice, but a smile on my face as well.” Thank you, Janet, for all that you did for this patient and all that you do for every patient under your care. Read Janet's full nomination letter here.
April 2021, Latanya Johnson-Strong
Whatever the shift — day or night, weekend or weekday — extraordinary Johns Hopkins nurses are hard at work. Early one Saturday morning, colleagues gathered to surprise Latanya Johnson-Strong with the April 2021 DAISY Award. Latanya, who was finishing an overnight shift in the hospital’s Meyer 6 unit, was celebrated for the compassionate, detailed care she consistently delivers. Her nomination came from a patient who wrote that Latanya’s “maturity and soft presence has been an elixir” and “…she has always embodied a spirit of kindness and responsiveness to my needs, no matter the request.” Similar words and stories were echoed by the team during the celebration, easily sharing how enjoyable shifts are when Latanya is working. Read Latanya's full nomination letter here.
Spring 2021, Donatta Opiew
Early one morning in April, a small group gathered in-person, and others joined by Zoom, for a surprise celebration for our Spring 2021 DAISY Award winner, Donatta Opiew, who was just finishing her overnight shift on the Nelson 6 unit. Donatta was nominated by one of her colleagues for consistently going above and beyond for her patients, connecting with them on a personal level and doing the seemingly "little things" to bring her patients an additional sense of comfort and dignity while under her care. "The amount of strength that Donatta has is unmatched... Her patients, their safety and their comfort are her priority at all times. It's not about getting the job done quickly or fast. She takes her time to ensure she gets the job done right... I aspire to be at least half the nurse she is one day in my near future!" Read Donatta's full nomination letter here.
Winter 2020-21, Hailey Wildasin
Our winter 2020-21 DAISY Award ceremony brought us back to the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, this time to present the DAISY Award to Hailey Wildasin. Hailey was nominated by the family of one of her patients who was under Hailey’s care for two weeks after he suffered a serious accident. The patient’s family lives in another state and, with visitor restrictions in place due to COVID-19, were only able to visit him twice before having to say goodbye. It gave them incredible solace knowing that Hailey was with him during every shift that she worked. Hailey played his favorite music, spoke with him as though he was conscious and got to know him as a person during Zoom calls with the family. “This was more important to us than I can ever describe. Since we were not able to be in the hospital with him, and sitting in a hotel room, the days that Hailey was working gave us additional peace…In this time of COVID and being away from home, Hailey helped us to feel like someone who cared was taking care of our loved one.” The parents of Hailey’s patient were able to attend the ceremony via Zoom, making it all that much more special. Thank you Hailey for your incredible compassion and care. Read Hailey's full nomination letter here.
2020 Team Award, The Nelson 5 Team
The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s first ever DAISY Team Award was presented to the incredible staff of Nelson 5. Nelson 5 was one of the first units at The Johns Hopkins Hospital to care for COVID-19 patients at the beginning of the pandemic, back in March 2020, and continues to do so well in to 2021. Every staff member on this unit has displayed extraordinary strength, dedication and fortitude in their efforts to care for their patients and each other. During a time of great uncertainty, they came together as a team to overcome obstacles, adapt and grow. Here are just a few of the words that were shared during the DAISY Award ceremony to describe this amazing team: “stamina;” “clinical expertise;” “teamwork;” “role models;” “putting the patient first, always.” Congratulations and thank you to every member of the Nelson 5 team!
Autumn 2020, Tam Warczynski
Nurse Practitioner Tam Warczynski was nominated for a DAISY Award by a patient for her years of support, encouragement and knowledgeable care planning throughout his very complicated medical and surgical diagnoses. Feeling hopeless at times, his story acknowledges how Tam's persistence, and determination to see him through, was all the strength he needed to get back to living life to the fullest. “Tam persevered with me – through three major surgeries, with two major complications, nerves that made it impossible to sleep – and she held my hand when my family was not close. Tam is one-of-a-kind. Thank you for all you do, have done, and will do for your patients. You helped me find my life again.” Read Tam's full nomination letter here.
Summer 2020, Rachel Anderson
The nomination for our Summer 2020 DAISY Award winner came from a patient who received an unexpected, life-changing diagnosis. As he lay in his hospital bed after major surgery, feeling defeated and alone, without family around him due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions, he met nurse Rachel Anderson. After talking with the patient and sensing his distress, Rachel shared that she too had been through the same procedure and was able to reassure him that it would in fact get better. “I had waited until she left the room before I broke down and cried. These were healing tears and tears of joy. She had given me hope and inspiration when I felt so alone, broken and in despair. She understood my despair - SHE GOT ME. I will never forget how she made me feel. I will share this story with anyone who will listen, until the day I die.” Read Rachel’s full nomination letter here.
