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What is the DAISY Award?

An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, The DAISY Foundation was formed in November 1999, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The nursing care Patrick received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family. Visit for more information.


September 2021

Kellie King, ASN, RN, 4E, neuro stepdown

My dad came in looking like a stroke patient. Kellie worked with me non-stop because I kept telling everyone that, "This is not my dad!" She believed me when I talked. My dad finally came out of a "COVID stroke" because she fought for him to get off the narcotics. She demanded that he not be catheterized so that he could continue to walk and not develop pneumonia. This all sounds so simple, but when you are alone in a hospital, around the clock, for days, you are looking for guidance in these unprecedented times. She saved us.

October 2021

Jacqueline Cox , RN, 6N, medical/oncology

My niece is nonverbal and handicapped. She has been a patient for a week with pneumonia. It is a challenge to care for her, as she is not able to answer questions or volunteer information when she is in distress. Historically, her condition can change rapidly. After a few days as a patient, she seemed to be getting slightly better, when suddenly her oxygen dropped, her temp shot up, and her heart rate increased alarmingly. Jackie jumped into action. She repositioned her to best help her breathing, suctioned her to free her air passage, ordered an immediate breathing treatment, and much more. After placing cold washcloths at various parts of her body, Jackie stood guard at her bedside, making more decisions and adjustments until the situation was under control. She even held my niece’s hand to give her comfort. For the rest of the shift, Jackie was constantly checking on her. The next day Jackie was no longer assigned to my niece, but she stopped in to see how she was. I am amazed at how the nurse was able to think fast and make smart decisions, addressing every aspect of the situation. She not only displayed excellent nursing skills, but also leadership and natural compassion for the patient.

November 2021

Amber Jolley, RN, labor and delivery

My husband and I had been praying for a baby for years. Once we finally found out we were expecting and made it through that first trimester, I was faced with a sub-chorionic hematoma. The sound of the diagnosis alone was enough to scare me, but knowing that it was cause to be monitored more closely caused some anxiety. Fast forward to the third trimester and we were referred to the high-risk doctor due to IUGR. Our little girl just didn’t seem to be gaining weight like she should have been. I was scheduled to be induced early as my physicians were concerned about my placenta failing to provide baby with all she needed. When admitted to the hospital, I was a nervous wreck. I felt like my husband and I had been on such a long journey to get our little girl earth side happy, healthy, and strong. I had so many questions and concerns throughout the entire laboring process. My nurse, Amber, went above and beyond to ensure that I was as comfortable and educated as I could be throughout the entire process. She thoroughly answered any questions, and if she did not know the answer, she would seek out someone who did. That alone comforted me in knowing that she was working to make sure the information she provided was accurate. When it came time to push she never left my side. As soon as our little one was born, she was placed on my chest but there was no crying. A team immediately came and took her from me and began working on her in the corner. As a new Mom, all I could do was cry. I cried in fear for my daughter and her well-being. Amber remained by my side and kept me informed throughout the entire process. She reassured me that she was going to be okay and continued to encourage me as the placenta was delivered. Amber may never fully know the impact that she had on me and my husband, but she provided care and encouragement in one of the scariest times of our lives. Although we remained in the hospital for several days after delivery and we were moved to a regular room out of her department, she came to check on us each shift she had while we were there! Her job description didn’t require she invest herself the way she did, but she displayed a true love for her job, her patients, and their needs.

December 2021

Donna Buttrum, RN, 5East

I was admitted to CRMC with COVID pneumonia for 10 days. I needed to go to the restroom and on my way back to the bed, I felt very weak. Donna got me into bed and immediately put me on BiPAP. She was so calm and cool about the situation that I didn't realize that my oxygen level had dropped to 60. With her being calm, I was calm. I gave my daughter-in-law’s number to be the contact, due to her being a nurse. Donna called her at any time during the night, no matter how late, to give updates. She always checked on me, even when she had rotated to another patient assignment. I am an employee of CRMC, working in Food and Nutrition. I believe with all my heart, that God gave me this nurse. It wasn't until the day before I was being discharged that I found out how bad I actually was. I should not have made it. But God knew that this lady would be the one that could get me through this. He was not done with me yet.

January 2022

Ken Potter, RN, emergency department

My three-year-old daughter had an ER visit for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. She had been sick for 48 hours and was pitiful. Even though I am a nurse, she is my BABY! This nurse reassured me she would be okay and made me feel comfortable. I knew she would need an IV for hydration and he got her in one stick. I am eternally grateful for his nursing skills and how quickly he completed the orders given. I pray we never have another ER visit, but if we do, I would hope to have this nurse again! He is most certainly where he needs to be.

