DAISY Award Winners

UC San Diego Health's most recent DAISY Award Winners for 2017/2018:

Rina Garces RN, NICU

Our identical twin boys were born via c-section at 30 weeks with TAPS and twin B being an IUGR baby. We were admitted to the hospital with the hopes of squeaking out three more weeks in the pregnancy. We were lucky to make one week up in labor and delivery. Though we knew a c-section was imminent to be told, “You’ll deliver the day after tomorrow,” brought with it excitement, nervousness, and a myriad of other emotions. On the day of delivery two other sets of twins were born via c-section and these, combined with other emergency procedures, pushed back my surgery time. In pain from the magnesium drip, exhausted both physically and emotionally, and now worried about the delivery as more and more time passed my husband and I were less than composed. The delivery went relatively smoothly, with the boys being stabilized quickly then whisked down to the NICU. Unbeknownst to me, a nurse named Rina Garces had been assigned to them for their first moments of life in the delivery room and would truly become their guardian angel, and ours, as we traveled along our journey in the NICU.

I don’t remember much immediately following the C-section. I saw my boys held up when they were first born and then seconds later they were gone. Somewhere around an hour and a half later I was wheeled down to the NICU to see my babies. Our boys were split up in the acute area of the NICU, one in a corner room and the other in a room just off of the nurses station. I don’t know that you’ve ever seen a recovery bed try to fit into one of the corner rooms but it is no easy feat. There was a lot of hustle and bustle and many blurred, masked faces of all the nurses working on our boys. I remember not wanting to impose or interfere with all that needed to be done for them but also so desperately wanting to see and meet my boys. Rina was, and is, the only face I remember from that evening. She was so gentle and composed and insisted that getting me close enough to their isolette was not going to impede their care or inconvenience anyone. It was important our boys knew we were there, she told us, and I think she saw how equally important it was for us.

Fast forward three months later and Rina had become a part of our family. She never once balked at all the questions we had and always encouraged us to ask more. Procedures were never just performed, everything came with an explanation and an understanding. My husband and I were swimming with all the details in the beginning but Rina would always reiterate what each button meant, what each alarm signified, or patiently discuss each teaching point she had for us. She did this in such a simple conversational way that it wasn’t until we looked back on our time there that we saw how she had been teaching us without overwhelming us. She instructed and empowered us as parents to begin cares as soon as we were comfortable, and while I’m sure we were initially less than stellar, she never made us feel inadequate about what we didn’t yet know or hadn’t yet mastered. Procedures in the NICU can be daunting from a parent perspective, particularly when you’re told its best for you not to be there. Both our sons required PICC lines and it was a scary thing for us to hear what would have to happen. Rina reassured us in many different ways and set our minds at ease as we walked out the doors and left our boys in the hands of all the nurses and doctors. Through all the PICC lines, blood transfusions, and IVs their guardian angel always managed to be there in one capacity or another-either performing the procedure, assisting, or checking in on our sons and giving us piece of mind.

Rina consistently focused on helping our boys meet their goals by pushing them to become better bottle feeders. Where we, or other nurses, wavered in their ability to add an ounce, Rina saw they were ready to be pushed forward and was known for getting both boys to take a bottle when no one else could. Our one son, Bennett, was a particularly fussy eater. She always seemed to know when he needed to be pushed or when it was time to let him rest and always made sure to go out of her way to be present for bottle feeds to ensure he was becoming a better eater.

To say that Rina has significantly made a difference in our lives would be an understatement. To this day we stay in touch and she is fondly referred to as the boys’ Auntie. Whenever we talk about our time in the NICU Rina is a big part of the conversation. As an active member of many parent NICU groups on social media I always draw from experiences with Rina-advocating for primary nurses, the level of care, the heart, and the professionalism that a nurse should exemplify. There was a particularly rough patch where our one twins, Avett, was home and our other twin, Bennett, was still in the NICU and struggling. We were always told that being present for your baby, letting them know you’re there, helps them heal and become stronger. So as a mother, to physically have your children separated and unable to be present for both who need you both so desperately is heart-wrenching. As I sat at home trying to be present for Avett, my heart torn in half, I turned on the Angel Eye camera to check on Bennett. I will never forget seeing the camera turned so that I could see Rina there, holding Bennett to calm him and give him the love and presence I couldn’t at that moment. That had a profound impact on my heart and as a mother who has wept for, fought for, and felt torn for leaving her children, it was a kindness I will never be able to repay, nor forget.

Rina was always personally invested in the boys’ well-being and development. Even if she was assigned elsewhere she made it a point to check in and see how they were doing. Rina is one of the hardest working nurses on your NICU floor. She was always willing to be on call and pick up a shift when the unit was short staffed. There was a period where one of our sons was coming off a particularly challenging few days where he happened to have non-primary nurses assigned to him. We walked in to find Rina on shift and the sigh of relief between my husband and I was palpable. She got him back to where he needed to be and through the last stretch to get him home to us.

If it hasn’t been properly conveyed yet allow me to plainly state that Rina goes above and beyond in every capacity. She never once hesitated to be an advocate for us with the doctors and ensured we always had our questions answered whether by the attending or a specialist. During a particularly scary period where one of our sons experienced a cluster of brady/desats Rina remained calm, yet recognized that this was not the typical events we were used to. She reached out to the doctors and following exams and x-rays my son was immediately put back on oxygen. Without her quick actions and calm demeanor we surely would’ve had a very different outcome.

Rina wears many hats on the NICU floor and does so effortlessly. Toward the end of the boys stay and much to our surprise, Rina informed us that she had just recently transferred to the day shift which meant not only a new/drastic sleep schedule but the addition of doctors rounds, specialist visits, volunteers and visitors. To us it seemed as if she’d been a day nurse her entire life. She seamlessly integrated herself into the routines of the day shift and had already developed strong working relationships with her colleagues in such a short amount of time.

Throughout our stay in the NICU Rina shared her own life stories with us, including those of her own twins. Having a professional, let alone a fellow twin mom, who could relate and offer hope set our hearts and minds at ease during some of the most trying times. Rina never faltered in her belief of how strong our children were and continued to encourage and comfort us while reminding us of all the progress they’d made and how strong they were. She always exhibited a genuine sense of caring and listened with not only her ears, but her heart, too. Undoubtedly our boys’ stay would have been much longer without her care and we are forever grateful for her watchful eye, caring heart, and unwavering dedication to her patients. 

Jeanelle Vollmer RN, Jacobs 4 FGH

I had 2 surgeries within one month. The second surgery was a gall bladder removal with complications landing me in rom 416 of Jacobs GPOD.  Jeanelle was one of my nurses. I was going through a very rough time recovering.  The medicines through IV and no food or drink for over a week left me in a state of anxiety and I was very short tempered.  Jeanelle seemed to take it all in stride and went above and beyond to help me through the anxiety and helped me understand why I w3as feeling this way.  She did all the right things from getting me to walk, changing me and bedding after severe night sweats.  Simple things like suggesting a fan for the room and sharing gum and following up on my questions made a huge difference especially considering the state I was in.  She patiently went through my meds and eventually made sure my wife understood how to give me shots.  I'm sure she always provides excellent care.  I feel what made the differences is that she provided excellent care even when I was difficult. I was so overcome with anxiety and I thought I was going to lose my mind. she helped me through that dark time and I am forever grateful.

Cynthia Favor RN, Jacobs 3 GH ICU

Cynthia is a full time charge nurse, but you may not know this if you walk on the unit. Cynthia goes above and beyond every day.  She not only educates nurses (new and old) on challenging questions but is frequently found at the bedside walking nurses through how to perform a tricky skill, all while bringing sunshine and her contagious laugh to the patient's room.  Cynthia is the nurse that makes you instantly feel better when you find out she is working your shift.  Her connections with people is a true testament of pure compassion, still generous after years of nursing.  I think everyone on our unit will agree with me that I have never heard Cynthia complain.  Instead, she finds opportunities to make patients smile, ease family member's fears, and pick up another nurse who is having a rough day.  She offers help without hesitation, states knowledge without any ego and arranges potlucks for our Fellows who are spending their birthday working our night shift.  her Presence brings calmness because you know as hard as the shift may get, she will go into your patients room and somehow make them feel better while keeping all of her peers laughing throughout the shift.  She is an inspiration to her peers and an asset to our organization.  Any good thing I say about her is not enough. Please award her this deserved recognition.


