A nurse at Parkwest Medical Center was honored this morning with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day. The DAISY Award was established in 1999 by the family of a patient who had received extraordinary care and compassion from his nurses during his final days. Today The DAISY Award was presented to April Collins, RN, from 3 Montvue, our cardiopulmonary unit. 

Headshot of nurse April Collins holding bouquet of daisies.She was nominated for the award by a patient’s son, Stephen W.

Here is an excerpt from the nomination

“My mother was admitted to the 3rd floor of the Montvue Wing on Dec. 11. She had been battling small cell lung cancer and had just finished her 17th radiation treatment and second round of Chemo. She was dehydrated and her white blood cell count had gone almost to zero. Her esophagus was raw from the radiation and she could barely whisper to speak. Everything was a major undertaking for her at this point including drinking and eating. When April first came in to mom’s room, she was cheerful, upbeat and very friendly. Mom immediately felt at ease with her. When April would come in to check up on mom she would take mom’s hand, look into her eyes and greet her with “hello sweetie,” or a “hello sugar,” and mom would just light up, regardless of how miserable she felt or how bad her day was going, mom always had a smile for April.

  As the days progressed mom’s condition took a turn for the worse when it was discovered that she had a brain bleed. She lost her ability to speak after her second seizure and was put on a heavy regime of pain and anti-seizure medications. With all of the anti-seizure meds and pain meds mom was being given she was very sleepy and incoherent the majority of the time. April would enter the room, take mom’s hand, greet her with a smile and a friendly voice and mom would always turn to her and smile back. It did not seem to matter how medicated she was, she always had a positive response for April. I told April, “I think you are mom’s angel,” and I truly believe she was.

During the worse moments April was a caring and reassuring voice to all of us especially mom. She listened to our concerns, answered our questions as best she could, and got answers for those she could not. She always had a smile and kind words, she referred to mom as “sweetie or honey or pumpkin,” and always brought out that smile. April truly cared how mom felt and mom knew it. When it came time for oral medications mom has always had problems with pills. Even though mom would choke and gag to get the smallest pills down, April somehow made it more bearable and doable for mom to get even the larger ones down. She was always there to share her kind words, lend a shoulder to cry on, or just offer up a hug when things seemed the worst for mom. April sat one evening with my sister and just talked with her, cried with her and consoled her. She stayed late at night to make sure the night nurse was fully updated on all aspects of mom’s condition to make sure that mom was getting the best care from the night nurse. Mom truly had a nursing dream team to care for her needs.

She was always so positive and upbeat, mom loved it when April came into the room, even on those darkest days she seemed to light up the entire room. It seemed she enabled mom to escape the nightmare she was living even if it was only for a few seconds. Her caring and sentiment were real, they were genuine, she was not just doing her job and putting on a front. One Dec. 15 mom had a series of seizures that resulted in her loss of the ability to talk. I was sitting with mom the following morning and she for the most part was unconscious, and I’m not really even sure if she knew I was there at that point. I was just talking away to her telling her about the day to day things I do, and I mentioned to her that April who had her day off the prior day was coming back on shift at 7 a.m., and with that mom (who had been unresponsive up until then) gave a big smile. I can’t say for sure, but I think mom was April’s first stop of the day. She came in just before 7 a.m. She took mom’s hand and gave the “Hi, sweetie,” and mom just beamed. She turned her head towards April, managed to open her eyes and a big smile came to her face. And this was the case every time April came in. It was truly magical to watch, it was like they were communicating on an entirely different wave length.

Amanda Makely with April and her daisy bouquet.
3 Montvue nurse manager pictured with her DAISY award winning nurse, April Collins.

Mom was discharged for end of life hospice on Dec. 18. April came into mom’s room to say goodbye. She bent down to give her a hug, and my mom who was heavily sedated raised her arm and reached for April and gave her a big hug in return. As I was leaving the floor I went to April to thank her for taking such great care of my mom. I could barely get the words out before I broke down and cried on her shoulder. I was not crying tears of despair but rather they were tears of joy for the compassion, relief and comfort that April provided my mom.

April’s compassion and bedside manner made my mom’s visit less clinical and sterile. I cannot think of anything more that any nurse could have done that would make them more deserving of this award. The DAISY award as I understand it is an award intended to recognize those nurses that go above and beyond their daily duties and can thereby be deemed as extraordinary. In my opinion there was nothing April did for mom that was ordinary. She exceeded ordinary. She exceeded extraordinary. She was a ray of hope for my mother to hold on to when it seemed all hope was lost. April will forever hold a very special place in my heart for all that she did for my mom.”

The DAISY Committee presented April with a pin, a certificate, daisies, The Healer’s Touch sculpture, and cinnamon rolls for her entire department to share. Congratulations to April! We appreciate her passion for nursing, and her commitment to always putting her patients first!

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee at Parkwest Medical Center to receive The DAISY Award. To nominate a nurse today visit www.TreatedWell.com/DAISY.