February 2022

John Beal, RN, 5N

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the amazing care my father has received during his stay at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. In life, we experience the good and the bad of almost everything but rarely have the opportunity to truly experience the exemplary, the best of the best. My father, a 78-year-old Army veteran with a multitude of health issues, was admitted to the COVID unit. Despite the pain, discomfort, and mental exhaustion my father was in, John was able to make a connection with him immediately and put him at ease. He was very attentive to his needs and treated my father with respect and dignity. John was very knowledgeable and had a way of speaking and explaining things that was easy for my dad to understand. Perhaps what I appreciated the most about John was how easily it was for my father to come to trust them. He had complete faith that if John said he would do it, it would be done. And in the event of a delay, he frequently stopped by to provide updates. It was like he instinctively knew what my father needed to keep his mind at ease. Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most was when John called the room, on his day off, to check on him. I had the pleasure of watching John over the course of 4 days. The service and attentiveness were top-notch, but what was most comforting was the friendly, family atmosphere that was created. In fact, my father even commented, that despite the pain and discomfort, he was actually enjoying himself.

April 2022

Autumn Sims, RN, labor and delivery

Her selflessness and bravery played a large role in keeping our doula in the room and therefore making my wife’s birthing process a highly favorable one.

May 2022

Brooklyn Cantrell, RN, ICU

She made my dad feel at ease being here. I could see the look in his eyes when he told me about her, just that short amount of time he was proud to have known her. She made him feel as if she truly cared not as if he were just a part of her job. She made him feel like most everyone here at the hospital actually cares. He said she was someone special. She is a special kind of nurse and probably deserves more accolades than this award can give. She did/does her job well and did/does it with feeling. I’m sure she’s touched other patients just as deeply. Unfortunately, my father passed away 5/6, but I know he wanted me to recognize her.

June 2022

Stephen Sarr, RN, 4N

I had been sick for a very long time before coming in to the ER. I am scared of hospitals and was not looking forward to my stay after being admitted. I was moved floors a few times during my weeks stay and was treated okay but once I got to this nurses’ care, my heart was at peace. He was the most gentle, soft spoken, and caring nurse I think I have ever met in all my life. He went above and beyond to help me understand all my medical issues, (which ended up being several unexpected long-term/life-changing issues). He reassured me that I would be okay and he would be with me every step of the way while I was under his care. He kept my mind busy by asking about my family and my grandson (who is my world!). Every time he came into my room he had a smile on his face and never acted like I was a bother to him. He even made me laugh a few times during my stay, which was good for my soul. He never put me off or made me wait hours when I needed something, which I experienced on another floor. My husband who is also on oxygen and not in good health would stay with me during the day and this nurse always made sure to check on him and explain everything he was doing to care for me. He was so patient and could tell by looking at me, some days, if I needed certain meds or if I needed to be checked on more frequently. I truly believe I made the recovery I did because of the kind heart he has. He made me feel like family, like I was important, and that I mattered. I will forever be thankful for my nurse and the love in his heart. This man is going to do great things in his life, and I hope he always knows how much he means to everyone he cares for.

July 2022

Pam Farish, RN, 6N

She is a very caring nurse who spares no expense when it comes to her patients and their family. A patient was admitted to her unit with abdominal pain and decreased appetite. It was found that he had a very aggressive B Cell Lymphoma. She spent countless hours with the patient's significant other throughout the day explaining the disease and answered any questions she had. When the patient and significant other decided they needed to get married that day. She made the referral to the chaplain to begin the process. She then began calling other departments of the hospital. She called the gift shop and asked for a bouquet to be made. She called the kitchen and asked for them to make a wedding cake. She called another department who had an electric keyboard and requested music. She obtained some decorations for their room from another department. It was truly amazing watching her continue to make efforts to make this a special time for the patient and his spouse. She was there for the "ceremony" and helping to take some photos for the lovely couple. She made sure they had a souvenir cake topper plates and utensils. She continued her amazing care for the rest of the day and the following days by various different things but especially by bringing meals from the kitchen to the patient and spouse so they could spend their time together and so the wife wouldn't miss a visit from a doctor. She is truly an angel. I am so happy our paths have crossed.

August 2022

Todd Arnold, RN, ICU

The nomination came from the granddaughter of a patient who was in the hospital beginning Memorial Day 2022 and was in the ICU for a week. The patient was extremely agitated, but the granddaughter calmed her down by singing church hymns to her. Todd saw her doing this and asked if he could bring the piano in. “What happened next was a shocking display of just how much this nurse cares for their patients. They brought in an electric piano and several ICU workers I did not know, including a physician, to accompany with singing. The nurse played several hymns for my grandma. I wish I had recorded it. It was truly unbelievable. They sang for close to 30 minutes and had a concert just for my grandma which calmed her down completely. The nurse, and the student nurse, as well as many others went FAR beyond any expectation I had ever hoped for. I am forever grateful for this nurse initiating this special concert. Nominating for a DAISY Award is the least I can do. Thank you so much for this kind gesture and for making wonderful memories of Cookeville Regional Medical Center.” Congratulations, Todd!