Michael Hamner RN, Jacobs 4FGH

The nurse that I would like to nominate is Michael. I was hospitalized on May 8 and I was on the 4th floor of the Jacobs Medical Center.  Michael went above and beyond to make me comfortable during my hospital stay.  She was so friendly and always had a smile on her face. She helped me manage my pain so I was never uncomfortable, and even though I was hospitalized a the time of the three day strike and I am sure it was a tough time for the hospital. She aided to me so quickly when I needed her.  Whether it be for medicine or ice water or anything, she truly took care of me, in ways that I will never be able to say Thank you enough for.  She helped make sure I had warm food after I had surgery and had been fasting all day ( I was starving), she ran my shower for my while she taped up my IV to make sure the water was already heated when I got in.  And because the supply room was closed due to the strike she went to a completely different floor of the hospital so that I could have the sitz bath that has really helped with my recovery.  On top of all these things , when my mom and me were about to leave the hospital after I was discharged Michael brought me some juice, string cheese, crackers and a pillow for my ride home.  I travel nearly three hours from my home to be treated at UCSD and she made sure that I was comfortable even on my ride home.  Michael was wonderful and I was so grateful to have her as a nurse!

Ashley Hennemuth RN, Neuro ICU 3F

It is hard to choose one RN who cared for me during my two week stay in the Neuro ICU on 3F because I had so many caring, wonderful nurses who went above and beyond. So I want to highlight Ashley who made a point of trying to keep my spirits up and doing anything extra to make me and my husband feel special.  Ashely decided I would feel better if I could have my hair washed off all the blood that was stuck in it from my fall on my garage floor two days after I had an aneurysm repair of my brain by Dr. Jefferey Pannell.  I ended up having a subarachnoid hemorrhage and was flown to Scripps and then sent to UCSD Jacobs. Ashley could tell I was a poor patient when it came to lying down and asking for help. So she tried to keep me interested in anything to keep me from begging to go home. She kept explaining everything that was going on.  As a Nurse myself for 40 years it is so hard to be a patient and really hard to lie in bed for 14 days. But having Ashley in the ICU made my stay much more tolerable. Thank you for your compassion.

Cherie Bautista RN, Moores Cancer Center Infusion

A nurse who has been very important to my chemo and IVIG treatments in the Infusion Center is Cherie Bautista.  She has been invaluable for my treatments, especially with the chemotherapy  When initially diagnosed, I leaned heavily on her not only for her technical skills but, as important, the more human ones.

She took the extra time to prepare me for the process and the expected potential side effects.  She provided milestones and small personal tips on how to cope with both physical and psychological hurdles along the way.  Even when not assigned to me, she would stop by to check on my treatment progress.  It is comforting to know that you are being treated by a professional who is also a friend.

Hannah Saarinen RN, 8 west

My brother was a patient on 8 west at Hillcrest mid February to March 2018 when he was discharged to a rehab center.  He was going through a difficult time adjusting to being bed bound and not allowed to smoke (his lifelong habit).  Hannah quickly found a solution which made a very significant difference. She found on channel 56 on the TV monitor the station that plays soothing music and images.  this station played all day and throughout the night giving him a references for being calm and relaxed.  It helped tremendously.  Hannah was a remarkable nurse.  She was unflappable in her caring and professional approach.  She looked for solutions to help him be more comfortable and implemented them without fanfare-just quietly in a straight forward manner. Hannah is attentive, professional, steady and consistent. She provided a huge measure of reassurance during difficult times. We didn't know then that he was in fact nearing his final days.  In fact he passed away March 14.  Hannah made an important contribution to setting the tone for his passing, one we were able to maintain in his transition to the nursing home.  He passed with no distress and in comfort with his environment.  Hannah helped that all in motion with all she did and wouldn't know how important what she did was without this opportunity to acknowledge her. I am deeply grateful as is our entire family. 

Kim Rappolt RN, Oncology


Kim's warmth are rays of sunshine for my family when we are going through dark times.  She always hugs my mother when she sees her and is so positive and encouraging that my mom always leaves feelings she is capable of fighting this devastating disease.  She always leaves my mother with a big smile on her face. Meanwhile behind the scenes she is doing everything she can to make our lives easier with treatment by arranging multiple visits in one day, by making sure our medication gets sent to our house so one less thing for us to worry about. She always makes sure our appointments are arranged before we leave. We always leave with a smile.


From the very first moment I met Kim, her compassion and empathy was a part in the scary storm I was in the middle of!  She is always such a great cheerleader when I need it,  She can also give me a wake up call when I need it.  You can always know that she is rooting mightily for my success throughout this journey.  One of the pieces of advice is to "go to the water" whenever I can and it is amazing how calming and therapeutic that can be.  Her whole attitude is about being there for her patients and she is putting everything into making my life better.  She is always keeping track of all of my symptoms and has really good advice on everything.  Kim always makes me feel like you are the only patient she has and makes me feel like a VIP.  This journey has been made so much smoother with Kim as my nurse.

Kaleigh Dodson RN, Post Partum

Kaleigh was our first day shift nurse in the postpartum unit and we were lucky enough to have her two days in a row.  She stood out from the start.  She was patient, compassionate, flexible and a huge advocate for me and my baby.  Kaleigh became a part of our family as we endured an awful roller-coaster of potential health scares.  Our baby was diagnosed with a port wine stain birthmark. We were given news that our baby could potentially have development delays, seizure disorder, vision problems or brain damage involvement and Kaleigh was our rock from the beginning.  She advocated for us and our baby, kept us informed, wiped our tears and held our hands. Without her we wouldn't have remained as strong.  We were one of the lucky families who received amazing news as all of our baby's test came back normal.  We were so happy to be going home as a family and we will be forever grateful to our nurse, Kaleigh, for going above and beyond!

Previous Winners:

Linda Collazo RN, Moores Infusion Center

I would like to recognize Linda Collazo, Moores Cancer Center Infusion Center, who has made a significant difference in my patient care.

I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in October.  Any diagnosis of cancer is a shock to not only yourself, but to your family members as well.  Shortly after my diagnosis, I was referred for chemotherapy treatment.  Of course, I was anxious, and a bit nervous as anyone would be, not knowing how I would tolerate the treatment.

My first appointment in the Infusion Center, I was assigned to Nurse Linda Collazo.  She immediately put me and my family at ease.  She took her time to explain everything that would happen to me at the appointment, what I could expect during the treatment, and after the treatment, etc.  She has such a gentle and genuine caring way about her, I knew I was in good hands.

Every three weeks, I go to the Infusion Center for my treatment,  I always ask for Linda if she is available.  She never treats me like just another patient, or a number.  She honestly cares about how I am feeling, asks me if I am having any problems/issues (and seeks the advice of other professionals if I am having any issues).  She reviews my labs with me, will make recommendations if needed, and most of all-she always has a smile.  She doesn't feel sorry for me, but concentrates on making my treatment as pleasant as possible.

I know when I see her after I have had a CT scan and I give her the good news that my chemotherapy treatments are working-she is just as happy as my family and I are.  She honestly has a kind heart and cares!

Linda is such a wonderful asset to UCSD and the Infusion Center patients.  The service she provides is remarkable.  My family and I are so thankful she is my nurse.  Any patient is lucky to come across just one "Linda Collazo" in their lifetime.


Wendy Hall RN, Thornton 3 East

I was a post surgery patient for the period of October 22-28 on 3 East.  I would like to make a few comments about Wendy Hall.

I have been in 5 different hospitals in my lifetime for medical issues and surgeries.  I have been well taken care of by the staff in each facility.  However, the quality of care associated with the work of Wendy Hall after this latest difficult surgery was truly exceptional.  Wendy was exceptional because:

-Her attentiveness to my needs. I felt like I had a private nurse because her follow up and follow through was outstanding.  She was always there to help.

-Wendy had great listening skills.  With each visit she probed me about how I was doing.  She then would speak to me about better ways to improve my comfort and she did this each time she came into my room.  She took nothing for granted.

-Wendy was very gentle with her requests of me and letting me know what to expect.  Her gentleness did a lot to eliminate any fears I might have when she had to work with me.

-Wendy was very efficient in following doctor's orders and she would explain to me what had been requested and then work with me to make sure it was done.

-It was very important to my wife and me that my wife stay with me in the hospital.  Wendy was very helpful in setting us up and she was very considerate of my wife's needs as well.  It was almost like she was a concierge for the room and both of us were being helped by Wendy.

-There were no surprises.  Wendy was on top of things and I was kept up to speed with all that was being done and felt very relaxed because of this.

There was one other quality to note about Wendy Hall that I want to comment on.  In my opinion, she emulates an outstanding commitment to what she does each day.  I am not readily able to give a specific situation of this.  The best way to describe it is by example.  I am sure that most people have been in a room and someone has walked in and as the person comes in, their presences fills the room and it is obvious who this person is and what they are about.  Nothing much needs to be said, but the picture is clear.  This is the way it was with Wendy.  As she entered my room, I could feel the kindness, the thoughtfulness, and the interest in me and my welfare.  She did not even have to speak, her intent was clear.  This was not work or a job for her.  She was there because she wanted to be, it was her passion.  I was bot a burden but instead was somebody that she wanted to help, wanted to work with, and wanted to see heal.  And as a patient, knowing that someone really cares and someone is really interested in you makes a big difference.  Wendy was truly exceptional and I am very fortunate that she was there during my recovery.

Thanks to the "DAISY Committee" for allowing me to submit this recommendation for Wendy.  I also think it is a real credit to the UCSD system that they acknowledge and reward excellence in patient care and note that an individual can make a difference.  Thank you for helping me with such an exceptional nurse.


Daisy Santos RN, SBH

(3 nominations)


I would like to nominate Daisy Santos for the DAISY Award.  Daisy has been going beyond her call of duties as a registered nurse.  Not only her do her co-workers admire her hard work and kind caring heart towards our patients but the patients themselves really speak highly of Daisy.  Even with Daisy's hectic work load she has taken the time to give patients showers.  Daisy is organized and multitasks her duties like charting using the computer and at the same time putting on relaxing music for the difficult patients.  The most important one would be what we call "close watch observation".  Daisy makes sure that the patients stay safe by sitting beside them.  She will be at your side acting as a team member with a helping hand.  Daisy also reassures family members of patients with positive updates about their loved ones.  I am one of her team members that can testify how deserving this award would be for Daisy Santos.


I am writing this letter to nominate Daisy Santos for the DAISY Award.  Daisy is one of the unsung heroes of Senior Behavioral Health.  She is hard working nurse who is always willing to help everyone and maintains a positive and motivated disposition that is inspirational.  When at work, her goal is to improve the quality of a patient's life one moment at a time.  She goes beyond extra miles for the patients and her co-workers.


It is my honor that I write this letter of recommendation to nominate Daisy Santos for the DAISY award.  She is an integral part of SBH, adored by the patients and respected by her peers.  Daisy is, what in many of us in medicine would call, "old school" in terms of her work ethic, sense of duty and responsibility, physical stamina and emotional flexibility.  At the same time she does not shy away from new technologies and changes in treatment methods but embraces them enthusiastically as her greatest desire is to help patients physically and emotionally.  Daisy has excellent communication skills and thrives in a fast-paced unit and is an amazing multi-tasker.  Her patients experience her compassion and their needs and safety are always placed first.  Daisy always goes above and beyond.  Patients will mention her name and ask for her care for them.  Daisy will also take the time to assist other nurses in starting IV in patient that is difficult to stick.  In one patient it too her an hour to finally get an IV inserted because if unable to start this patient would be transferred on a medical floor.  The patient was cooperative due to her soothing and caring approach.  She will bathe her patients as well as other patients not assigned to her if needed or if they ask her to assist them.  She will also help mental health workers in bathing challenging patients.  It is not uncommon she and a mental health worker will bathe 6 patients on our shift.  She serves as the ultimate patient advocate.  She is able to establish a level of trust and cooperation from our special patients who are at times difficult to handle.  She offers creative approaches to overcome barriers.  She is very tuned into her patients and takes the time to listen to their concerns and to answer their questions.

It is a joy working with Daisy because I have witnessed her excellent nursing skills and compassionate attitude.  She always displays a genuine happy, upbeat, and positive attitude around patients.  She comes to work with a bright smile and leaves at the end of her shift still with a bright smile even when her day was tough in ensuring her patient's needs were met.  She always thanks the staff for good teamwork.  Finally, Daisy is an extraordinary person and clinician who epitomizes nursing at its best.


Angelica Pascual RN, 6 West

Angelica has the ability to do many things at once like changing my IV medication and changing my bandages. She is very quick, like rapid response quick, and she never has forgotten about my needs especially when dealing with my pain meds.  She is very professional which makes me feel very secure in that I am getting and receiving all the things I need.  Her professionalism is beyond and she has built my confidence in that I know I am receiving the best care. I didn't want her to know when I was scared about my operation, but she knew and on several occasions she came into my room singing and I had remarked to her what a beautiful voice she has. So to calm me down she would sing to me and she even sang a song I knew, by the group Journey.  It's called, "I come to you with open arms" and she sang it so softly and it had relaxed me so well that I found myself falling asleep and at one point I started to sing with her.  She sang to me all the way until they came to get me for the operation.  I knew that was going above and beyond, I am certain that it isn't in her job description and because of this most kind act I will remember it for as long as I live.

Kristen Matteson RN, Nursing Staffing Office

Kristen went above and beyond to help patients' families that were staying at The Bannister Family house.  when a pipe burst in a guest room in the middle of the night at The Bannister Family House two families were forced out of the rooms they were living in while their loved ones where being taken care of in the hospital.  Kristen came to their aid, making sure they were ok and ultimately helping them remove their things from their rooms.  Kristin's kindness didn't stop there!  Realizing there were no rooms available at the Bannister Family House for the displaced families to move into, she escorted them to the Hospital and found empty rooms and beds for them to spend the night in, restoring comfort and peace to their already very stressed lives.  Kristen is a shining example of talking things one step further and thinking out of the box to provide excellent patient and family care.  Her kindness is inspiring!

Sonya Megert RN, 10 ICU

Sonya significantly made a difference in the life of a patient.  She is very patient and family centered.  She frequently goes the extra mile for her patients.  Recently, after having a conversation with a patient's family member, Sonya realized that the patient was really missing his dog and needed to also go outside.  He had been an inpatient for over a month and was feeling down.  Sonya cheered up the patient and his family by taking the patient, ventilator and all, outside.  She then facilitated the visit of his own dog.  The following week Sonya made special efforts to again take the patient outside even though he was not her patient that day.  This is not the first time Sonya has gone out of her way on a busy day to do the "extra" little things that really make a difference.  Just today I saw her walking outside the ICU with a patient and his monitor.  Both were smiling.  This excellence in nursing does not only help the morale of the patient and their family, it promotes the healing process, by decreasing length of stay and increasing patient and family satisfaction.  Clearly, this provides evidence that Sonya goes above and beyond by listening with her heart.

Richard Hemphill RN, CCU

Richard's patient was concerned about his dog being taken care of while he was in the hospital after having a STEMI.  The patient is homeless and his friends called 911 so the patient didn't have time to make sure his dog was taken care of. Richard went to the area where this patient lived after working a 12 hour shift (on Easter) to find this homeless patient's friends.  He went to a rough part of town at night to make sure the dog was ok.  Then Richard called back in to the CCU to have the patient's night shift RN tell him that his dog was being cared for.  Richard went above and beyond his normal RN duties!

Anne Powers NP, Pulmonary Department (2 Time Winner)

Anne is the ultimate patient advocate.  She has been known to feed and walk a patient's Seeing Eye dog while they are in surgery and drive them to the bus stop once they have recovered.  She is always responsive, understanding and is a team player.  The running joke is that one day we will see her planting flowers outside the front entrance.  Her care and compassion knows no boundaries and it is truly a joy working with her each day.

Jeremy Kaiser RN, Thornton ICU

I am writing on behalf of the Pistacchi family to nominate Jeremy Kaiser for the Daisy Award.  Jeremy was my father's nurse for several days during his one-week stay in the ICU this February. While all of the staff that we encountered in the ICU were wonderful, Jeremy stood out amongst the rest not only for the excellence of his clinical care, but for his ability to communicate with both my father and my family members.  We were continually impressed by the way Jeremy seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty in all aspects of his job.  Not only is he very good at what he does, he seems to love it.  His obvious passion for nursing comes through in everything he does.

