Teresa Teaff

Teresa Teaff, Interim Chief Nursing Officer for Tennova Healthcare – Harton, shows the sculpture that is presented to recipients of the DAISY Award. The local hospital is now participating in the DAISY Award Program, which recognizes outstanding nurses.

Tennova Healthcare – Harton is now participating in the DAISY Award Program, which recognizes outstanding nurses.

The initiative was launched on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with a celebration at the hospital.

Each quarter of the year, the local hospital will present an award to an exceptional nurse.

Tennova Healthcare-Harton Chief Executive Officer Rich Ellis welcomed all attendees and expressed appreciation to the DAISY Foundation. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.

“We are really excited to be kicking off the program,” Ellis said. “The family that established the program did it in the wake of a loss, to recognize and reinforce the role and the value of nurses.”

The DAISY Foundation was formed in 1999 by the family of Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The nursing care he received inspired his family to start the foundation, according to www.daisyfoundation.org.

“His family’s thoughts quickly turned to the value of nurses,” Ellis said.

The goal of the foundation is to show appreciation to nurses and acknowledge their significant impact to the community, added Ellis.

“[Launching the program] is really important as a statement of hospital culture, in terms of how we value the role of nursing,” Ellis said. “I want to thank the foundation for what they are doing. We are honored to be a part of it.”

Janet Silvestri, regional program director for DAYSY Mid-Atlantic region, expressed gratitude to Harton partnering with the foundation.

“I work with about 450 of our hospitals,” Silvestri said. “Patrick’s family started the foundation about a month after Patrick passed. They needed to find a way to funnel the grief into something positive.”

The family had initially thought about raising funds for research, said Silvestri, but ultimately decided to recognize the nursing community. 

“They really needed to honor them for what they do,” Silvestri said.

That led to launching the foundation for extraordinary nurses.

“We want to express deep gratitude,” Silvestri said to the nurses attending the event. “Thank you for everything you do.”

Sometimes, “it’s the small things, like bringing a patient a cup of tea,” that make a difference, added Silvestri.


Receiving the award


Anyone who experiences or observes extraordinary compassionate care being provided by a nurse may submit a nomination to local hospital officials. Nominations from staff, patients or family members will be accepted for consideration, according to www.daisyfoundation.org.

DAISY Award recipients receive a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a unique, hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, said Silvestri.

“In Zimbabwe, 19 men work full-time for us,” Silvestri said.

The design of the sculpture is the traditional South African design of mother and child, said Silvestri.

“We thought that really depicts the care and the relationship,” Silvestri said. “After the artist creates the sculpture, he carves their name into the base, so each of the sculptures is personalized by the man that made it. And the artistry of sculpturing is handed down from father to son in Zimbabwe. [The artists] believe that as they work with the stone, they are releasing the spirits of the ancestors.” 

The DAISY Foundation is importing thousands of sculptures from Zimbabwe each year. Each one is hand-carved by Shona artists working in very primitive conditions. Shona people pay deep respect to their traditional healers. Shona healers are regarded as treasures by those they care for, and the well-being and safety of the healer is very important, according www.daisyfoundation.org.

More than 3,300 health care facilities and schools of nursing in all 50 states and 18 countries participate in honoring nurses with The DAISY Award.

Elena Cawley may be reached at ecawley@tullahoma.com.

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