Posted on May 29, 2019

College of Nursing Adopts DAISY Award Program for Faculty

College of Nursing Adopts DAISY Award Program for Faculty

The University of South Florida’s College of Nursing will begin highlighting extraordinary nursing faculty through the DAISY Foundation’s recognition program that honors the compassion of exemplary nurses and nurse educators.

By launching a DAISY faculty awards program, the college joins more than 3,000 health care facilities and schools of nursing in the United States and in 21 other countries that have adopted the foundation’s mission to acknowledge compassionate care in nursing.

To date, there are about 230 schools of nursing that thank educators with this award.

Mark and Bonnie Barnes started the DAISY Foundation 20 years ago as a way to praise nurses after the death of their 33-year-old son Patrick, who had an autoimmune disease. The pair were compelled to find a way to give credit to nurses for how they treated Patrick, as well as themselves, and for what nurses do every day for patients and families.

On May 23, during an emotional hour-long presentation at the College of Nursing, the couple spoke about why meaningful recognition of compassionate care matters in nursing education and practice.

“To Mark and me, it is clear that nurses care for patients and families not only with their brains, but also with their hearts,” said Bonnie Barnes. “The DAISY Award is simply a way for us to say thank you to all of you, our nurses, for being our heroes in some way, every day.”

DAISY Foundation co-founders Bonnie and Mark Barnes visited the USF College of Nursing on May 23, 2019. College of Nursing dean Victoria L. Rich (center) announced the college is launching a DAISY Award recognition program for faculty.

Barnes said they created the DAISY award, which stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, as a way to honor Patrick’s life and as a way to recognize nurses who make an extraordinary difference in patients’ and families’ lives.

At first, few health care facilities saw the need for such an awards program, she said. But as more hospitals signed on, they started getting calls from chief nursing officers asking to partner with the DAISY Foundation, because they had heard about it from colleagues.

Since the program started, more than 120,000 nurses have received the DAISY Award from more than 1.3 million nominations.

And the foundation has expanded beyond recognizing nurses in hospitals. The program also helps nurses go on medical missions, attend nursing conferences, and pay reduced certification fees.

In 2007, the DAISY Foundation board created a grant program to fund nursing research, which has doled out about half a million dollars to research projects designed to improve care for patients with cancer or an autoimmune disorder.

In 2010, the nurse recognition program expanded to nursing schools by creating the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty.

“We had never considered all the people who had dedicated themselves to educating nurses to provide the extraordinary care we witnessed when Pat was hospitalized,” said Bonnie Barnes.

She said many nurses described the “voice in their ear” throughout their years of service — the voice of an instructor or professor who stayed with them.

At the end of the presentation, College of Nursing dean Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN announced that the college would launch a DAISY Award program to recognize nursing faculty and urged doctoral students to consider doing research on meaningful recognition of compassionate care and how it impacts nursing practice.

Mark Barnes ended the talk by simply sharing his gratefulness toward nurses.

“Thank you for being our heroes. We hope that through our gratitude, you take to heart that we think you make the world a better place,” he said.

Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing