daisy award nurseThe DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses recognizes outstanding members of the nursing community and the very special work they do every day. It was established by the DAISY Foundation in memory of the extraordinary nursing J. Patrick Barnes received when he was hospitalized. (DAISY is an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system.) This nursing recognition award program offers patients, families, and professional colleagues a way to honor nurses for all they do. The DAISY awardees consistently demonstrate excellence through their clinical expertise and extraordinary compassionate care.

This week we honor Mary Ray, BSN, RN, RN-BC of UF Health – Shands in Gainesville, Florida.​

Mrs. K is 57 with terminal brain cancer and is recently deaf as result. She was admitted to 65 Med Surg with MRSA pneumonia and a life expectancy of less than a month. Mr. K is 94, functionally deaf and lives in a nursing home. He then had a stroke and was admitted to Neuro ICU.

Mary Ray, BSN, RN, RN-BC and nursing coordinator Michelle Perkins both went to Neuro ICU to determine his condition before notifying his wife. He was awake, alert, and had received TPA with good prognosis. So they put a mask on her and took her to see him. Michelle and Mary said they were like two high school kids in love! Mrs. K's mask came off and there was lots of kissing, hugging, and communicating through writing notes professing their love for each other.

Mr. K told his wife he wanted her to come to live at the nursing home with him when they got out of the hospital so he could take care of her. She said she didn't think she would make it out and would wait for him in heaven. He said she would not have to wait long because he does not want to be on this earth without her and would be right behind her.

daisy award mary ray rn

Michelle and Mary arranged for both patients to be in the same room that evening and moved the furniture so the beds were pushed together. Mr. and Mrs. K spent the evening and next eleven days cuddling on 65MS while we worked to prepare each for transition to sub-acute care.

Mrs. K's daughter is in the service, stationed in Alabama and made a couple of visits while here. Otherwise, we were their family. Staff came to know their preferences and personalities and worked compassionately to meet their needs and provide emotional support. We worked with a long-term nursing facility to arrange for both to be discharged there and placed in the same room.

Inseparable, they even left the hospital at the same time, together!

For more information about The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, visit DAISYfoundation.org.

Click here to read more about The DAISY Foundation and its awardees.