Rhonda Kestler, RN, BSN is the most recent recipient of the DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day. Kestler is a nurse from the Jordan-Waters Heart Center at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital–Audrain. It was her compassion for a patient and her family that led to her nomination.
Kestler would say she was just doing her job, but the daughter of a recent patient at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital–Audrain has a different opinion. The patient’s daughter was the one who nominated Kestler for the DAISY Award for being there for her family in what she called “their darkest day.”
In the nomination, Kestler was commended for being extremely positive and caring while offering the family emotional support. She was also praised for taking the time to explain to the family all the treatment the patient was going through.
“The nurses at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital–Audrain consistently provide patients with exceptional care. It is wonderful that the appreciation for their hard work can be shown through the DAISY Award,” Kari Wilson, vice president of patient care services/chief nursing officer for SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital–Audrain said. “We are proud to be among the healthcare organizations participating in the DAISY Award program.”
The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, Calif., and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at the age of 33, in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), an auto-immune disease.
The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.
Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of nurses, ancillary staff and volunteers at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital–Audrain to receive the DAISY Award. Awards are given throughout the year at presentations in front of the nurse’s colleagues, physicians, patients, and visitors. Each honoree is registered as part of the national program and receives a certificate commending her or him for being an “Extraordinary Nurse” as well as a beautiful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Africa. The nurse and his or her unit is also treated to cinnamon rolls, as this was Barnes’ way of saying thank you to the nursing staff caring for him.