First and foremost we were impressed by Jeremy's level of competence and by his communication skills.  When my father awoke on his second day in the ICU- intubated, restrained, and obviously very confused about what was going on-Jeremy was the only nurse that was able to calm him down.  From that day forward, whenever Jeremy was on duty I could see my father visibly relax.  This is largely because whenever a problem arose, Jeremy seemed to know exactly what to do to solve the program and get my father comfortable again.  Some of these things were problems my father would mention to other nurses and doctors who would tell him, "Sorry but that's just the way things are.  you will have to live with it". Instead of dismissing my father's concerns, Jeremy would take the extra time to truly listen to what he was saying and then make some sort of adjustment-often something small-that would make a world of difference to my father's comfort or pain levels.

I think it is this ability to listen and to communicate-not in a patronizing way, but in a way that indicates he respects his patients and wants them to be as involved and informed as possible about their own care-that makes Jeremy such an invaluable staff member.  He treats family members and visitors with this same level of kindness, attention and respect.  He seems to have endless patience for answering patient and family questions without seeming rushed or annoyed.  Even better, he often anticipates questions and answers them before anyone thinks to ask them.  He always told us exactly what was going on and why that particular action needed to be taken.  He also always took the time to explain why whatever treatment/care option the doctors had chosen was the best thing to do-especially when the doctors were too rushed to explain things themselves.

Finally, Jeremy was also incredible advocate for my father.  On one occasion, when the surgical fellow came in to do a procedure that was going to be very painful, Jeremy asked if he should give my father some pain medication to help get him through the procedure more comfortably.  The Fellow seemed rushed and said not to bother-that it wouldn't take too long and that he was sure my father would be "uncomfortable but fine". Jeremy then strongly- but respectfully-told the surgeon that he felt it would be best to five my dad the additional pain medication to help him bare the discomfort of what was about to happen.  The surgeon paused, and then agreed with Jeremy's assessment.  My father, who was already in a great deal of pain, was so grateful to Jeremy for intervening on his behalf.

It is these kinds of "extra" efforts (and there are many more stories like this one) in addition to his obvious competence at everything he does that has inspired my family members to nominate Jeremy for this award.

Ian King RN, Burn ICU (2 time winner)

Dear Dr. Potenza and Staff,

I wanted you to know about an experience I had with one of your RN's from the ICU/burn Unit.  I think he is a perfect example of what a nurse is and I imagine that he is one of your most-valued employees.

While kayaking in La Jolla on August 17th of this year, I developed heat exhaustion/stroke.  With my husband far behind me in his kayak I began calling out for help.  According to my husband, many people heard me and began watching me, but only a few came to help.  Your RN was one of those.  Despite the fact that it was his day off and he was enjoying his own kayak tour, he raced to my side.  While the tour operator began to tow me in, your Rn kept me calm, kept me conscious and basically kept me alive.

I myself am an RN, so I know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  My last rational thought occurred shortly after I lost feeling in my contorted, cramped hands-and that thought was "uh-oh, I'm in trouble".  After that, I was not thinking clearly.  I was surrounded by cold ocean water, yet it hadn't occurred to me to splash some on myself-your RN reminded me to do this.  He kept reminding me to take more drinks from my water bottle. He talked to me about my breathing, so I began pursed-lip breathing. He encouraged me to vomit if I had to (only nurses do that!).  Every time I started to lose consciousness I heard his gentle, calms voice bringing me back.  He was my only focus, despite my husband apparently being right behind me!  this RN stayed with me the entire time until the lifeguards reached me.  I am certain that without him, I would not have been conscious by the time the lifeguards reached me and I certainly would not have been returning home the same evening.

I ran into him in the kayak shop almost an hour later, after being released by the paramedics (AMA-nurses and doctors make the worst patients!) and under the watchful eye of my husband.  I wasn't yet 100% so while I did thank him, I didn't do it properly and didn't get his name.  Please do send him the heartfelt thanks of my family and myself. 

He makes me proud to be a nurse.

Sabrina West RN SICU

To Whom It May Concern:

In reference to the DAISY award brochure prompt... Please describe  a situation involving the nurse you are nominating that clearly demonstrates how he/she meets the criteria for the DAISY Award:

This past weekend I was a visitor to your hospital in the SICU for a patient, Kathy Webb, who passed away last night at approximately 8:30pm.  early Sunday morning (July 29 2012) I arrived at the SICU with Kathy's family.  At the early morning conference with the family, the doctor informed the Webb family that a proposed surgery was not possible due to some very serious issues which had arisen.  I was not privy to the specifics as my primary role throughout the day on Sunday was to provide care for the Webb's adult son, Scott, who is autistic.  I had many, many opportunities to observe this nominee for your hospital's DAISY award throughout the day as I cared for Scott.

In your brochure, you ask for the public to nominate an extraordinary nurse for this award...well, Sabrina in SICU should have her picture next to the word "extraordinary" in the dictionary, as she is the definition of "EXTRAordinary".  Also, the prompt you use asks for me to describe a situation where Sabrina meets the DAISY criteria....well, one situation was one hundred situations in reality and in my mind, her practice and presence with the Webb family and friends throughout her shift was the very epitome of the DAISY criteria.  I could go down the list of the criteria in the brochure but please permit me to take a slightly different track.

On one of the walls inside the SICU hangs a poster which displays 3 simple words, "Hands, Mind, Heart".  I believe these words cover the published criteria...

HANDS-Consistently throughout the day I witnessed Sabrina monitor Kathy's vital signs while inputting data into the computer.  She communicated with Mr. Webb routinely, She cared for Kathy's most basic physical needs,  She did her job well and she did it in a respectful, quiet, efficient, caring manner which made her nearly invisible.  This is not to be taken in any sort of negative light.  Having a significant background in athletics as a player and a coach the very best games in which I participated were those games where the competition took place, was highly competitive with a fair result and was refereed/umpired in such a high quality manner that the referees/umpires blended into their environment (and were certainly not the "show" the families came to watch).  when this occurs in an athletic competition it is refreshing and one walks away with the sense that the referees/umpires were of the highest quality.  Sabrina, SICU Nurse, is the hands of UC San Diego Health SICU.

MIND-As Kathy's health deteriorated throughout the day yesterday, one moment in particular stood out in this area.  Mr. Webb (Tom) had asked to speak with the assigned doctor regarding some specific questions he had with regards to Kathy's prognosis. It is important to note the Mr. Webb's day to day work is as a Chaplain at Escondido's Palomar hospital in the Critical Care Unit.  Although not a trained medical professional, he has a deep well of experience and knowledge of identical situations as his family was experiencing.  In a situation where Sabrina could have immediately deferre3d and sought out the doctor and/or become very defensive regarding the care Mrs. Webb was receiving, Sabrina took a significant amount of time (20plus minutes) to carefully listen to Mr. Webb, probe his questions more deeply, and then provide what appeared to this layman as highly educated, well understood explanations.  She used her medical training and knowledge as well as her communication skills to accurately and compassionately answer Mr. Webb's questions.  Because Sabrina did her job so well, she allowed the doctor to continue her work with other patients who needed the doctors attention.  Sabrina, SICU Nurse, is the mind of UC San Diego Health SICU.

HEART-Without this, the hands and the mind are like a clanging cymbal which no one cares to listen to...or which is simply obnoxious.  Many people have incredible skills and are highly gifted intellectually.  Sabrina is most likely near the top of her profession with regard to skills and knowledge.  However, what sets Sabrina apart and places her at the top of her profession is her heart.  Immediately, she connected at a personal level with the family and friends who were with Kathy throughout the day.  She answered questions about Kathy's condition with an obvious care to her words and tone.  She answered the most trivial questions about the location of a nearby Subway sandwich shop with a cheerful demeanor.  She took time to interact with the Webb's autistic son, Scott, and demonstrate that she truly cared for him.  After Kathy was moved from the SICU to the 11th floor, Sabrina went out of her way to ensure Kathy's comfort and the Webb's family adjustment.  As she left to return to the SICU, she paused and spoke with many of us, took the time to say a few words and to communicate her caring heart with a slight touch of the hand or hug.  Simply amazing.  Sabrina, SICU Nurse, is the heart of UC San Diego Health SICU.

Thank you for listening to this short recitation of the value of Sabrina's work.  She is an exceptional nurse and woman. You are fortunate to have her as one of your nurses. I respectfully nominate her for a UC San Diego Medical Center DAISY Award.

With great admiration and appreciation for Sabrina.

Gayle Johnson RN Thornton 2 East

During caring rounds the patient's mother shares how special Gayle is.  She was complimentary about staff but identified Gayle as having a special heart.  Her daughter is a frequent patient and a special needs patient.  Gayle spends the time with her daughter in the mother's absence and shares photos of her animals. The mother expressed the special care that Gayle provides her daughter.