Spring 2020, Stephanie Zero
COVID-19 has led to countless changes around The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and nurses and other staff members have had to quickly adapt in response to the pandemic. Stephanie Zero, a nurse on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and our Spring 2020 DAISY Award winner, did more than just adapt to these changes, she embraced them. Stephanie was nominated by a colleague for her dedication and exemplary leadership as they transitioned this pediatric unit to also care for critically ill adults. She went above and beyond to educate her fellow PICU staff members to care for adult patients and helped to prepare the unit with the necessary resources to serve this population. “I am so thankful that Stephanie stepped up for our unit and I think every single patient that we receive in this new unit will be safer and better cared for directly because of Stephanie Zero.” Read Stephanie’s full nomination letter here.
March 2020, Allison Green
Our March 2020 DAISY Award highlighted the compassion and dedication of one of our outstanding nurses, Allison Green, from the Medical Progressive Care Unit, Nelson 5. Nominated by one of her peers who was moved by her commitment to the patient and their family, Allison chose to stay hours into the next shift to make sure both the patient and family were supported through the patient’s end of life process. Connecting with family and the patient, Allison ensured this devastating situation could be met with kindness and support through the care she provided. “Allison stayed with the patient and family to see it through and provided this patient and family with a dignified death for their loved one”. Read Allison's full nomination letter here.
February 2020, Stefanie Ness
The DAISY Award ceremony for our February winner, Stephanie Ness, was quite a departure from our typical celebration. Instead of presenting the award in a room jam packed with Stefanie’s colleagues and Johns Hopkins leaders there to celebrate this incredible recognition, the awards ceremony was done over video conference. However, the reason wasn’t entirely to do with the COVID-19 crisis – instead it was another reason to celebrate – Stefanie was home on maternity leave!
Stefanie was nominated for the DAISY Award by the mother of a patient who was feeling completely overwhelmed by a scary, unexpected diagnosis for her daughter as well as the vast amount of information, treatment options and medications that she and her family were presented with. “Stefanie touched our lives at the moment we needed it most and helped us more than she knows.” Read Stefanie’s full nomination letter here.
January 2020, Cindy Ryan
Nurse Cindy Ryan’s care for one patient was so extraordinary, it not only inspired the patient’s husband to nominate her for a DAISY Award, it also inspired him want to “become a team member in such a loving hospital.” The heartwarming nomination letter illustrates Cindy’s natural ability to connect with a patient in a way only she could, from the perspective of the patient's spouse. Cindy’s compassionate care helped the patient open up, build trust and, most importantly, heal. “Mrs. Cindy is not just helping her get well and recover, but also helped her to recognize life is worth living and to love doing so.” Read Cindy’s full nomination letter here.
December 2019, Kellie Le
On any given night, pediatric emergency department nurse Kellie Le may care for a number of patients and families in distress. However, on one night in particular, her impact on one new mother made such an impression that it earned her this month’s DAISY Award. The mother and her infant daughter were transferred to The Johns Hopkins Hospital from another facility and it was Kellie’s compassionate, calming nature and open communication that made this mother finally feel at ease, noting that Kellie not only took expert care of her baby, but didn’t forget that families often need caring too. “Her heart is so pure and you absolutely, without a doubt, know her passion is for nursing and children. She checked in on us, and me, frequently. She not only explained everything she was doing but offered that I come and watch so that I felt comfortable with everything that was going on.” Read Kellie’s full nomination letter here.
November 2019, Yesenia Eisenhardt
After a long, and mentally and physically challenging shift, Yesenia stayed well beyond her scheduled hours to console and reassure a patient during a devastating time. Yesenia was nominated by another nurse on her unit who witnessed this act of grace and compassion and was inspired by what she saw in this seemingly simple, yet profound gesture. “I don’t know whether she thought twice about it in the moment, but Yesenia found enough in herself left to be a new stranger’s emotional anchor for a few more hours—and she gave it. Walking by her that evening and realizing what she was doing, and the emotional and mental fortitude it must have taken to do, it made me want to try harder.” Read Yesenia’s full nomination letter here.
October 2019, Lisa Riendeau
Our October 2019 DAISY Award recognized an outstanding nurse from the Epilepsy Monitor Unit, Zayed 12 East, Lisa Riendeau. Lisa was nominated by the wife of a patient who described her as being “a truly caring and dedicated nurse” and going above and beyond to be “an advocate for my husband.” Not only were all of Lisa’s colleagues and several members of the hospital’s leadership team there to surprise her with the award, the patient and his wife were able to attend as well, which made the celebration that much more meaningful. Read Lisa’s full nomination letter here.
