By Bernard S. Little
WRNMMC Command Communications
The Directorate of Nursing Services at Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center recently honored four of their team members, as well as
their former director, with DAISY nursing awards.
Each month, the WRNMMC nursing team recognizes one of their
own with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, established by the DAISY
Foundation and family of J. Patrick Barnes to recognize nurses and the care and
support they provide patients and their families.
In 1999, Barnes was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) and died at the age of 33 from its
complications. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.
Appreciative of the nursing care Patrick received during his hospitalization,
the Barnes family created the DAISY award and piloted the program at the
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where he was cared for during the latter stages
of his life.
Nurses recognized with the DAISY award are honored for
demonstrating “excellence in the delivery of patient care, extraordinary
compassion, courage, integrity, and promotion of their professional nursing
practice,” according to the WRNMMC DAISY award selection committee.
Nurses at WRNMMC who recently earned the DAISY Award for
Extraordinary Nurses include: Navy Hospitalman Alona Altuhov, of 4 East
(February); Navy Ensign Elexa Sherman, of 5 West (March); Navy Lt. j.g. Alex
Pantages, of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (April); and Agatha Onwuka of
Discharge Planning (May). Also, Navy Capt. Valerie Morrison, former director of
nursing services at WRNMMC, received the DAISY Nurse Leader Award on May 30
prior to her departure from the medical center for a new assignment.
DAISY Nurse Leader
The DAISY Nurse Leader Award honors executive leaders,
middle managers, educators and preceptors who supervise nurses in health-care
facilities. The award also recognizes nursing leaders for supporting and
recognizing their direct care staff for the help and services they provide
beneficiaries and families.
A teary-eyed Morrison, who served as the WRNMMC nursing
director for more than two years, said her Walter Reed Bethesda assignment was
probably one of the “most challenging, but exciting tours during her 28 years
of service.” She called the nursing team at WRNMMC “amazing,” saluting them
with the declaration, “This is not about me; this is all about you and what you
do every day for our deserving beneficiaries and their families.”
Anyone can nominate a member of the WRNMMC nursing team for
the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The recognition program at WRNMMC
carried over from Walter Reed Army Medical Center when WRAMC combined with the
National Naval Medical Center in 2011 to form WRNMMC. Since February 2012, the
WRNMMC DAISY award selection committee has received more than 4,000 nominations
for the DAISY award, selecting approximately 70 recipients. Those recipients
included nurses, nurse practitioners, corpsmen, medics and certified nursing
assistants from inpatient and outpatients areas at WRNMMC.
A patient nominated Altuhov for the February DAISY award,
stating the Sailor “was sharp, attentive, kind and very professional” during an
unexpected injection incident. “This nurse is a keeper and very level headed in
a crisis. I certainly hope her the best. This nurse was great,” the patient
March DAISY Award
A family member of a patient who nominated Sherman for the
March DAISY award shared similar comments about the ensign, stating, “[I] just
wanted to let you know your staff was exceptionally helpful and professional.
One particular nurse on duty last night who helped us move my husband to
another unit is the one that really went the extra mile. As soon as we entered
the new unit, it was bare (furniture wise) [with] only one upright chair in the
room. So I asked the folks at the nursing station if there was at least a couch
that we could have so that I would have something to sleep on as companion for
my husband. There was none, so I went back inside the room, so upset.
“About 30 minutes later, this nurse and the nurse on the new
unit were hauling a loveseat couch [into the room]. We were so thankful,” the
family member added.
April DAISY Award
A staff provider nominated Pantages for the April DAISY
award, explaining, “I’ve worked with him on multiple occasions throughout the
year, and he is consistently one of the best nurses I have ever worked with
both in the unit and as a RRT (rapid response team) nurse. His patients
routinely praise this nurse's care.”
The nominator stated Pantages “went beyond the
responsibilities and led directly to a successful resuscitation” of a patient
on April 1. “As soon as we arrived (in the operating room), this nurse became
invaluable to the resuscitation process. In addition to literally running to
get an ultrasound and other supplies [that] this nurse knew we would need, he
provided exemplary clinical acumen and leadership during the code. On his own
initiative, this nurse helped organize the nursing staff/OR techs/residents,
ensuring proper rotation of personnel performing CPR so that the high quality
could be maintained.
“While doing this, he also consistently anticipated the next
steps in care, having the medications already drawn up and ready to give prior
to the team needing them so that there was no delay in administration,” the
“When there was any difficulty in conducting care, this
nurse addressed the issue and fixed it to include troubleshooting the arterial
line and replacing the defibrillation pads mid-code….This nurse then continued
to lead the efforts in the unit, working well beyond when the shift ended,” the
“Overall, his initiative in going beyond the job description
to go to the OR, his expert clinical judgement and leadership during the code
and willingness to extend a long shift to help care for the patient led
directly to this patient having a good outcome. Then in subsequent days, he
continued to check on the patient's progress despite not being the primary
nurse, showing continued compassion and commitment to care. This nurse's action
truly reflected the highest level of the health-care professionals that I have
ever worked with,” the nomination concluded.
May DAISY Award
A family member nominated Onwuka for the May DAISY Award,
stating about the discharge planning nursing team member, “This type of nurse
by the nature of her duties tend to be helpful to patients and families as they
leave the hospital to go either to a rehab facility or home. In my 75 years,
I’ve met a lot of them, but this nurse stands out.”
The military spouse added that Onwuka was “aware and
compassionate” concerning the patient’s and family situation. “[She] helped me
get through this third in a row hospital experience. The spouse added Onwuka
provided her with additional care information for after her husband’s discharge
from WRNMMC, and also “spent extra time in her busy schedule to explain the
information. This nurse asked the right questions and was extremely
professional.” The spouse stated Onwuka also did more research into patient
care options to assist the couple after the husband’s discharge.
“[Onwuka] went above and beyond in the commitment to giving
quality customer service,” the family member continued. “This nurse serves as
an inspiration to all who meet her with such a positive, can-do attitude. This
nurse made a real difference in our hospital experience,” the nomination