The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) has announced the first three winners of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, an award which recognizes nurses for the amazing efforts they perform every day. The winners of the awards, Alyssa Lasek, RN, Jessica Roberts, RN and Dan Santoro, RN, each received a hand carved statue, a framed certificate and scholarship opportunities for continued learning.

Each of the winners were selected from a pool of nominations submitted by patients and/or family members then evaluated by a group of peers from across the health system.

“We are so proud of every single one of our nurses,” said Edna Dunn, interim chief nursing officer for MVHS. “Each of the winners is so deserving of this honor for the extraordinary care, compassion and clinical excellence they demonstrate every day.”

Lasek, a nurse on the Maternal Child Services unit at the St. Luke’s Campus, was nominated for the kindness and compassion she displayed when a COVID-positive patient came in worried about her soon-to-be-born baby.

“I was scared because I didn’t want anything bad to happen to my daughter,” the nomination read. “Alyssa went above and beyond to explain things to me and keep me informed of everything, every step of the way. She did not treat me any different because of me being COVID positive.”

Roberts, who works on the Medical/Surgical unit (3A) of the St. Elizabeth Campus, was nominated for her commitment to quality and diligence in keeping the family members of a patient informed when they could not be present with him due to COVID restrictions.

“My father reports that he is getting great care and the nurses are very attentive,” said the nominator. “Last week, I called the hospital looking for an update on my father, I left a message for the RN to give me a call. Having known that Jessica was working 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I assumed that she’d gotten busy and was not able to call. Then at 9 p.m., several hours after her shift ended, she called to provide an update. I can understand that while communicating with the families is important, her patients were her priority. Her call provided me and my siblings with an encouraging update before we all went to bed.”

Santoro, who works on the Intensive Care Unit at the St. Elizabeth Campus, was nominated for providing comfort to a family who could not be with their loved one during his final hours. “Dan’s compassion was a comfort,” the nomination read. “Especially holding the phone to his ear so we could say ‘I love you,’ one last time. Make sure you let (him) know how thankful we are.”

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

“When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do,” said Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, CEO and co-founder of The DAISY Foundation. “The kind of work the nurses at MVHS are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”


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