September 2019, Kate Whitney
Being in the hospital can be a scary, stressful experience for any patient, but even more so for a high-risk patient who doesn’t speak English and is here alone. That was the situation for one of Kate Whitney’s patients in the labor and delivery unit. The patient, who only spoke Spanish, was lucky enough to have Kate, a fluent Spanish speaker, as her nurse. Not only was Kate able to communicate with the patient, over the length of her stay at The Johns Hopkins Hospital they formed a special bond. “Kate went above and beyond to support this patient, including staying late, washing her hair and was even considering interrupting her vacation to come in for the patient’s procedure.” Read Kate’s full nomination letter here.
August 2019, Sue Chun
The August DAISY Award brought us to Meyer 4, the Adult Inpatient Psychiatry unit, to celebrate this month’s winner, Sue Chun. Sue was nominated by a patient who was beyond grateful for her patience, empathy, and compassion during a very difficult time. In her candid and touching nomination letter, the patient wrote, “Sue, I am thanking you for being there for me. I thank you for helping me challenge my thoughts, look out for my well-being, and push me to be honest even when I feel like I cannot. I thank you on behalf of all the patients who you have helped and for the future patients who have the chance to have you as their nurse.” Read Sue’s full nomination letter here.
July 2019, Erika Faass
She only began working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in April, but in just three short months Erika Faass, a nurse in the child and adolescent psychiatry unit at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, has made a lasting impact on her patients. In the letter nominating Erika for a DAISY Award, a former patients writes about how Erika listened to her, supported her, and was calming and comforting presence during a very difficult time. “That was such a meaningful experience to me because she made me realize that it was okay to feel what I was feeling… the compassion and patience that Ms. Erika has shown me, repeatedly, has made all the difference in my recovery. She has given me hope.” Read Erika's full nomination here.
June 2019, Willard Will
It’s not every day that you read a DAISY Award nomination letter describing the incredible care and compassion a nurse provided for a patient outside of the hospital or clinic setting. However, in the case of June 2019 DAISY winner Willard Will, a nurse on the general medicine unit Meyer 9, that was just the case. Willard was nominated by a patient for providing both excellent care while they were in the hospital, and for going far above and beyond – quite a long distance in fact – to see that the patient had everything he needed back at home. Read Willard’s full nomination story here.
May 2019, Amy Stewart
Amy Stewart, a nurse in the Cardiovascular Surgical Intensive Care Unit, was nominated for a DAISY Award by not one but three nursing colleagues for her extraordinary efforts to help patient’s wish come true – to see her daughter get married. Amy coordinated with medical and facilities staff at The Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as the patient and her family to host a wedding on hospital grounds. From getting the courtyard where the ceremony and reception were to be held power washed to helping the mother-of-the-bride get dresses and do her hair and makeup for the ceremony, Amy ensured that no detail was overlooked. “Amy's greatest gift was allowing the patient, for a brief time, to simply be the mother of the bride for her daughter's wedding.” Read one of Amy’s nomination letters.
April 2019, Trent Cunningham
It may have been unusual to see so many Johns Hopkins Hospital executive leaders gathered in a tiny breakroom in the Weinberg building on a Saturday afternoon, but they were there for a very good reason – to surprise Trent Cunningham with a DAISY Award. Also in attendance was the family of the patient Trent had cared for. The patient’s daughter, speaking on behalf of the entire family, had submitted the nomination, recognizing Trent for the kind, compassionate care he provided to their father. “What was ultimately so remarkable and special about Nurse Cunningham, was the very tender humanity and the selfless dignity in his care for Dad.” Read Trent’s full nomination story.
March 2019, Nan Ding
Nan Ding got a big surprise when he walked into the team room on his unit, Zayed 11 West, the urology/thoracic unit, on March 28. The small room was packed with Nan’s colleagues, mentors, members of the Johns Hopkins Hospital leadership team, and the patient and his family who had nominated Nan for a DAISY Award. In his winning DAISY Award nomination letter, the patient wrote that Nan “went above and beyond in his duty of care and compassion. He patiently explained and helped our family (three generations of us) understand how and why the care was needed and how to administer feeding tube medication at home.” Read Nan’s full nomination story.
February 2019, Grace Babia
On March 1, 2019, Grace Babia, a nurse in the Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric operating room, was presented with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. Grace was nominated by her nurse manager for truly going above and beyond to support a patient and his family who came to Johns Hopkins from the Philippines for a rare, life-changing surgery. Grace took the family under her wing during their two-month-long stay at Johns Hopkins and later in recovery at the Children’s House, providing them not just with companionship and expert nursing care, but also with many of the comforts of home, including food from their culture and clothes to keep them warm during the winter months here in Baltimore. Read Grace’s full nomination story.
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