‘Extraordinary’ Professor Receives Inaugural DAISY Nursing Faculty Award
USF Health College of Nursing Assistant Professor Brittany Hay, known for her patience and ability to inspire and mentor nursing students, received the college’s inaugural DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty at a virtual ceremony this month.
Hay was among 21 faculty members nominated for the distinguished award that celebrates the compassionate work of nursing educators.
Nursing graduate student Janae Herzog, who is finishing the master’s program to become a nurse practitioner, nominated Dr. Hay for her unyielding support.
“Dr. Hay is the reason I didn’t quit grad school,” said Herzog, who has been a nurse for 17 years.
Herzog credited her mentor for believing in her when she needed it the most, which has helped her transition from bedside nurse to provider. Herzog recalled the time she texted Dr. Hay in a panic, and Dr. Hay responded by scheduling a test review meeting that changed Herzog’s mindset.
“It’s like she knew I needed to be encouraged, and I needed someone to believe in me and my abilities,” Herzog said. “To have a very experienced and knowledgeable nurse practitioner and professor tell you about the potential they see in you, that carries a different weight.”
“In the midst of my tears and doubt and fear of failure, she remained calm, consistent, and somehow found a way to help me to believe in myself,” she said.
The college launched the new recognition program in August 2020 in conjunction with the DAISY Foundation, an organization known for creating the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses which thanks nurses for making a difference in their patients’ lives.
DAISY Foundation leaders Mark and Bonnie Barnes started the nonprofit 20 years ago as a way to praise nurses after the death of their 33-year-old son Patrick, who had an autoimmune disease. In 2010, the foundation expanded the nurse recognition program to nursing schools and created the faculty-specific award.
“It’s been an absolute delight to see this program begin to roll out across the country and into schools of nursing,” said Bonnie Barnes, who attended the College of Nursing’s virtual ceremony. “We realized how important it was for faculty to receive the Daisy Award and be recognized for the inspiration and outstanding teaching that you all do.”
Dr. Hay thanked the Barnes family for creating such a meaningful award.
“I come from a long line of nurses, so I take this as a family award,” she said. “We have nurses and educators in the family, and I’m the first nurse educator. I am so excited to hear the students speak about how it made a difference to them to bring some excitement to the role of nurses. I’m beyond honored.”
Bull Nurse alumna Mercedia Cureton also nominated Dr. Hay. Cureton spoke about how Dr. Hay was patient, caring, intelligent, and an outstanding mentor for her doctorate nursing project.
“Highly motivated, Dr. Brittany Hay makes learning a joy,” she said. “On multiple occasions, she went the extra mile with me, especially after exams and unit tests to ascertain and correct my misinformation and errors in thinking.”
Other nominators described how Dr. Hay was instrumental in assisting Doctor of Nursing Practice students with a COVID-19 initiative for the Hillsborough County Health Department. Dr. Hay led the college’s partnership with the health department to conduct infection prevention and control assessments in local long-term care facilities.
As part of the award, Dr. Hay will receive a DAISY pin, certificate, and a hand-carved sculpture called The Healer’s Touch. Village artists in Zimbabwe make the African stone sculpture.
Listen to some words about Dr. Hay from the nominators:
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing