DAISY Awards: Recognizing extraordinary nurses

DAISY Award Recipients | How to nominate a nurse

Valley View is proud to be a DAISY Award Partner

Our nurses are an integral part of what makes us exceptional. The DAISY award recognizes the extraordinary impact nurses have in our communities and to ensure they know how deserving they are for the care they provided every day. One of our nurses will be recognized with this special honor every quarter DAISY Award Honorees personify Valley View’s remarkable patient experience. These nurses consistently demonstrate excellence through their clinical expertise and extraordinary compassionate care, and they are recognized as outstanding role models in our nursing community. The DAISY Award was established by The DAISY Foundation in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at 33 of ITP, an auto-immune disease. The Barnes Family was awestruck by the clinical skills, caring and compassion of the nurses who cared for Patrick, so they created this international award to say thank you to nurses everywhere.

Each Daisy Award Honoree will be recognized at a public ceremony in her/his unit and will receive: a beautiful certificate, a DAISY Award pin, and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled A Healer’s Touch. Additionally, all nursing units will celebrate with cinnamon rolls – a favorite of Patrick’s during his illness. The Barnes Family asks that whenever and wherever nurses smell that wonderful cinnamon aroma, they stop for a moment and think about how special they are!

Daisy Award Recipients

Natalie Markuson, BSN, RN

Natalie Markuson, BSN, RN was nominated for the Daisy Award by four families. These are their comments:

“In a family crisis, this nurse really makes a difference in emotional and physical welfare of the patient – thus healing and immune response. My wife and I can assuredly say Natalie is one of the best!!! She is extremely genuine and caring and careful and calm in her actions. She made sure we understood everything that was going on. Her experience and intelligence were obvious in all her actions!

Knowledgeable – complete care thorough and very nice. Dad pulled through critical care with stroke and pneumonia under her care. She was very patient with Dad and the family.

She was the nurse in charge of our father, who was brought into critical care. She kept me and my family informed with concise and detailed updates, answering our questions in simple terms and was also teaching a new nurse in her first duties. So much knowledge! So professional! And very friendly and kind.

She was very patient and explained everything so we could understand.

DAISY Award Honorees personify Valley View’s remarkable patient experience. These nurses consistently demonstrate excellence through their clinical expertise and extraordinary compassionate care.

Natalie Markuson, BSN, RN

Arla Carver ,RN

Arla Carver was nominated by Brent Herrala, a former Daisy Award Winner.

“Acute care was taking care of a patient admitted to attempt recovery from a drug addiction. This patient had a 2 month old baby whom Arla cared for when this baby was born. Arla caught wind that this patient was in Acute Care and came and visited her. She took photos of the patient and her baby while the baby was present in visitation, developed the picture, framed it and came to present the patient with this picture as an additional incentive for the patient to have along at her rehab program (6 months away from her baby). Arla clearly showed her care and compassion for this mother and her baby. She well deserves to be recognized in a Daisy Award for her time, energy and commitment to seeing that this mother can reverse her addiction and return to her job as a mother to her baby. Way to go!”–Nominator

Arla Carver, RN

Diane Heald, OCT,RN

Diane was received two nominations for the Daisy Award.

“… Diane is our absolute favorite nurse…She remembers all the important details about my mom’s care and my mom’s preferences and she is a pleasure to be around.  I cannot even explain how special Diane is – the oncology department is so lucky to have her as part of their team…”–Nominator

“…There’s something about her; something in her eyes. Something in the way she takes your hand makes you feel at home; something that tells you she understands how very foreign, how very frightening all of this is…You have her complete attention, as that’s just who she is. You laugh together, and sometimes you can even let her see the tears that slip out, and she understands it all, and she makes it okay…Sometimes if we are lucky, we encounter true angels in our lives…Diane was such an angel. She has become a very special friend, and certainly we will never forget her.”–Nominator

Diane Heald, OCT, RN

Drake Koger, RN

Drake was nominated for the Daisy Award by six different patients at Valley View Hospital.

