nursing recognitionThe DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses recognizes the very special work nurses 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. They are recognized as outstanding role models in our nursing community.

This is Rebecca Pecha, BSN, RN, Internal Medicine/Pulmonary, Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, she received the DAISY Award in December 2012:

Back in September, I needed to be hospitalized a second time after having a serious stomach virus. I have Crohn’s Disease (diagnosed when I was ten years old). I am now forty three years old. So, it goes without saying that I am qualified to consider myself a professional patient. I have lived in two states Illinois and Wisconsin) and eight cities in both states.

Therefore, I have had the unfortunate pleasure of being an inpatient in more than a few hospitals in my career as a patient. Your hospital by far ranks number 1! Besides the amazing physician staff and transport staff, along with tech staff, my honest opinion to what ranks you number 1 to me is your nursing staff! Every single one of your staff deserves an award!

So, when I heard about this award you give (the DAISY Award), you can imagine how hard it must have been for me to choose one special nurse among all the special ones. Each nurse brought something special to their shift in taking care of me. They are were so nice, caring, professional, kind, always asking what more they could do to make me feel better or feel more comfortable. However, in order for you to understand why I am nominating who I am nominating, I have to tell you a little about my stay so you’ll understand your amazing nurse.

This was my second hospital stay in less than two weeks. This stay was for about 8 days, and during that time I was very ill with pancreatitis. But the difference in this stay for me was the last time I’d been hospitalized was nearly 10 years before, quite a long time for me. 

For someone with chronic illness, it is almost a lifetime. I suppose in those 10 years I’d begun to trick myself into believing that I’d outrun my own illness and I’d never be in a hospital again. So when I got sick the first time, from the stomach flu, and it was quite horrid – but then I was sent home to recover after four days, I felt the worst was behind me. When I got so ill again, this time with pancreatitis, and was in so much pain, felt so ill and was admitted, it was a slippery slope towards feeling quite blue about being in hospitals again. Then I met Nurse Rebecca Pecha.

Rebecca always seemed to know when I needed to talk a little more, and she stayed to chat with me. When she found me lamenting on how “I can’t believe I’m in a hospital again after all these years,” she’d say the right thing to point out the positive or she’d make me laugh about something.  When she left I was always feeling better, more cheerful.

When I seemed to be less talkative, she sensed my depression. She stayed the extra minute or two and asked questions about my family and that helped bring me out of my doldrums.

Another very special quality about Rebecca was her nursing communitynatural sensitivity. I am an Orthodox Jew and part of the time during my stay it was either my Sabbath or my New Year (Rosh Hashanah Holiday) and there are certain things like writing that I can’t do. Though she might not have exactly understood completely my restrictions, she was ever so respectful without making me feel awkward or uncomfortable.

When she found out that I had a dog at home that I was missing very much, she got very excited and told me about a program at the hospital where dogs could visit patients. Within hours she made it happen! The visit with my dog was so special! Just me being able to cuddle with him really helped me get better - enough to go home – of that I am convinced!  All thanks to Rebecca letting me even know about that program and making it happen so quickly!

Once, when my doctors prescribed a foul-tasting liquid medication called a “GI cocktail” I was a bit reserved to try it. It looked bright pink and smelled nothing like delicious cocktails normally served in up-scale establishments!  Rebecca began preparing it for me to take my medication and I joked to her, “Does my cocktail at least come with an umbrella?”

She laughed and, without pause and with her back to me, she continued to prepare the medicine. Seconds later she turned around and handed me the concoction and in it was a small, plastic med-cup with a handsome, honest-to-goodness umbrella! I felt mixed with surprise, glee impressiveness, and this warm sense of being cared for. Rebecca really cared about her patients - she really cared about me! I took the medicine laughing and I think it tasted okay because of that cute little umbrella she made out of a med-stir-stick and a folded alcohol packet!

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

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