Whidbey General Hospital awarded it’s first DAISY Foundation award to a nurse last month.
Curtis Shumate, the awardee, has been a nurse at WGH for five years, following a 25 year banking career. Shumate is an administrative supervisor at the hospital, which means he helps oversee the hospital at night. Before that, he was a nurse in many areas, including the emergency room, the Intensive Care Unit, OBGYN and more.
“That’s the one thing with a small hospital,” he said, “you tend to float around.”
The DAISY Foundation started in 1999, following the death of Patrick Barnes, who passed away from complications of an autoimmune disease, according to Melissa Barnes, vice president of the DAISY Foundation’s regional program, and sister-in-law of Patrick.
“My family knew when Patrick passed away that they wanted to do something in his memory,” she said. “But what they found that they kept talking about, over and over again, was … the incredible difference that Pat’s nurses made while he was in the hospital for eight weeks.”
The award, called DAISY as an acronym for Diseases Against Immune Systems, is about celebrating nurses for their acts of compassion beyond the job description, and includes a DAISY pin, a Healer’s Touch sculpture and a certificate signed by the chief of nursing officer and by co-founder of the foundation, Mark Barnes, father of Patrick.
The sculptures, made from serpentine stone, are created by 19 artists form the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe, and ethically imported for the foundation.
“No two sculptures are ever the same,” Melissa Barnes said. “They have great esteem for their healers, know that they … are being made for our nurses, so each one is made with extreme pride, and is signed by the artist.”
The foundation makes sure that not only the recipients are honored, but that every nominee is celebrated “by making sure that they know that someone took the time to write out a nomination,” according to Barnes. These nominations can be made by patients, families of patients and peers.
Patsy Kolesar, another nurse at WGH, nominated Curtis for the award. A committee of nurses from the hospital picked him as the recipient out of all the nominees.
“I am so happy that Curtis is our first DAISY award recipient, because it sets such a great example for what this award really means,” said Linda Gibson, Chief Nursing Officer at WGH.
To Curtis, she said, “You are really a walking example of the kind of extraordinary nurse that they were trying to recognize. You are one of those nurses that can be admired as a role model for professionalism and for your leadership.
“One of the many exceptional nurses at Whidbey General, you distinguish yourself not only by the way you practice nursing, but by being the extraordinary person that we have come to love and respect.”
Shumate did not know he received the award until he arrived at the hospital for the “meeting” he was invited to by Gaila Palo, head of the Nurse Practitioner Council that selected Shumate as the awardee. His wife, Dawn, and daughter, Corinne, surprised him at the hospital before he found out about receiving the award. He said his first reaction was, “I’ve got to be macho and not cry.”
“It’s very honoring,” he said of the award. “I think it reconfirms your commitment of your passion towards people and reaffirms that people do recognize what you’re doing.”