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Latest DAISY Awards honor seven extraordinary nurses

DAISY Awards are given to great nurses all over the United States and in many other countries

by January 28, 2022

Four times each year, VUMC Voice spotlights recipients of The DAISY Award, a recognition for extraordinary nurses who exemplify compassion toward patients and families.

VUMC distributes the award in partnership with The DAISY Foundation, which was formed in 1999 to honor the memory of J. Patrick Barnes, a 33-year-old man who died of complications of the autoimmune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). Barnes’ family was moved by the care they received from his nurses and wanted to recognize them as a way to preserve his memory. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.

VUMC nurse committees determine the individual recipients. Previous recipients of the DAISY Award are here. The award is open to all licensed nurses and anyone can nominate — including co-workers, patients and their families. Nominations may be made here.

Here are some of the latest recipients of the DAISY Award:

Debbie Dawes, RN. Unit: 1 West Medicine/COVID, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital

Debbie Dawes. From the nomination: “I received a call this morning from a patient who was here three weeks ago. She called to brag on staff and mentioned Debbie Dawes by name. She said a large part of why she was still here today to make the call was due to Debbie. Apparently, the patient was extremely depressed, tired of being sick, and felt like a burden on her family. She said her full intent was to commit suicide after being discharged. She said Debbie was her nurse on 2N the day she (the patient) was having these thoughts. She told me that Debbie was very caring and pulled up a chair just to let her vent, even though she never expressed her suicidal ideations. The patient said after having Debbie that day, her entire outlook changed, and she no longer thought about doing herself harm after being discharged.” Photo by Donn Jones

Sarah Kelly, BSN, RN. Unit: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Sarah Kelly. From the nomination: “Our son was in a horrific ATV accident over the July 4th holiday. The PICU team went above and beyond in exceeding all expectations during this tragic time. Sarah was exceptional in her communication throughout the entire ordeal. We were forced to make the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make in taking him off of life support and donating his organs. Sarah was there for every emotion, and patiently explained everything so that we understood even if it took multiple times explaining.” Photo by Donn Jones

Ashley McNeil, RN, Unit: Plastics & Cosmetic Surgery, Vanderbilt Adult Ambulatory Clinics

Ashley McNeil. From the nomination: “I was at my follow-up appointment for breast reduction and tummy tuck surgery, and it was the day I was getting one of my drains pulled. My body had a different idea and proceeded to pass out, have seizure-like activity, and super low blood pressure. After a while, I started to feel better and get a little color back and I had decided I was good enough to leave and go have that lunch. Ashley had another plan. I was going to the ER! Ashley’s gut feeling was right. Had she not basically made me or pleaded with me to go to the ER, I would have went home and these clots would have went undetected. It could have been fatal. That is a very serious diagnosis and I will forever say that Ashley saved my life.” Photo by Susan Urmy

Peyton Meeker, LPN. Unit: Medical Telemetry Unit, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital

Peyton Meeker, center, is congratulated by Elaine Niblett, left, director of Medical-Surgical nursing, and Marilyn Smith, Chief Nursing Officer, on being named to receive a DAISY Award. From the nomination: “Peyton is a diligent worker and always delivers excellent patient care. He is proactive in his work, and always strives to go above and beyond for each patient. We appreciate Peyton and who he is as a nurse, employee and person.”

Rheda Robeson, RN. Unit: Labor & Delivery, Vanderbilt University Hospital

Rheda Robeson. From the nomination: “The pushing had started, and the pain was unreal. Rheda was there to my left the whole time comforting me. [My child’s] head was there, almost out, but her shoulder was stuck. They explained to me that they could potentially have to break her collar bone to get her out safely. Shortly after, more doctors and more nurses rolled in. I knew it couldn’t be good. I looked up at Rheda as she held my hand, and she was saying ‘you got this, mama’ over and over again. She kept the encouraging words coming. Out came our sushi roll baby, but it was not over. My placenta was stuck to my uterus I was in a panic, but Rheda, still there, still comforting me, still being the angel that God asked her to be.” Photo by Erin O. Smith

Jody Rochon, BSN, RN. Unit: Neurological Intensive Care Unit, Vanderbilt University Hospital

Jody Rochon. From the nomination: “Jody has provided excellent care to my father, who recently had a stroke. He’s been kind, thorough, compassionate, and highly competent. As soon as I arrived in the room, he introduced himself and took the time to answer my questions. I was so impressed with Jody’s professionalism and overall behavior. He has provided my daddy and our family with the upmost care and compassion.  Jody has displayed Credo behavior and we have been incredibly impressed with him.” Photo by Donn Jones

Jodie Wickenheiser, BSN, RN. Unit: Reproductive Endocrinology & Fertility (REI) Clinic, Vanderbilt Adult Ambulatory Clinics

Jodie Wickenheiser. From the nomination: “My nomination is for Jodie, who has been part of my infertility journey since it began. My nomination isn’t from one inpatient stay or outpatient experience, it spans more than two years of dedication and care that is both remarkable and overwhelming to describe. She is the cheerleader, the comforter, and the nurse you hope to see when you arrive at the REI clinic. Jodie manages to make it feel like you are her primary concern, always.  And she does this for many. My heartfelt thanks to Jodie (and all the REI clinic providers) for the care I have received there!” Photo by Donn Jones

DAISY Award, nursing, Debbie Dawes, Sarah Kelly, Ashley McNeil, Peyton Meeker, Rheda Robeson, Jody Rochon, Jodie Wickenheiser, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, Vanderbilt University Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Adult Clinics, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital, PICU, Cosmetics & Plastic Surgery, Labor and Delivery, Neurological Intensive Care Unit, Reproductive Endocrinology & Fertility