Nurse who cared for dying Patient honored with August DAISY Award

Published: Sept. 1, 2015

Cassie Russell, RN, is well known for the kind, loving, and Patient-centered care she provides to everyone she meets on the Medical Oncology unit. But it was her recent compassion for a dying young mother that stirred fellow Caregivers to nominate her for the August DAISY Award.

“She has a demeanor that is calm. She is present with her Patients so they feel like they are the only person she has to care for, and I experienced her compassion with this Patient,” said Palliative Care Service Manager Denise Egeland, RN, MSN.

Russell took extra time with the young mother to talk about her impending death, and to listen to her fears for her family, especially her six-year-old daughter, and even helped the Patient find ways to create a legacy for her child.

“She also went out of her way to order her Insomnia Cookies after finding out that she had a sweet tooth and had lost some weight,” said Egeland. “You could see how she lit up when Cassie came in the room, with or without the cookies.”

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, and the DAISY Award is a national program created in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died in 1999 of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, or ITP, at 33 years old. His family was overwhelmed by the skillful and amazingly compassionate Nurseswho cared for Pat, and the DAISY Foundation and Award were created as an expression of their gratitude.

The DAISY Award is a way to recognize and make visible the contribution and value of Nurses wherever nursing is practiced.

Russell is the perfect embodiment of everything the DAISY Award stands for, said Chief Nursing Officer Mary Lou Wesley, RN, MSN, who presented Russell with a certificate, a DAISY pin to wear at work, and a beautiful stone sculpture carved by the artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The sculpture depicts the embracing relationship Nurses have with their Patients.