“….He was knowledgeable and listened to my problems. I thank him very much.”–Nominator

“Drake has been the professional person you want to put your care in charge of. He always kept me informed of what was going to happen next…we felt welcomed and knew my care was in good hands.”–Nominator

“…He is very straight forward and matter-of-fact, which I appreciate. There is no fluff or superfluousness to him. Gets to the heart of the matter. Is very patient for questions. Thanks to everyone – so much like family.”–Nominator

“Drake was informative, understanding and educated about my situation. If I did not understand some things, he would explain in a compassionate, considerate way…”–Nominator

“…Great caring, tender attitude. Follows through promptly on any requests or needs I had. Cheerful and ready to help…Glad and lucky to have him during my stay!”–Nominator

“…Nursing is not just a job for him but it is “caring for people”. Drake was very efficient but never in a hurry. He made me feel as though I was his only concern…I highly recommend Drake for the Daisy Award as he went “above and beyond”. I nicknamed him “Drake the Great!”–Nominator

Drake Koger, RN

Brent Herrala, RN

Brent was nominated for the Daisy Award in recognition of the outstanding care he provided to a patient over the course of three days at Valley View Hospital. [quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“….I had the great fortune of having the same nurse for all 3 days – Brent.  I would like to recognize him for his amazing nursing skills; his calm and reassuring manner, his steady, watchful eye, and his ability to make me as a patient have confidence in every move he makes. My operation was not a critical life-and-death situation, and yet, for me it was the biggest experience of my life. I sensed from Brent enormous respect for me and for the magnitude of this surgery and its aftermath. His ability to put a patient at ease is solid gold, and his skills are beyond compare. Valley View is fortunate to have him, and so was I. ” –Nominator

Brent, you are an exceptional nurse and role model in our nursing community. You personify Valley View’s remarkable patient experience in the care you deliver. And for that, we thank you.

Brent Herrala, RN

Anne Andersen, RN, Day Surgery, Valley View Hospital

We are honored to present to Anne Andersen our very first DAISY Award for her nursing excellence in caring and compassion. Anne Andersen is well known in our departments for her compassion. Concern for others is a vital part of her personality and is evident in her interactions with patients and co-workers. Anne’s infinite patience and attention to the ‘why” of nursing practice, has made her a vital asset as a preceptor in Day Surgery. Her nurturing abilities are especially important in the relationship she develops with novice nurses.

At the bedside, Anne exhibits appropriate and professional empathy for patients and families. She seeks resources and solutions for the concerns that arise from each unique patient and situation. She applies this focus to the needs of the department as well. When options vary and discussions are heated, Anne can be counted on to remain respectful, calm and to de-escalate the situation.

Last month Anne was responsible for obtaining a grant from the Valley View Foundation to improve our service to the pediatric population. With the grant money she purchased a rolling bookcase that contains age appropriate books in Spanish and in English, stickers and stuffed animals. She is also in the process of purchasing fun pajamas and quilts for our smallest clients.

Anne Andersen, RN, Day Surgery

Shay Salaz, RN, Acute Care, Valley View Hospital

A patient’s family nominated Shay for the Daisy Award, in recognition of her extraordinary care and compassion, at a time when their hearts were torn.

[quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“helpful, friendly, caring and always had a smile on her face” “true compassion and perfect example of a fantastic nurse” “I wish more people were like her” – Nominees

Shay, thank you for changing lives. Your dedication to nursing, patients, and their families, is exceptional. You are truly an inspiration.

Shay Salaz, RN, Acute Care

Raquel Herrera, RN, Family Birthplace, Valley View Hospital

Raquel was nominated by Nick and Dr. Lauren Sontag as an outstanding role model in our nursing community.

[quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“She was our nurse for both me and our baby girl Lucy after my C-section following a long labor. She was so in tune with us and our needs, anticipating things that we did not even know we needed. Gentle teaching about baby care for us new parents, breastfeeding help and reassurance in the middle of the night, pain medication and the need to get a few hours of sleep after a totally exhausting day. She cared for our baby with such gentleness and love. It was like she was caring for a family member. She was our only nurse the first night but we visited her in the nursery our remaining two nights to check in and say hi and because she genuinely seemed to care about our baby. On one visit we were so overwhelmed with gratitude for her gracious care of our new little family and her reassurance to us as new parents that we were in tears. What a special person you have on staff.” – Nominees

Raquel, thank you for the excellent care provided to new parents in our community. Your dedication to nursing, patients, and their families, is exceptional. You are truly an inspiration and an outstanding role model.

