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Walter Reed Bethesda Salutes Extraordinary Nurses


By Bernard S. Little

WRNMMC Command Communications

Walter Reed Bethesda recently honored its August, September and October DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) award winners for their extraordinary nursing care at the medical center.
Army Pfc. Ashley Coyle of 5 West, Rhonda Coutain of 3 Center, and Army Sgt. Russell Beeman of 4 Center, received their awards from WRB’s nursing leadership team in the honorees’ work areas.
A patient nominated Coyle, a licensed practical nurse on 5 West, for the August DAISY award, stating, “My stay on this unit was not lengthy, but when I met this nursing team member I knew I was in the care of an extraordinary nurse at Walter Reed. From the first moment she came to introduce herself, this nurse was concerned about me. This nurse asked all the right questions about pain levels and such…, had compassion beyond that, and a commitment to my care because she didn't just ask questions, but quickly saw to my needs and found answers to my questions.
“[Her] every visit to my room, while meeting and exceeding my needs, was professional and yet seemed personal,” added the patient, who wishes to remain anonymous. “I have no doubt this nurse treats everyone this way. This nurse became my advocate when my discharge was close, helping to make arrangements so my husband did not have to lose a full day of work. I am thankful for my excellent care from all the doctors and nurses, and believe that this nurse should be recognized for her part in that care. This nurse sets an exceptional and wonderful example for others.”
Similar comments were made by another WRB patient who nominated Coutain for the September DAISY award.  This patient, who also wishes to remain anonymous, stated about Coutain, a registered nurse on 3 Center: “I have never had a nurse like this nurse…she is the most pleasant, compassionate [and] caring person. This nurse not only cared for me as a patient, but also for my wife's needs and comfort. Her pleasantness allowed us to feel comfortable asking questions and getting answers.”
The patient, a retired Army command sergeant major who served 34 years in the military, added about Coutain: “Although it was time for this nurse to go home, she ensured that I got my medication and [she] didn't leave until she had taken care of my needs and my wife was comfortable. This nurse made sure the transition to the nurse who was coming in after her went smoothly…The world needs more people with the pleasantness, compassion and caring that this nurse displays at all times. My family and I thank her so much. This nurse didn't make us feel like patients, she made us feel like family.”  
A WRB visitor, the “trusted” friend of a patient, nominated Beeman for the October DAISY award. The nomination explained the visitor spent “most of each day and much of the evening” with his friend, the WRB patient, during his three-day stay at the hospital. “While there were a number of the nursing team staff [members] on the three units he was on who exercised noteworthy compassion and responsiveness to the needs of the patient, this nurse distinguished himself on the morning of June 30.”
The nomination stated the patient had two sleepless nights following surgery and he was experiencing soreness. “I reached out to the first team member I saw in the passageway and it was this nurse [Beeman]. Without hesitation, this nurse first said he [would] find cold packs [for the patient’s soreness] and then would work on coordinating [his desired] release. What I found in this nurse that morning was a mature, confident professional with a very positive, get-the-mission-accomplished attitude. This nurse’s exemplary performance of duties and the traits he demonstrated are a testament to all of the professional men and women (working) in military medicine who conscientiously and professionally conduct their duties despite the number of patients they may be assigned and the many demands placed on them.
“For those of you genuinely committed and passionate about your duties to assist service members and their families in a military hospital at a time when they rely so heavily upon you, your support is greatly appreciated and not taken for granted,” the nomination continued. “For this nurse [Beeman], thank you for taking the measures to meet the demands placed on you and the traits you exemplified on [this] morning,” it concluded.
The family of J. Patrick Barnes established the DAISY award and foundation for health-care facilities to recognize their nursing team members. In 1999, Barnes was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) and died shortly thereafter in Seattle, Washington. Grateful for the care nurses provided Barnes during his illness, his family began the DAISY award to recognize them for the extraordinary care they provide patients and their families every day.
Currently, more than 2,700 health-care facilities in 17 countries celebrate and honor nurses with the DAISY award. More than 60,000 nurses have been honored with the award after having been nominated for it by their patients, patients’ family members, their nursing and professional colleagues, as well as visitors to their health-care facilities. Each nomination tells the story of extraordinary compassion and care, explained Joan Loepker-Duncan, a cardiology service clinical nurse who serves on the WRB DAISY Award Selection Committee.
Loepker-Duncan explained the WRB’s DAISY nurse recognition program began at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the nursing team carried the program over to WRB when WRAMC and the National Naval Medical Center joined forces in 2011. Nearly 70 DAISY selectees have been honored at WRB. Those selectees included nurse practitioners, RNs, LPNs, corpsmen, medics and certified nursing assistants from inpatient and outpatients areas at WRB. More than 3,000 nominations have been received for DAISY awards since February 2012 at WRB with an honoree chosen monthly.
Nominations for the DAISY award can be submitted to any nurse or clerk at WRB, or by e-mail to joan.loepkerduncan.civ@mail.mil. Nominations can be mailed to Joan Loepker-Duncan, WRNMMC, 8930 Brown Drive, Bldg. 9, Room 2894, Bethesda, Maryland 20889. For additional information about the DAISY award at WRB, contact Joan Loepker-Duncan at 301-319-4617.