“Exceptionally wonderful” nurse wins DAISY award

Published on: March 8, 2024

“Exceptionally wonderful” nurse wins DAISY award

The nurses in the postpartum unit at Christiana Hospital were gathered at a morning huddle when rumors began to circulate that one of them had won a DAISY award.

Presented by the DAISY Foundation to recognize nurses for “the extraordinary compassionate, skillful care they provide patients and families,” the DAISYs are not common occurrences.

Colleen Mahoney, a 2020 Neumann graduate, had just arrived for her 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift on November 2 when she sensed the buzz. She still had her jacket on, backpack slung over a shoulder and morning coffee in hand, when she heard her name. She had won a DAISY.

“I was taken aback,” she recalls. “My jaw dropped. I was honored, just blown away. And it was very, very validating.”

Nominations for the award are submitted by patients and family members directly to the foundation, which has been honoring extraordinarily compassionate nurses since 1999.

Mahoney had spent three 12-hour shifts with the couple who nominated her. “They had gone through a very complicated birth and postpartum process. They went through a lot. It was a hard time for them.”

Evan Hockenberger, the author of the nomination, described Mahoney as “exceptionally wonderful” and “an amazing nurse and advocate ... anticipating our needs and going above and beyond” to make sure the couple was comfortable.

“In addition to her extremely competent care,” he wrote, “she checked in with us regularly to ensure we had a good understanding of all the information we were getting from the care team, ran interference with a rapidly changing dietary situation, and taught us numerous useful tips and tricks to keep mom and baby happy.”

Mahoney characterizes that level of care as her constant approach. “I treat all of my patients like they’re my sister, a family member. I always try to create a good rapport with them and get to know them.”

She proudly admits that she loves nursing and “can’t see myself doing anything else.”

She also remembers the emphasis on compassion from her days as an undergraduate. “Compassion is ingrained in your brain as an early nursing student.”

After the announcement at the morning huddle, Mahoney was presented with a DAISY award (“It looks like a Grammy or an Oscar”), and the unit was treated to cinnamon buns, a DAISY tradition.

According to DAISY lore as explained on the foundation’s website, the dying wish of J. Patrick Barnes, the man whose family funded the award, was to taste a cinnamon bun.

DAISY stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The award began at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at the University of Washington Medical Center, where Barnes had been a patient. Any licensed, registered nurse, nursing faculty or nursing student can be nominated for a DAISY.





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