September 2022

Samuel Durham, RN, CVICU

My husband suffered sudden cardiac death on Monday, Sept 12, while working on the farm. He was brought by ambulance to CRMC and taken to the CVICU to be assessed. He was put in a room under sedation and that is where we met Sam already at work taking care of my husband. It was obvious to us that he truly cares for his patients. He constantly monitored vital signs, while making him as comfortable as possible. Through a long process of cooling his body down and then slowly warming him back up, this nurse worked tirelessly to take care of his every need while answering my questions and seeing to my comfort as well. My husband’s condition has a 3% recovery rate and because of this nurses’ knowledge, skill, and level of detail, he upped my husband’s chances to survive. The entire CVICU staff was excellent but Sam stood out as MORE caring and MORE giving. We are thankful we know him, an outstanding nurse and human being.

October 2022

Allison Gernt, RN, ED case worker

Her nomination comes from the granddaughter of a patient. My grandmother always tried to avoid going to the hospital. However, the beginning October, I insisted that she went. My grandmother arrived at Cookeville Regional with pneumonia and a sore throat with severe chest pains. Our RN case manager came into the emergency room with such hopefulness and immediately connected with my grandmother. She explained to my grandmother that she would need tests done on her throat and chest and helped admit her to the hospital. Early the next day the doctor came in and explained my grandmother has a mass in her chest and lungs. This upset our family greatly, as well as my grandmother. When our case manager had heard this news, she came to see our family in the hospital room after her working hours to pray for our family. This gave our family ease, knowing how kind she is and knowing that she will go above and beyond for any family who comes through these doors at CRMC.

December 2022

Ashleigh L. Dalton, BSN, RN, stepdown and peds

Ashleigh L. Dalton, BSN, RN, stepdown and peds, is the recipient of the December 2022 DAISY Award. Her nomination comes from the mother of a three week old little boy who was admitted to the hospital after a positive RSV test and needed oxygen. Ashleigh was always ready to answer any questions about medications and machines being used. After one night, the team decided the child was getting worse and he would be transferred to Vanderbilt where he could have more targeted care. The mother was scared for her child and Ashleigh immediately comforted her. She told her that he would be taken care of and that there are great doctors ready to help him. She seemed like she was born to be a nurse. She was so quick but calm and gentle in all she did for the infant. Before they were transferred, Ashleigh made sure she had things to take a shower and get ready for what would end up being a two week stay at Vanderbilt. “My son is now well and we are home but I could not have even begun that journey to support my son without the support of that total stranger whom I now consider a friend.”

January 2023

Ashley Frizzell, RN, 5 North

Ashley went above and beyond to help a patient's family find out what was going on. In November 2022, the patient was admitted from the ER. A few days later, the patient contracted a virus and was very ill, and by the end of that week, she was out of it mentally. The nurses were thinking she was always like and had dementia. But one of the nurses on duty when she was admitted knew this was not her normal behavior and looked back through her old records to see if she could find any answers. The family started sharing history with Ashley and Ashley kept digging into the patient's records and ran additional tests. The nomination states, "It was a group effort with Ashley, the nurse who was on duty when she was admitted and a nurse practitioner, but I feel like if Ashley had not kept digging into the history and talked to the hospitalist who treated her a few years ago, she would never improve. I'm happy to report she is doing therapy, getting stronger every day and her memory is improving more like she was before getting ill. "

February 2023

Sherry Taylor, RN, infusion center

Sherry Taylor, RN in the infusion center, is the recipient of the February 2023 DAISY Award. Her nomination is from a patient who has been to the same unit a few times and had several opportunities to observe the staff. “I have to say that I took note of this nurse’s capability of going way above and beyond the scope of normal patient care. She absolutely cares about each and every patient that comes in her unit and it shows. It was obvious to me after I observed all the nurses on my first visit that this nurse was exceptional. That quality that makes her so special is that it is just second nature to her. She seems to honestly enjoy her patients and that is refreshing, especially considering the kind of day she may have had before I got there. Sherry always has a great attitude and tries to find something that the patients may need, maybe things they didn’t know they needed until she offered, like a blanket. It seems as if she just started her day even in the afternoon after a hectic morning because she is so caring, friendly and helpful every day. She is so professional at all times.” Congratulations, Sherry!

March 2023

Heather Nolen, LPN, 5 East

Heather has been an exceptional nurse during my time at CRMC. She has attended to all my needs with extreme kindness and understanding. She is willing to do anything to make me more comfortable, even if it isn’t a pleasant experience. At the same time, she is telling me not to worry about causing her trouble. She has been very knowledgeable about my many medicines, always keeping a close check on what is allowed and when it should be administered. When my deep cough kept getting worse, she checked to see if a cough suppressant could be given. It helped a lot. Heather answered all my questions, sometimes reminding me that patients respond differently to different things. She made me feel like a special patient even though I feel like she treats all patients special. She said she loved the geriatric patients and I am definitely one of those. Thank you Heather.