1. Barnes, Bonnie FAAN
  2. Barnes, Mark FAAN

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What do you do when your 33-year-old son dies after 8 weeks in the hospital of an autoimmune disease you've never heard of? It was a gift to spend those weeks in the hospital with Pat and his wife, Tena, who had given us our first grandchild 6 weeks before Pat woke up with blood blisters in his mouth. A blood test revealed a dangerously low platelet count. The diagnosis was ITP-idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. During his hospitalization as he became increasingly ill, we saw what nurses really do every day. As we expected, Patrick's nurses were extremely competent clinically. What we didn't expect-and what took our hearts-was the way his nurses delivered their care with compassion and sensitivity to Patrick and his family. When Patrick died, we needed to find something positive that would keep his wonderful spirit alive. His nurses were the one positive aspect of our ordeal. We had to say thank you for their extraordinary compassionate care, so we created The DAISY Foundation(TM) (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System) and our program of ongoing recognition of above-and-beyond compassionate care-The DAISY Award(R) for Extraordinary Nurses.

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As years went on with us volunteering full-time to expand DAISY into more and more facilities, we had another experience that reinforced our drive to say Thank You to nurses. Mark's father lived with us prior to his death at age 97. We needed a nurse to help us with Dad's care. Dad's favorite was Steve Turme, RN, a home healthcare nurse with our local hospital's home healthcare service. We looked forward to Steve's visits with Dad-not because of what he did to keep Dad comfortable but how he related to Dad and to us. His patience with our impatient and often cranky Dad, his resourcefulness, honesty, directness, and his sense of humor all contributed to our connection. Steve guided us through another difficult family time. We still run into Steve in our community. He is retired now, but the bond we built through his compassionate care still connects us. And yes, we nominated Steve for The DAISY Award, and he was honored for his tender caring and skill.


Today, we honor nurses across the continuum of care-in hospitals, ambulatory settings, hospices, home healthcare, VA and military facilities, physicians' offices-wherever nurses practice, DAISY is there to provide recognition of extraordinary care. The DAISY Award also recognizes nursing faculty for inspiring compassionate care in their students, nursing students for delivering great care when they are doing their clinical work, and nurse leaders for creating environments where excellent compassionate care thrives. We have a DAISY Team Award for nurse-led teams that together do extra-special things for patients and families. Last year, we introduced the DAISY Lifetime Achievement Award in gratitude to nurses who have dedicated decades of their lives to nursing.


Who would have thought that 20 years later, DAISY would be expressing gratitude to nurses in over 4,500 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing-in 29 countries! Over 136,000 nurses have received The DAISY Award, having been nominated by patients, family, and co-workers for delivering outstanding care. The story of a nurse's impact on a patient or family has been written as a DAISY nomination over 1.6 million times-proof that we are not the only people who want to say Thank You! A growing body of evidence underscores DAISY's impact on a healthy work environment, nurse engagement, and the patient/family experience.


To learn more about how DAISY partners with organizations and how to bring DAISY to your organization, visit For more about how DAISY grew to be what it is, look for our book Shining the Light on All the Right: Celebrating the Art of Nursing Around the World.