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“I truly feel she helped save my husband’s life,” and other DAISY Award-winning examples of extraordinary nurses

DAISY Awards are given to great nurses all over the United States and in many other countries. Here are VUMC's latest winners.

by October 20, 2023

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 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:

Rita Hayle, RN. Unit: Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), Vanderbilt University Hospital

Rita Hayle. From the nomination: “I became the recipient of a heart transplant … During the recovery in both the CVICU Unit as well as the step-down unit, Rita continued to be there when I needed someone most. She would always be the voice that kept giving me advice and just listening when it seemed too hard to continue but she always knew just what to say to keep me going. She is an amazing nurse and an even better listener. … Rita is the epitome of what patients need when recovering and an asset to Vanderbilt Hospital. She is my earth angel, and I am forever grateful for her.” Photo by Erin O. Smith

Kyle Stroud, BSN, RN. Unit: Critical Care Unit, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital

Kyle Stroud. From the nomination: “I have been a physician for over 38 years and have worked with many nurses in many situations. None have done a better job than this young man. He is compassionate and caring and very competent. He has been extremely attentive to my dad during his week in the CCU and has been a great blessing as he passed from this life to his home in heaven this evening. My family is extremely grateful for Kyle’s presence here! Thanks, Kyle!”

Amber Tate, RN. Unit: Women’s Health,  Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital

Amber Tate. From the nomination: “Amber was so attentive to my daughter and son-in-law as they delivered their first child. She calmed their fears and established a great rapport with them. (My daughter) has a phobia of hospitals and Amber had her smiling and at ease from the very start. I witnessed this when I stepped in the room that morning. Amber explained procedures and prepared them for what to expect by teaching them. She was very professional but also established their trust by showing them equipment before- hand. … Amber was the best and most caring, knowledgeable nurse. We are so very thankful that she took such great care…” Photo by Donn Jones

Alexandra Willis, RN. Unit: Emergency Department, Vanderbilt University Hospital

Alexandra Willis. From the nomination: “I was so impressed with Alex. My husband came in through the ER and was to have a catheter put for peritoneal dialysis. But while there he declined pretty rapidly. I was extremely concerned and knew he would need emergency dialysis. Alex was beyond helpful to us in advocating to the internal medicine doctor and Nephrology how dire he was in needing the emergency dialysis. I truly felt she knew exactly how I was feeling as a family member, and I was beyond thankful for all she did to help us. I truly feel she helped to save his life. She was a pleasure to have and such an asset to Vanderbilt.” Photo by Erin O. Smith

DAISY Award, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Adult Emergency Department, emergency department, Nephrology, Labor and Delivery, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Rita Hayle, Amber Tate, Alexandra Willis, Kyle Stroud