Bobbie Brothers RN Thornton ED

I simply wanted to acknowledge one of our RN staff for doing a superb job in a very stressful and difficult situation on a recent ED shift in La Jolla.  I was on duty with Bobbie Brothers, and we had an elderly patient who was in home hospice, present to the Ed with family for worsening abdominal pains and n/v. within a short time, an ECG was done which demonstrated a large MI.  Clearly, she was not a cath lab candidate, and we attempted to medically manage her.  The family was very distraught, but Bobbie and I (Mostly Bobbie) did our best to calm the patient and her family and review/confirm their resuscitative wishes for their loved one-DNR/DNI.  The family grappled with the decision, but appropriately confirmed that no resuscitate efforts were to be done, and within a short time the patient coded and expired.

The family did not take the outcome very well, and extended family was soon coming to the lobby, asking questions and wanting to pay their respects to the deceased.  I was truly amazed at how calm, warm and sincere Bobbie was in this situation.  She gave a loving embrace to the patient's daughter (at bedside as patient expired) and spent at least 10-15 minutes or more at the bedside to console her and try her best to make the patient's family comfortable with their decision to withhold CPR/ETC as well as to simply "be there" for them and listen to their cries and emotions.

I literally felt there was nothing further for me to do as far as answering questions and saying ;'I am sorry" etc to the family, as Bobbie was simply all over it.  She did a phenomenal job, and despite the poor (but expected) outcome, really made our Department and our Medical Center stand out as a place to receive excellent clinical and EMPATHETIC medical care.  Great job to Bobbie and all the staff that day for a job very well done.

June Childress RN Moores Cancer Center

We have a patient that calls daily, sometimes multiple times during the day.  He is undergoing chemotherapy for stage IV cancer.  June always takes his calls, speaking with him daily, sometimes even 2-3 times a day.  Without her caring telephone calls, I do not think this patient would be able to continue his treatment.  She'll call him at the end of the day before going home even if it is 6pm after a long day of clinic to make sure all of his questions are answered.

Belen Rivera RN Thornton 3 East

Belen Rivera

This is my sixth surgery and although I am confident in the abilities of the doctors this is the first time for me to have surgery at Thornton hospital.  I was pretty anxious the night before my surgery-I was thinking I will die on the operating table and I was having horrible dreams the previous nights.  Belen always comes in with a smile on her face.  She always reminds me to use the call light if I need help with anything.  I didn’t tell the doctors and other nurses I was anxious about the surgery.  Belen made me comfortable enough so I opened up to her about my worries about the surgery the next day without hesitation.  She listened to me and held my hands.  I know she was busy with other patients to take care of but she made me feel like I was the only patient she had.  She does her evening care and always tidy’s the room making sure I have the call light and remote control.  I sense her sincerity and care when she asked me if she can pray for me. She held my hands and we prayed together.  I was embarrassed because I cried afterwards.  That night I was able to sleep like a baby (even with the crazy 4 hour vital sign check) and I was calm that night and on the day of surgery I wasn’t anxious at all.

Belen came back to tell me she would include me in her prayers.  That gesture really touched me.  It shows the caring side of her.  Unfortunately she is off the next day and I didn’t get to see her before I was discharged from the hospital.

One thing I will always remember after I left the hospital was the caring gestures of Belen.  This is something at stands out from the rest of the hospital experience I had.

Cristen Krause RN 11PCU

The first night Christen was introduced to me as my nurse I felt like I knew her as a friend for years. She has a very easy personality to like. Friendly but confident in her profession. She asked me what I needed that night that would make me feel more at home, I told her that I had not had a soda for months; she said that she would see what she could do. An hour later she came in the room and said "guess what, I found a Pepsi in the break room" and would I like it on ice. It might sound trivial to you, but to me it made my night! I shared some Reese's cups with her as we talked about our favorite late night TV show, it was the same "Adult Swim"!

She was very informative about all the procedures and meds she was administering. I looked forward to having her as my nurse every night!

One of the things about this period in time, I was dealing with the choice of keeping my right leg or having it amputated and Christen knew that I was going through this tough time. Christen did all she could to keep me happy and keep my mind from getting too depressed. But when I had questions she was always there with wise answers about amputation. After the surgery she was very helpful in keeping me comfortable! She is a great nurse!

Arvin Wico RN Thornton 3 East

Arvin was my nurse the first day after my hip replacement and again on the day I was released.  He went above and beyond both professionally and personally.  He helped establish the correct medication for me, taught me how to give a shot, never lost patience with me, and explained things to me in an educational, yet medical manner.  He personifies what a valuable, outstanding nurse is!  I hope his outstanding nursing will be noticed.

Tim Hebert RN Senior Behavioral Health

During the few times I had the pleasure of working with Tim, I personally observed his genuine compassion towards the patients under his care as demonstrated by the following instances:

-On the evening of 12/28/11, patient Judy was becoming very restless while participating in the milieu.  Registry staff just kept on redirecting the patient, coaxing her to sit down.  Patient is pleasant and cooperative but has expressive aphasia.  She would smile and have herself redirected back to her seat only to get up again moments later.  She managed to approach the nursing station all the while smiling.  Tim understood immediately what the patient needed and personally attended to her.  He helped her to her room so she could use the bathroom and with the help of another female staff proceeded to assist the patient to get ready for bed.  Tim's understanding of and compassion for patients who cannot express their needs and wants is beyond reproach.  He afterward, gave registry staff some pointers in caring for SBH unit populations.

-Another instance involved patient Lennie who was inconsolably tearful because of what just happened during his family visit.  Somehow the patient perceived that his wife has plans of divorcing him and is very downtrodden.  Tim stayed with the patient in his room just listening to the patient's venting.  Patient commented the next day that that is all he needed-for somebody to listen, because he at present is unable to accept what is going on with him.  Patient is very appreciative of Tim's actions and even feel for him for what must have been an "ordeal" to sit through.

Susan Hartnett RN 10 East Telemetry

Susan Hartnett, RN

I would like to nominate Susan Hartnett RN from 10 East for the Daisy award. She consistently demonstrates all of the qualities of a compassionate and caring nurse including: educating patients and their families, making patient needs her first priority-above her own needs, willingly taking on assignments that other nurses shy away from because of difficulty and/or neediness, and taking time to sit in patient rooms and talk with them about their care, fears, anxieties while helping to promote a positive and realistic focus on the future. Susan is also trained in healing touch and takes the time during her shifts to not only do healing touch on her patients, but on other identified patients as well. She is able to facilitate positive relationships with even the most difficult of patients because she recognizes their behavior as a response to their illness and hospitalization and takes the time to get at the heart of the patient's issues.

We recently had a patient on our unit that had been hospitalized for several months; she was extremely ill with multiple comorbidities that impeded her healing. The patient's husband was very accusatory, angry about his wife's situation and previous care and was constantly approaching our staff with negativity. The patient's acuity was extremely high and she required constant care and supervision.

Susan was able to establish a positive relationship with the husband and the patient, to the point that the husband only felt comfortable having the patient cared for on our unit and due to the trust Susan and the family had developed, she took care of this patient on every shift that she worked for the four months the patient was admitted to the unit. Susan was able to get the husband to focus on what was best for his wife and what her needs were instead of focusing on his frustration with past care. Susan identified subtle changes in the patient's condition: her mental status, urine output and color, slight blood pressure decreases and facilitated an RRT that resulted in identifying a brewing UTI, subsequently getting the patient on antibiotics. Susan was very proactive during the patient's hospitalization in communicating with attending physicians about patient issues, concerns and discharge goals. While Susan cared for this patient, the demeanor of the husband was entirely different; the accusations and anger subsided and he smiled more often, participated in his wife's care and communicated positively.

Lastly, I would just like to mention the impression that Susan left with this family. Susan's father was diagnosed with a brain tumor while she was caring for the patient; she had to take a couple of weeks off because of his rapidly declining health and eventual passing. When the patient's husband learned of Susan's loss, he was very saddened and inquired about the funeral. He had a large arrangement of flowers sent to the church to express his condolences.

Melanie Nelson RN Med Surg Ortho Neuro Trauma

Melanie Nelson, RN

I would like to nominate Melanie Nelson from the 8th floor unit as a deserving recipient of the DAISY Award.

