In late 1999, at the age of 33, Patrick Barnes woke up with some blood blisters in his mouth. A visit to the doctor revealed he had a dangerously low platelet count and he was admitted to the hospital. The diagnosis was the auto-immune disease ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura).
Here’s how Patrick’s father, Mark Barnes, describes the reason DAISY was created:
Bonnie (Patrick’s stepmother) and I are so fortunate that we were able to spend the eight weeks of Patrick’s hospitalization with him. During those weeks,Image of Bonnie and Mark Barnes we experienced the best of Nursing. We were there to witness his nurses’ clinical skill that dealt with his very complex medical situation, their fast thinking that saved his life more than once, and the nursing excellence that took them years to hone to the best of the profession. But frankly, as a patient family, we rather expected that Patrick would have great clinical care. What we did not expect was the kindness and compassion they showed Patrick and all of us in his family every day. We were awed by the way the nurses touched him and spoke with him, even when he was totally sedated. The way they informed and educated us eased our minds, and their sensitivity to what we were going through made a great difference in our experience in the hospital. They truly helped us through the darkest hours of our lives, with soft voices of hope and strong loving hugs that to this day, we still feel.
“Just days after he died, we began talking about what we would do to help fill the giant hole in our hearts that Patrick’s passing had left. His wife, Tena, came up with the acronym, DAISY, standing for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, and we filed our papers to become a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. As Bonnie, Tena, and I discussed what to do in Patrick’s memory, we knew that first and foremost, we needed to say Thank You for the gifts nurses give their patients and families every day, just as we had experienced.
“We created The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses and piloted the program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at the University of Washington Medical Center. It was their nurses who cared for Patrick during the last weeks of his life. We wanted to give patients, families, and co-workers an easy way to express their gratitude for nurses who provide extraordinary compassionate care. And we wanted the program to honor nurses all year long – not only during Nurses Week. At the time we started the program, we could not have anticipated that The DAISY Award would come to be regarded as a strategic tool for nurse recruitment, retention, and resilience, adopted by healthcare facilities across the continuum of care all over the U.S. and beyond. The creative ways nurses and their organizations have brought The DAISY Award to life to honor compassionate care have inspired and delighted us.”
The body of evidence revealing DAISY’s impact is significant. It is apparent that the Barnes Family’s effort at expressing personal, heartfelt appreciation to nurses for the important difference they make in all the lives they touch is having a powerful effect.