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“She is an amazing nurse, and I am so thankful for her calming presence,” 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 April 25, 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:

Jackie Lynn Cothron, BSN, RN. Unit: Pediatric Surgery, Trauma, and Adolescent Medicine at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Jackie Lynn Cothron. From the nomination: “Jackie Lynn called a Rapid Response Team … when a patient was having increased work of breathing and continuous vomiting. She went absolutely above and beyond with the patient to try to keep him on the floor. She spent just about all of her time in that room providing about 1:1 nursing care while he was stabilizing out. She communicated with me throughout the afternoon and was very proactive in his care … I would love to work with her any day.” Photo by Erin O. Smith


Katie Grace Daniel, BSN, RN. Unit: 8 South – Cardiology Stepdown, Vanderbilt University Hospital

Katie Grace Daniel. From the nomination: “My husband was admitted to 8S Cardiac Stepdown after having a 7.5- hour Hybrid Ablation and Left Atrial Appendage Clip. He had two chest tube sites, a central line and several other surgical incision sites from his procedure and was in significant pain the morning after surgery when Katie Grace introduced herself as our nurse for the day. She immediately recognized that he appeared to be uncomfortable and expedited the process of getting him sufficient pain management ordered. It took her literally the entire shift to get his pain to a tolerable level, but she did not stop contacting the necessary providers until he was ordered what was needed, as well as providing hands-on care at the bedside to help alleviate his pain.” Photo by Susan Urmy


Chelsea Foster, RN. Unit: Labor & Delivery, Vanderbilt University Hospital

Chelsea Foster. From the nomination: “I was in labor … waiting in OB triage and here came Chelsea. Even with a mask on, I could tell from her eyes, she was smiling. From the moment we met to the time I left L&D she was by my side. She spoke with such ease and made my husband and I feel so comfortable. … She advocated for me often throughout the whole process. She knew I wanted to wait to get an epidural, so she never pushed me and continually updated the providers on what my hopes were for the delivery. When I was ready for the epidural, she advocated with the providers for me to get a certain type of epidural that would benefit my pain better. She never pushed me to do anything and always explained what was going on. I knew I was with someone special that day and so did everyone else.” Photo by Erin O. Smith


Bailee Graun, BSN, RN. Emergency Department, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital

Bailee Graun. From the nomination: “My 10-year-old son was seen in the ER due to severe pain… Bailee was his ER nurse. She was amazing dealing with a pediatric patient. He has never experienced anything like this and has a sensory processing disorder and anxiety. She was absolutely amazing. She remained calm and had a lot of patience during our visit. She never seemed flustered or like she had anything to do except be there with us (even though I know she was busy that day)… She is an amazing nurse, and I am so thankful for her calming presence during such a stressful time.”


Kathy Watts, MSN, RN (DAISY Nurse Leader Award) Unit: Emergency Department, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital

Kathy Watts. From the nomination: “Vanderbilt Bedford County Hospital currently does not employ a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) certified nurse. Last month, we had a very sad situation with a female patient who needed a sexual assault exam. We contacted Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital and within an hour, Kathy Watts appeared to save the day. She was so pleasant and kind to our ER staff and to this patient in her time of need. Kathy has a very demanding job, and she did not hesitate to come to our ER and spend hours with this patient. She is always willing to go the extra mile for her patients and her co-workers.”

DAISY Award, nursing, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Pediatric Surgery, Trauma, Adolescent Medicine, Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Cardiology, Labor and Delivery, Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital, emergency department, Jackie Lynn Cothron, Katie Grace Daniel, Chelsea Foster, Bailee Graun, Kathy Watts, Vanderbilt Bedford County Hospital