Mel has been in the 8th floor for more than a year now and already made a difference in the lives of the patients she took care of. She always has the positive energy and the enthusiasm to work with a smile on her face that eases her out her patients' suffering. She handles difficult patients well and intently listens to their worries and tries to find solutions for them even if she needs to go extra mile.

We have one patient on the floor that kept coming back for failure to thrive, she also has multiple sclerosis and other co-morbidities, and patient lives alone. Melanie was able to establish connection with her while in the hospital. The patient is stuck in bed with no friends and her life slowly slipping away from her. Mel was able to provide her "small needs" that made a lot of difference; an ear to listen, an ice cream, a bar of chocolate, a trip outside the store and someone whom she can call a friend. When the patient got discharged, Mel visits her and even brings her to some of her doctor's appointment.

This is just an example of how she touched the lives of the patients; she always gets compliments from them saying how wonderful their experiences were while they were on this unit. Most of the patients request her to be the nurse when they come back for another surgery.

I happen to ask Mel what inspired her to do this amazing job in making her patients happy and satisfied and she provided me a brief background about herself. She grew up with nurses all around, her aunts and uncles and even her husband belong to a family of RN's. What influenced her mostly was going with her mom and aunt when they worked home health. As a kid, she would go with them on their home visits and help perform ADL's. She had an aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer and she vividly recalled that their dining room turned into a hospital room and helped her mom took care of her while she received chemo and radiation. Her aunt was placed in a nursing home until she eventually was put in a hospice care. Mel remembered all the small things she couldn't do for herself and how the staff wasn't always around to help her. She took that into consideration now while taking care of her patients. It's the small things that really count.

Mel states that she only does what any caring person would do as she believes in the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Anne Stuard RN 5 West PCU

I would like to nominate Anne Stuard from 5 West PCU. Perhaps the most appropriate way to describe the caring attributes of Anne Stuard is to hear the story from a patient's mother perspective. "My son has been in the hospital for over a month. I have witnessed the great care of many nurses throughout the hospital. However, Anne epitomizes a nurse. My son has difficulty communicating due to his injuries but Anne has made a connection with him that he doesn't have with anyone else. I've noticed that when Ann is his nurse he is more relaxed and his heart rate is lower. I sense that he is comforted that she is there to care for him even though he cannot speak. She touches his arm when she speaks to him. Her voice is always soothing. She caresses his head letting him know she is near. The room he is in is a busy room where everyone has a monitor, lights, and buzzers going off. Yet she finds the time to provide this same caring nature to all of her patients in this room. I (we) are very fortunate to have Ann caring for our son during this difficult time. It makes my day when I see that Anne is my son's nurse. I know today is a good day. "

We agree that Anne possess a quality that is innate and not taught. She is frequently mentioned by patients and staff for being an exceptionally caring nurse. She advocates for her patients and was recently acknowledged for bridging the communication gap between a patient and physician. The patient was so taken back by her efforts that she was able to gain this patient's trust in our healthcare system. She is a team player and has quickly gained the respect of her peers on 5west. We feel Anne is very deserving of the Daisy Award. Thank you for your consideration.

Previous 2011 DAISY Award winners:

  • Natasha Norwood RN 3 East Med Surg

Ian King RN Burn ICU

Ian King, RN

 Ian has a presence about him on the unit.  He walks in smiling and ready to start the day.  Sometimes I watch him work with his patients.  His caring nature, attention to the little things and the way he makes his patients laugh inspire me.  Patients have told me that he makes them feel like they are his only patients.  He takes his time to listen, empathize and encourage.  He has a special way about him that families ask to be admitted to our unit because of the care he has given to them.  Patients come back to visit and see him again.  There are hugs and tears, not sad but happy. Ian is truly a nurse who makes a difference in his patient's likes and the people around him.  His infectious laugh cheers up everyone on the unit.  I am honored to nominate him for the DAISY Award.




July Monera RN Burn ICU

July Monera, RN

July is an amazing nurse that takes great meticulous care of her patients, does things other nurses will not even think of doing such as braiding patient’s hair, manicure, thorough baths.  She goes above and beyond in her patients care. Mentally and emotionally involved with her patients and family.  She makes sure her patients are comfortable and clean, treats every patient with dignity and respect.  July mentors new nurses and staff in general.  Always willing to help with a smile. She is a humble person, never seeks for recognition for doing her job.  She is such a great nurse that anyone will ask for her care.





Georgiena Santiago RN Senior Behavioral Health

Gina Santiago, RN

Georgiena Santiago boosts team morale with her positive, respectful attitude, and she receives maximum support from enthusiastic coworkers with her “follow me” leadership. Her compassionate care of patients on the unit is commendable, especially with elderly adults who are unable to speak for themselves due to progressive degenerative disease. Although Georgiena prefers a quiet low profile, she is a star who just shines brightly without even trying.

Gina has been nominated by her coworkers for the DAISY award because of her outstanding patient care and leadership. She is involved in the Frontline Leadership Academy (FLA) and is working on a project to help decrease anxiety in the caregivers for our geriatric patients. Gina has completed her FLA but continues to work on her project and will be applying her knowledge to ward obtaining her CNIII. She was a member of the Magnet Champions Council and now is representing SBH on the Patient and Family Centered Care Committee. Gina was an EPIC super user. She possesses an impressive commitment to work. There were two instances where she altered her vacation plans to meet the needs of the unit and our patients. Gina is a patient advocate especially for our seniors. She volunteers to take high acuity patients. She makes the patient’s comfort a priority and understands that chronic pain is an often unrecognized problem among the elderly especially those with dementia who cannot verbalize their needs. Recognizing the need for nurses to have more knowledge about the geriatric patient, Gina recently completed the Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) training modules. Gina is always willing to share her knowledge with patients, and family members who are very appreciative as she explains medical issues in a way that they can understand. Gina’s extensive psychiatric nursing knowledge, her supportive, fair and respectful attitude makes her an invaluable member of the SBH team.

Eric Santibanez RN Med Surg 3 East

Eric Santibanez, RN

Nomination #1:

Unlike all of the other nurses who were presented with my gastric tube problem, Eric evaluated the root cause of the pain and developed a durable solution. Some of the nurses accepted the pain as inevitable fallout of having a g tube. Others recognized the problem but were unable to develop a solution.  Eric created a very clever way of bandaging it so that the pressure and pain was relieved.  The extra effort and caring attitude that Eric put into this fix as well as how he dealt with the rest of his nursing duties put him a notch above the fine nursing in unit 3E.  Later, other nurses and doctors followed his design.

Nomination #2:

Eric always went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and cared for. He would never turn on too many lights when I was sleeping and would work quietly and always turn off lights and close the door upon leaving.  He is an absolutely sweet and caring Nurse through and through.  He made my stay much more tolerable.  He made sure to get to know me while I was here.

Sharon Delgadillo RN, Moores Cancer Center Infusion

Sharon Delgadillo, RN

While it is amazing to see the heroic stories of the top nurses, often forgotten are those in the trenches who are so dedicated that they give much more to their patients than one would believe is humanly possible, while somehow managing to avoid the limelight. My oncology nurse, Sharon Delgadillo falls into that class.

For almost two years she has been my primary nurse through chemotherapy and a very tough bone marrow transplant. Before I met Sharon, I didn't know that type of genuine caring individual really existed. I believed it to be a myth. Her compassion, concern, knowledge and skills are beyond anything I have ever witnessed. Other nurses and patients come to her daily with questions and concerns. She is always patient, understanding and helpful. Always. I have never heard her complain once, nor have I ever heard anyone talk poorly about her. She is definitely a "go to" nurse, who cares more about her patients and their health than anyone I have ever met. She has given me her cell number in case of questions, rejoices with me when my numbers are good, and is sad when they are bad. She checks in on me when I'm in another part of the clinic, and calls me after my doctor appointments to see if there is anything she can do. After two years, that's not something you fake. It is real. And as a former podiatric surgeon, I am not the easiest patient to deal with.

Sharon doesn't have to do ANY of that. She could draw my blood, give me my medications, and walk away. but she cares. She really cares. Not just about me, but ALL of her patients. She is so much more than other nurses aspire to be. She is the type of PERSON that we would all love to become! Sharon doesn't just take care of me, but makes me want to be a better person. Now THAT is what a top nurse is all about.