Raquel Herrera, RN, Family Birthplace

Wendy Doll, RN, Emergency Care, Valley View Hospital

Wendy was nominated for the Daisy Award in recognition of the extraordinary care provided during anxious moments in the ER. Her presence in that moment of patient care was heartwarming, skillful, confident, empathetic and calming.

[quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“I was witness to grace and competence under extreme pressure, proficiency and skill under difficult circumstances and empathetic caregiving in an emergent situation. She is a gift to nursing and Valley View Hospital.” –Nominee

Wendy, your gift of providing personalized care to all that come in contact with you is exceptional. You truly are a gift to nursing, our community and so deserving of this award. Congratulations!

Wendy Doll, RN, Emergency Care

Nancy Billington, Administrative Director Patient Care Perioperative Services

Nancy was nominated for the Daisy Award in recognition of the extraordinary care provided during anxious moments in the OR for a fellow Valley View employee.

[quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“I was alone. No family as my husband was in the mountains hunting. As they were wheeling me into the OR, Nancy saw me. She immediately dressed into OR attire and was at my bedside while they put me under keeping my nerves as bay. I do not have a good history when coming out of anesthesia so having to have surgery without my family was most frightening for me. When I woke in the recovery, Nancy was there. Over my 20+ years of working in this field, I have found it a rarity to come across a nurse as versatile and dedicated as Nancy. She brings so much to Valley View. Not only to me but to everyone she comes into contact with both professionally and as a patient.” –Nominee

Nancy, the care you provide to everyone that comes in contact with you is outstanding. You have the ability to make someone feel comfortable and secure in the most anxious of times. You are so deserving of this award. Congratulations!

Nancy Billington, Administrative Director Patient Care Perioperative Services

Katie Connifey, RN

Katie was nominated for the Daisy Award in recognition of her compassionate care she provided to a mother and daughter during an unexpected trip to the emergency room. [quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]”Kati made us feel like she was the only patient she was caring for by bringing her hot soup, explaining everything in detail (and repeating it when necessary). She broke the news gently that my mom would have to stay the night and then took her up to telemetry and the most fabulous hospital room ever (424). Thanks to Katie! I forgot to mention we are from Michigan and here for a family reunion. Katie is a wonderful nurse – knowledgeable and caring.” –Nominee

Katie, thank you for the compassionate and skillful care you provide to all your patients. You are an outstanding role model in our nursing community and so deserving of this award. Congratulations!

Katie Connifey, RN

Phyllis Figueira, RN

Phyllis received multiple nominations for the extraordinary care, compassion and expertise she provided to families in their time of need. [quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“…she is an angel in scrubs… Phyllis became a huge part of our lives – the experience, compassion and understanding she had for our certain situation was the strength me and my family needed… blessed that I had Phyllis with me. I honestly don’t think it would have been possible otherwise.  Phyllis you were put on this earth to do exactly what you do. You are a hero! You will always have a special place in our hearts. With gratitude and love” –Nominator [quote align=”left” color=”#COLOR_CODE”]“Her compassion and phenomenal care helped our daughter get through the most difficult days of her whole life. Our whole family is grateful for the excellent care she and our whole family received.” -Nominator

Phyllis, thank you for all you do as a nurse in the family birthplace and for the love and care you bring to our patients, staff and community every day.

Phyllis Figueira, RN, Family Birthplace

How to nominate a nurse

Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians, and employees may nominate a nurse by picking up a nomination card outside of the Valley View Hospital Café, which can be submitted there, or by mail.

Mail to:

Jackie Kaminiski; Attention Education department 1906 Blake Ave
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

Nomination form:

Send completed nomination to:DaisyAward@vvh.org