July 15, 2019

Second quarter DAISY Awards honor four extraordinary nurses

DAISY Awards are given to great nurses all over the United States and in many other countries. This is Vanderbilt’s latest group.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has announced the second quarter of 2019 recipients of the DAISY Award, a new recognition for extraordinary nurses who exemplify compassion toward patients and families.

VUMC is distributing the award in partnership with The DAISY Foundation, which was formed in 1999 to honor the memory of J. Patrick Barnes, a 33-year-old man who died of complications of the autoimmune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). Barnes’ family was moved by the care they received from his nurses and wanted to recognize them as a way to preserve his memory. Therefore, DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.

In offering the award, Vanderbilt joins more than 3,000 health care facilities and schools of nursing in all 50 states and 17 other countries.  VUMC nurse committees determine the individual recipients.

This is the Medical Center’s third round of DAISY Awards, which honor three recipients — one each from Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and The Vanderbilt Clinics. Previous winners of the DAISY award are here and here. The award is open to all licensed nurses and anyone can nominate — including co-workers, patients and their families. Nominations may be made here.

The awards are made quarterly, except for Vanderbilt Behavioral Health, which gives its award twice a year. Recipients will be honored with a certificate, badge pin and a sculpture made in Zimbabwe called “A Healer’s Touch.”

The winners of this group of DAISY awards are:

Donna Atherton, RN, from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Clinic of Vanderbilt Adult Clinics.

Donna Atherton. From the nomination: “I first met Donna Atherton on Feb. 14, 2018, when I drove from Florida after six months of numerous doctor visits; where the Florida doctors could not determine what was wrong with me. I was hurting, scared and frustrated when Donna walked in the examination room and saw how upset I was. She took time, sat down with me, calmed me down and explained in detail what to expect with the numerous tests that I was about to endure at Vanderbilt Medical Center. … I could not have made it through my miraculous journey without the loving care and thoughtfulness of Donna Atherton, the nurse who has become my partner for life! I believe Donna is beyond deserving of the DAISY award for her care, attention and love she has shown me throughout my journey from diagnosis to healing.” Photo by Susan Urmy 


Mary Hannah Baker, BSN, RN, of Pediatric Cardiology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Mary Hannah Baker. From the nomination: “Hannah has an amazing bedside manner. She remained positive throughout her time with us. She was always proactive with feeding our son and bringing supplies before we even had to ask. On the days she didn’t have us she stopped in to check on our son, which made us feel loved and supported.” Photo by Susan Urmy


Emily Burton, BSN, RN, of the Adult 2 unit at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital.

Emily Burton. From the nomination: “Emily B. planned a ‘Gratitude Day’ the night before her Sunday double shift. I know she had worked multiple double shifts leading up to this day, but you would never know this just by her positive attitude, kindness and patience. Emily B. went to Target and bought a “Gratitude Tree” as a reward for contributing our own ideas of things we are grateful for. She also brought in two dozen doughnuts to tie the topic all together, she also planned and led a group meeting on the topic of gratitude. Emily B. helped me focus on how many blessings I have in my life. In summary, Emily B. goes above and beyond every single day at work to make a difference in the patients’ lives. She truly cares.” Photo by Susan Urmy


Rachel Henson, BSN, RN, of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital. 

Rachel Henson. From the nomination: “Our 28-year-old son went into cardiac arrest on Monday, 2/4/19 and was stabilized at an outlying facility before being transferred to Vanderbilt. Rachel was assigned to be his nurse on Tuesday morning, and that was just the beginning of an amazing journey.  From the moment she first entered his room, she was very personable, caring and understanding; but above all she talked to Kyle and treated him as if she had known him forever. Her clinical skills were outstanding and she did everything within her power to ensure he received the best care possible. Before she left her shift on Tuesday, she already seemed like part of our family. She told Kyle it was her intent to see him through his entire stay. … Had it not been for her dedication, persistence, and holistic care, Kyle most likely would not have been able to provide the gift of life to six organ recipients in the early hours of Saturday morning 2/9/19. Rachel didn’t stop giving of herself at the end of Kyle’s hospitalization.  She also attended the funeral and continues to support us all.” Photo by Joe Howell