Kellie Freeborn NP, Owen Clinic

My beloved brother Michael Svec was a patient at the Owen Clinic. His condition was slowly deteriorating when he moved in with my family during August 2008. As soon as he arrived back in San Diego, he was seen the same week at the clinic. He was assigned to Kellie Freeborn, NP. I would go with Michael to the clinic whenever he felt that he needed some assistance but for the most part he would go himself. He was a very independent man. I cam to know Kellie better as Michael's condition worsened after suffering a stroke in May 2009. The stroke left him with mild neurological deficits. He was HIV+ for 18 plus years and was very compliant with his medication. I would go with Michael each time he met with Kellie at his request. He just adored Kellie and I could see that they had an excellent rapport. She is so professional. Her level of care and concern for Michael was more than my family and I could ever expect. She helped us with EVERYTHING. Whenever anything needed to be done, she was either on the phone calling an individual who could assist us or giving us contact information. She would be so aware of his health status that when we walked into see her, she knew what had already occurred without us even mentioning it. She was in close contact with Michael's team of physicians and this brought a sense of security to us. Besides being a patient of the Owen Clinic, Michael was also under the care of Dr. David Lee, Dr. Ronald Elis and Dr. Niren Angle assisted by his nurse Heidi Smith. The pharmacy also helped Michael extensively in an effort to get all the medications he required with insurance issues. Kellie would initiate all referrals that she felt he required.

One evening Kellie and another physician were doing rounds and stopped by Michael's room on the 11th floor. I could tell by her compassion and mannerism how the whole clinic is run. It was an honor to meet Kellie and I would like to thank you for your tireless research and time in the fight against AIDS/HIV.

It would be a dream if Kellie received some form of appreciation/recognition. Her work ethic is superb. I have been in the health care industry for 38 plus years and have NEVER met a nurse quite like her. There are no words to express our sincere appreciation for her. She is one of God's angels on Earth , doing his work.

We so appreciate the care that Michael received at UC San Diego Health from all the members of the Owen Clinic as well as the hospital staff. We felt Michael was in excellent hands.

In closing, Kellie is like no other-just phenomenal. While Michael was progressively deteriorating I was unable to be by his side 24 hours. I was there at 7:00am each day to be there for rounds but had had to leave for work and then I would come back at 4:00pm with my Mom. Just about every day, Kellie would visit with Michael at her lunchtime to check on him to be sure he was okay. she would leave me a little note documenting her visit. For that, my family and I will be forever grateful.

Thank you for all that you do.

Marti Demeyere RN, CCU


While visiting California my husband became seriously ill. He was admitted to UC San Diego Health on Feb. 7th 2011. He was been in CCU for nearly 6 weeks now. He has had several nurses caring for him during this stay. the care he has received from all of the staff has been exceptional. However there was an act of kindness from on of the nurses that went above and beyond her job description, that nurse is Marti Demeyere. Because my husband was in the CCU and heavily sedated, she knew that he wouldn't be able to buy me flowers for Valentine's Day as he normally does. She took the time on her day off to go to the store to get me a bouquet of flowers. She then called the unit secretary at UC San Diego Health to ask him to call her when I arrived at the hospital. Marti drove from her home which is approximately 45 minutes away to deliver the flowers (again it was her day off). This was not something she had to do, but something she wanted to do. Her gesture will be one of the happy memories I'll take home with me when we leave UC San Diego Health. The stress and anxiety one feels when a loved one is critically ill, is very high, but is increased by being 3000 miles away from home. Her kindness allowed me to forget about all of that for a while.

For going above and beyond, I feel she is truly deserving of the DAISY Award. Thank you.

Erin Burnett, RN, Moores Cancer Center

Erin Burnett, RN

Nomination: Erin meets every criterion listed above. In her position as the nurse case manager for our lung cancer patients, Erin is the primary nurse for patients who often have just a few months to live when they first learn of their diagnosis. Erin's expertise and attention to detail make an enormous difference in the lives of these patients and their families from the first meeting in clinic all the way through the course of their illness and treatment, and continuing through their end-of-life care. Erin is a constant source of support for these families, providing information, ensuring that they are connected with all available resources, helping them to manage the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of treatment. Above and beyond her clinical excellence, Erin forms a special bond with these families that give them the comfort of knowing that we truly care about them. Because these patients often have a very poor prognosis and a relatively short journey to the end-of-life, Erin is often faced with loss and grief. It is not uncommon to have several patients die in one week. But Erin does not let this stop her from being close to the patients and families, and her presence in their lives at the end provides the kind of healing that is beyond the realm of medicine. Erin's caring and compassion truly makes a difference in the lives of our patients.

Christine Brenner, RN, CPTC, LifeSharing

Christine Brenner, RN

Nomination: The usually calm, confident UC San Diego Health psychiatric nurse was in tears. Despite all of her training and experience, she was confronted with something that terrified her. As a kidney/pancreas transplant recipient, she was about to meet the parents of her 17-year old donor. Helping her was beyond my skills as the PR professional who coordinated the meeting. When contacted about the opportunity, she had been thrilled. Until the day actually arrived. While any Lifesharing nurse would have helped me, it was Christine's help I urgently sought. Only moments after talking with Christine, the organ recipient was comforted, supported, and excited again to meet the family whose decision to donate had saved her life. There are many reasons I am nominating Christine for the DAISY Award

Christine came to Lifesharing five years ago as an ICU nurse. She acknowledges she misses direct patient contact, but knows she's helping a number of patients by effectively managing the care of our deceased donors. A single organ donor can save the lives and lifetimes of up to 8 people. Recently a physician introduced Christine to his colleagues as having saved more lives through organ donation than he has as a cardio-thoracic surgeon. He also said Christine was the reason he signed up to be a donor.

She makes a profound difference for the family members of our donors, recipients, volunteers and staff. How? By being exceptionally patient in translating medicalese, answering their questions in several ways, if necessary, by easing concerns, and by anticipating things they may not have thought of yet. She explains things accurately and well without making someone feel dumb. She has a willingness and skill to listen even to words unsaid.

Christine has continued to hone her clinical skills and is an enthusiastic learner. She has now completed the rigorous program as a Certified Procurement Transplant Coordinator. She earned her CNIV through a project that benefited residents in the rural Imperial County.

And in her spare time?? This mother of five coordinates our annual holiday gift program.

So how did Christine make the nurse recipient feel better and prepare her for meeting the parents of her donor? By gently reminding her that she had nothing to do with the young man's death. That he did not die so that she might live. But that the option to give life to others was a silver lining for a family facing heartbreak. (The reunion was incredible and a front page article covering the meeting in the Union/Tribune the next day saved five more lives. It changed the mind of a family who already had said no.)

Christine Brenner. What a calling. What a nurse. I'm glad she found her way to Lifesharing.

Mamerto "Meng" Marques, RN, 11 West Med Surg

Mamerto Marques, RN

Nomination: Anytime a patient expresses their gratitude to nursing for the exceptional care provided, there is a common theme among all of the cards and compliments received. Every patient mentions the compassionate and exceptional care they received from Meng. Although being a male on a predominantly female unit may promote some very gender biased stereotypes related to men and women's expression of compassion, Meng's caring approach to his nursing practice defies all stereotypes. When he comes onto the unit wearing his white coat, he embodies the many positive qualities that define a nurse.

His colleagues appreciate his team support and easy going attitude. He often cares for the most challenging patients and creates a therapeutic relationship with them. He is culturally sensitive and proficient, putting patients at ease who may be experiencing feelings of frustration and/or bewilderment as they adjust to a different culture and language. Meng is familiar with this experience firsthand, as he worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia. He is multi-lingual and is always happy to care for or translate for our Arabic speaking patients.

Before shift report, Meng will sit in the Reflection Room to meditate and focus on the upcoming work at hand. Afterwards, he receives his assignment and researches his patient's medical record, so as to not have any surprises regarding the patient's condition. Because he has a proven "pre-shift de-stressor" routine, he is able to start his shift calmly and happily. Because he isn't pressured or frazzled when he interacts with his patients, they sense his calm and are put at ease.

Meng listens with his heart and relates to patients on a personal level. Because he routinely pays attention to the "simple things", many patients have spoken of the positive impact Meng has had on their lives. One such patient comes to mind. J.T. was a patient on 11 West for 3 months and was confined to a wheelchair. He lived with the belief that he was incapable of ever living independently, which caused much anger and distress to him. His bleak outlook on the future translated into hostility directed at the nursing staff. Every nursing home refused to admit him because of his problematic behavior.

