144 nurses and counting: How nurse recognition blossomed at Hennepin thanks to DAISY program

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“She is wonderful with her patients…her actions are excellent, a true statement of her skills. She…consistently demonstrates excellent nursing care.”

These words described Laraine Steel, a Hennepin Healthcare DAISY Award winner, in her nomination from January 2008. More than 10 years later, Steel continues to provide excellent nursing care at Hennepin Healthcare as a Diabetes Clinical Educator and the AADE Diabetes Program Coordinator. She also sees patients with diabetes at Whittier Clinic.

Laraine Steel, DAISY Award winner for January 2008

The DAISY Award is an international program created by the DAISY Foundation​ that recognizes nurses like Steel who make a difference in the lives of those they care for and work alongside with their clinical skills and extraordinary compassion. The foundation and program turn 20 this month and within two decades the program has expanded to over 700 healthcare facilities, including Hennepin Healthcare where it started 12 years ago.

Becky Enos, Chief Nursing Officer at the time of the DAISY Award’s beginning at Hennepin in May 2007, spearheaded the movement to bring this important program to Hennepin Healthcare.

“Part of her contribution and recognition for our nurses was to actually bring this program to HCMC,” says Glenda Reigstad, who was the first chairperson of the Hennepin Healthcare DAISY committee and now works as a patient services coordinator. “She just wanted to make sure that our nurses were recognized.” Although she is now retired, Becky continues to support the Daisy Award program at Hennepin Healthcare.

Lori J. Brown, Chief Nursing Officer

Current Chief Nursing Officer Lori J. Brown continues the mission of advocating for the program and its meaningful role in recognizing the nurses who go above and beyond in delivering compassionate care. “I am committed to nurse recognition because of their many contributions, particularly with their attention to compassionate service to our patients and families,” said Brown. “The DAISY Award is one of the ways we can let our nurses know how much they are appreciated and valued for the extraordinary care they give each and every day.”

When the DAISY Award first launched at Hennepin Healthcare, DAISY founders Bonnie and Mark Barnes were here to help kick off the program. Bonnie and Mark’s son, Patrick Barnes, passed away from Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), an auto-immune disease. In his honor, they created the DAISY program in order to recognize incredible nurses that cared for patients like him.

DAISY Award winners at Hennepin were originally chosen by administrative managers, but then evolved to form the Hennepin Healthcare DAISY Committee. Nominations are still reviewed by the committee to this day, though the members have changed over the years.

Here at Hennepin Healthcare, we recognize 12 nurses throughout the year through the DAISY Award program, one for each month. Additionally, a DAISY Team Award is presented annually. “I felt humbled and honored in 2008 to be recognized by my ‘HCMC Family’ for a job that I truly enjoyed,” says Steel.

Hennepin Healthcare DAISY Winner Fast Facts

  • Around 144 nurses have been recognized over the past 12 years since the program’s beginning at Hennepin Healthcare
  • Eight nursing teams have been recognized since the DAISY Team Award was introduced in 2013
  • 101 individual winners continue to work at Hennepin Healthcare, along with 69 team members.
  • Seven of these nurses won both the individual and team awards for a total of 163 nurses still at Hennepin Healthcare

Being recognized for their important work is a small thing that can make a big difference in the lives of our nurses. “I think nursing is probably one of the most difficult jobs there is in [a] hospital,” says Reigstad. “It validates what they actually do every day, to be recognized.”

How to nominate

You can continue the tradition of nominating Hennepin Healthcare nurses by using this simple and easy-to-use online form. Unlike other hospital recognition programs that are mainly promoted internally, the DAISY Award is unique in that nominations can be submitted by visitors, patients and their families.

“All walks of life in the hospital have the ability, even patients, to recognize someone,” says Reigstad. “[Our nurses] work very hard; they’re absolutely just involved in the care of the patient all the time, and that’s one of the trademarks of our nursing staff.”

John Strong, our most recent DAISY winner from this past October, has the same, ongoing foundation of compassionate care that the first DAISY winners exuded in their nominations, showing a continued dedication to the profession of nursing and helping others.

John Strong, pictured third from the left, and members of the OR

“John never fails to take the time to compassionately and concisely explain the next steps with inexplicable trustworthiness, allowing the fear of the unknown to dissipate from patients and their loved ones,” said one nominator.

You can submit your own nomination to recognize an outstanding nurse today by going to hennepinhealthcare.org/daisyaward​. Thank you to our nurses for the incredible care they give patients at Hennepin Healthcare each and every day.

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