Meng had a unique approach with J.T. If the patient was acting particularly hostile, he would sit and have a cup of coffee with the patient, talking with him as a nurse and as a fellow human being- eye to eye. He made the patient a partner instead of an adversary which created a trusting and workable relationship with the care team. The patient developed positive and effective coping strategies from Meng's example of genuine respect and care.

When a new apartment came available that was able to accommodate J.T.'s wheelchair, Meng, like a composer in an orchestra, helped organize J.T.'s discharge, making sure that he would have the essentials to live independently, such as dishes and silverware. He strongly believed in the patient's ability to care for himself. Because of the faith and confidence that Meng so generously showed the patient, J.T. came to believe in himself and embraced his abilities. He was discharged to his apartment successfully and independently.

Meng might play guitar at his co-worker's retirement party or one may find him re-routing his kitchen plumbing. But one thing is for certain-one will always find Meng with a smile on his face, gratitude in his heart, a kind word on his lips, and compassion in his care. As a healer of hearts and bodies, Meng deserves the honor of receiving the Daisy Award.

Previous DAISY Award Winners from 2010:

Jennifer Ballard, RN BICU


A young man was admitted to the burn center with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 90% of his body except his face. He was 20 years old. His youth and circumstances of his burn made care especially difficult. Throughout his 1 and a half year stay, Jennifer was his advocate. The patient family and staff celebrated his 21st birthday. After too many surgeries and procedures to count, pain management challenges, success, and rehabilitation therapy, the patient was ready for transfer to a rehab facility to focus on activities of daily living. As the day of the transfer grew nearer the patient's anxiety began to manifest itself. Angry outbursts, refusal to eat, weeping and therapy non-compliance challenged all the providers. Jennifer never wavered in his support and caring. On the day of the transfer Jennifer went with the patient. It was her day off but she wanted to ensure a smooth transition. Jennifer organized colleague "road trip" visits to Eric so he wouldn't feel abandoned. The transition was successful. Today the patient is at home, achieving his activity goals and continues to mature in his recovery. This is an example of her commitment to patients and families.

Jennifer is a natural humorist, singer and dancer. To the delight of patients, families and staff her wit and charm is demonstrated through spontaneous arias-classic rock, soft shoe shuffles and photo antics. She can make the most depressed patient laugh out loud.

Jennifer is also committed to universal health through her volunteer projects. She served on medical missions to Belize in 2006, 2007, and 2008. She worked for Project Medi-share in Haiti in May 2010 and is scheduled to return this December. For all these events Jennifer has used her personal time and organizes resources to enrich the lives of those she serves on these volunteer missions.

As a professional nurse with passion for new knowledge and sharing knowledge Jen has 11 presentations at the American Association of Neurosciences and 2 articles. Jennifer is also the primary PI for her IRB project investigating early warning signs of patient distress for the novice practitioner.

Mary Ozaki, RN 11 West Med Surg


The complex needs of the 11W transplant and medical/surgical patient never deters Mary RN from continually providing them with the utmost sensitive and competent nursing care. To Mary, nursing isn't work at all, but it is rather a calling. Her desire to heal both body and mind dictate her nursing practice and keeps her a motivated patient advocate. Her belief that every human being has inherent worth drives Mary to treat her patients as she would her own family. She recalled caring for an African American woman who experienced segregation in the 60s. She looked quizzically at Mary and asked her why she was being so kind, as this patient had experienced so much injustice and cruelty in her own life. She was witness to Mary's genuine acceptance and care, which is abundant in all her interactions. Compliments such as these are not rare for Mary, for she connects with her patients on a deeper level. Mary, motivated by her faith and belief that we are all equal members of a world family and that we all

Mary takes care of her patients, and she takes care of her own. When a fellow co-worker has experienced a major life event, such as the birth of a baby or the unfortunate passing of a loved one, Mary happily gives her vacation time to whoever is in need. Mary doesn't see the need to fuss, for giving to her coworkers is actually a gift for her and is honored to help. When we all "feel better, we heal better." She does good for goodness sake and "does the right thing when no one is looking."

She was the oldest of 9 children and was a natural caregiver, earning the name "Mama" given to her by her younger sister. By simply looking out for others, checking in frequently on her patients, bringing the interdisciplinary team together to coordinate care, and proactively solving problems, she has earned the respect of some very challenging patients. One patient comes to mind. He was extremely angry and verbally abusive to staff. He was at risk for skin breakdown and this concerned Mary. She had a very expensive wheelchair cushion at home that belonged to her father, who had just passed on. Through phone calls and coordination, Mary was able to get that cushion for Jason. She smiled when she recalled how much softer his demeanor had become, obviously moved by the dignity bestowed upon him.

Many patients, who may be experiencing a very difficult time personally, benefit from her kindness and capable hand. She took care of a man who was without a permanent residence, and suffered from skin ulcers on his legs from being persistently incontinent and without proper washing or laundering facilities. Without questioning or delay, Mary took his clothes home with her and washed them so that he could be discharged with clean clothes. When asked what motivated her to do this, she replied, "The question wasn't how could I, but rather, how could I not do it?" She believes that true kindness lay in one's actions. Mary will assemble a team of healthcare professionals and will advocate for their every need, bringing those together to find a common ground. Whether she prays with a patient who is dying, using her mother's rosary from Medjugorie, to simply addressing the patient with dignity, she comforts all who she comes in contact with.

Mary, who asks for so little, is truly deserving of the Daisy award, which would acknowledge all that she stands for. But for nothing else, she embodies the purest form of the definition of "nurse". We have learned so much from Mary and she has raised the bar for nursing standards and professionalism. So many have lost their faith in mankind or the motivation of people and I am honored to be a member of her team and her subtle and gentle reminders of what this work is all about-healing.

Anne Powers, NP Interventional Pulmonology

Nomination #1:

In the 2 years that I've worked with Anne Powers, NP, I have witnessed her consistently going above and beyond in every aspect of her nursing practice. She is the glue that holds the pulmonary team together when they are in the perioperative area. She is an excellent communicator, acting as the liaison between patients, doctors, and nurses as she ensures that patients will have a seamless transition between pre-op, OR, and PACU. She responds promptly, addresses people with respect, listens to their needs, and makes sure that patients are happy and comfortable. Patients recognize these qualities and often comment on the great care that they receive from Anne.

Anne is also an outstanding team player. She completes the pre-op paperwork when the pre-op nurse is busy, she transports patients to and from the OR, and she checks in on her patients in the PACU several times before they are discharged. The day before a transfer patient is expected in the PACU she notifies the charge nurse and gives details about the condition of the patient, ensuring that we will be prepared. There is no job that she is "above" and she is eager to offer assistance whenever needed.

But what sets her apart from other great caregivers is that she treats patients like family. She is connected with her patients on a deep level, knowing their medical and social needs and ensuring that they are met. She knows her patient's family members and includes them in the care of their loved ones whenever possible. She has even been known to drive patients home after their procedure, as some do not have family or friends to take them.

Anne is thorough, detailed, and passionate about what she does which makes an obvious impact on the lives of all her patients and their families. Working with someone like Anne in the perioperative environment is a blessing and she deserves to be recognized for her exceptional contributions to UC San Diego Medical Center.

Nomination #2:

Anne is an outstanding nurse. She always has the patient's needs uppermost in her mind. As a NP she does the routine tasks that are unique to that position but goes far beyond those tasks. With her experience she is a good teacher and role model. She has been known to house visiting patients and visiting medical staff that have nowhere to stay. If any of those need extra transportation she is there to do it. I don't believe she knows the word "no".

Her concern is for the whole patient and the family. All of the necessary information is passed on to the others that work with her. She is quick to see a possible patient problem and acts on it quickly.

Anne is not only a Nurse Practitioner but in my opinion a Really Great Nurse. All these "above and beyond" actions she does without any special recognition except from those of us who work with her.

She also does much community service such as aiding orphanages in Baja California and volunteering to work in charity events. Anne is not afraid of getting her hands dirty.

DAISY Award Winners
Photo from Left to Right: Jennifer Ballard RN, Dave Anderson CEO from United Healthcare, Mary Ozaki RN, Anne Powers NP, Bonnie Barnes President and Co-Founder of DAISY Award Foundation.


These winners will receive the following items (pictured below) a DAISY Award Certificate, Tote Bag, Healer's Touch Sculpture, DAISY Award Pin and Cinnabons will be delivered to their units for everyone to enjoy! A DAISY Honoree Banner will also be hung in each unit!

Award Gift Photo

The DAISY Award

Cinnabon Logo United Healthcare