FHN is proud of our DAISY & BEE Award winners!

Every day, every person at FHN strives to provide exceptional, compassionate care to our patients and their loved ones. Now, there's a simple way, as part of an international program, to acknowledge and appreciate a nurse or other caregiver at FHN who makes a difference.

The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award is an international recognition program for hospitals that honors and celebrates the skillful, compassionate care nurses provide every day.

The DAISY Foundation was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes after he died from complications of the auto-immune disease ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) in 1999. During his hospitalization, his family deeply appreciated the care and compassion shown to Patrick and his entire family. When he died, they felt compelled to say "thank you" to nurses in a very public way: The DAISY Award.

In addition, the BEE (Being Exceptional Everyday) Award honors patient care (non-nurse) staff who assist a nurse or a patient and his or her family in delivering excellent patient care.

Patients or their loved ones are encouraged to share their story with an online nomination. Every few months, a multidisciplinary selection committee of FHN selects the DAISY and BEE Award honorees from those nominations.

DAISY honorees are recognized at a public ceremony in their unit at FHN and receive a certificate, an award pin, and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled A Healer's Touch. Everyone in the unit celebrates with cinnamon rolls – a favorite of Patrick's during his illness.

BEE honorees are recognized publically on their unit, receive a certificate, and award pin and the unit celebrates with honey-themed treats.

The DAISY and BEE awards are sponsored at FHN by a private FHN Foundation donor and coordinated by the Nursing Care Council.

Meet our recent DAISY & BEE Award winners!

March 2024

Pictured Middle Right: Director Inpatient Nursing, Heather Just; Team Leader Ambulatory Care, Brandy Quinn; Madyson; Executive Vice President/COO/CNO, Kathy Martinez and Nursing Operations Leader, Stacy Winter Lower Right: Madyson and her proud family, who surprised her during her award presentation.

Madyson Thomas, RN

Providing exceptional care to her patients earned Telemetry Registered Nurse Madyson Thomas FHN’s March DAISY award. Madyson didn't have just one nomination, but three separate nominations! One nominator wrote, "Words cannot describe how great of a nurse Madyson is! I’ve been in and out of hospitals for the past 2 years, and I haven’t gotten as close to another nurse as I have with Madyson." "She was even sweet enough to bring in detangling dry shampoo and a brush to detangle my hair and braided it on her own time." "Our chats gave me temporary relief from the excruciating pain I was in; she is so great!" Additional nominators describe her as caring, extremely kind, personable, and knowledgeable. Madyson started at FHN in May 2023 and has shown nothing but unwavering dedication and positive healthcare experiences; we are grateful to have her on our FHN team!

Upper Right: Executive Vice President/COO/CNO Kathryn Martinez presents Samantha with Bee Award.
Lower Right: Kathryn Martinez, Samantha Lief, and Practice Operations Leader, Marcia Bouray.

Samantha Lief, Medical Assistant

Congratulations to FHN’s March 2024 BEE award winner, Medical Assistant Samantha Lief! Her nominator needed to fill a prescription for her son, who had been on medication for 6 months. Unfortunately, due to insurance complications, obtaining the prescription became a challenge. Despite numerous hurdles, Samantha and Nurse Practitioner, Tiffany Kuhlmeyer, engaged with the insurance provider and persistently advocated on behalf of the patient. Throughout the process, Tiffany and Samantha maintained open lines of communication with the patient, providing regular updates on the status of their efforts. Despite denials and encountering unforeseen obstacles such as medication shortages, their determination never wavered. After thirteen days of relentless pursuit, Tiffany and Samantha succeeded in identifying an alternative medication that met both insurance coverage criteria and availability at the pharmacy. The nominator wrote, "I’m very grateful for the care we receive as patients at Highland View Drive. This is just one example of many times they have gone above and beyond for us! Thank you, Tiffany and Samantha, you're a great team!"

December 2023

Pictured (bottom): FHN Emergency Department Director Tonya Pennington, Ambulatory Care Team Leader Brandy Quinn, Executive Vice President/COO/CNO Kathryn Martinez, Doug Munda, ED Nurse Operations Leader Jennifer Kempel, and FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley.

Doug Munda, RN

My daughter had suffered a burn on the bottom of her foot and we arrived scared and she was in pain. Being that she is only two, she didn't understand what exactly was happening, or why her foot hurt so bad.

FHN's ER had us back in a triage room in less than 5 minutes. Doug was our triage nurse. Right away, he pulled out a stuffed animal from his pocket and asked my two-year-old to watch over the stuffed animal. She immediately stopped crying and agreed to watching over the stuffed animal. Doug proceeded to assess her in the most calming way. He made sure she understood exactly what he was going to do to assess her and make her foot better.

My daughter instantly formed a bond with Doug and was comforted by his gentle demeanor. She did not require any pain medication as Doug made sure she had a warm blanket, the Disney Channel on the TV and the stuffed animal next to her. After the doctor came in, we learned we needed to go to the burn unit at OSF. Doug made sure that he greeted us at the door as we were leaving to give my daughter a hug, assure her she was going to be OK, and to keep watching over her stuffed animal for him.

The stuffed animal has not left her side since and she tells everyone that Doug gave her the animal and helped her foot.

We thank Doug for being so gentle and caring for our little girl!

Pictured (bottom photo): Michele Kelly, Nursing Leader; FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley; Bee Winner Lillie Curtiss; FHN Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Martinez; and Heather Just, Nursing Leader.

Lillie Curtiss, CNA

I recently had a right knee arthroplasty at FHN. Since I had some blood pressure issues after my left knee replacement, I opted to spend a night in the hospital. I had very good care during pre- and post-surgery. When I woke up the next day, a CNA, Lillie, joyfully walked into my room. She did not have to ask any questions about my care. I thought I was at a spa. Any assistance I needed, Lillie was there to help. She brought me a fresh gown, washed my back, and applied lotion. That was a very welcomed service since I was on my back all night. She helped me put on my compression sleeve and made sure all my needs were met. Most impressively, Lillie accomplished all these tasks in such a timely matter. I thought Lillie’s proficiency was excellent and believe she should be recognized for her work ethics.

September 2023

Pictured (top): Bee winner Lois Stultz, baby Scarlett with mom Ashlyn Williams, and Daisy winner Melissa Larson.

Melissa Larson, RN

FHN’s September DAISY award winner is Ob Nurse Melissa Larson, who helped her nominator and family through a sometimes-difficult birthing experience. “She took every concern I had seriously and really made sure she was there for me. After I received some pain medication, my labor took a turn and my baby lost fetal heart tones. Melissa came in with a team of people and worked very hard to make sure that my baby was ok. She stayed calm and helped me through that very scary moment. After that, she never left my side. I truly can’t thank Melissa enough for helping us every step of the way! Thank you so much, Melissa! My family and I are truly grateful for you!”

Lois Stultz, Care Support

Congratulations to FHN’s September BEE Award recipient, Lois Stultz, who provided excellent care to a mom in labor. Her nominator said: “Lois answered my call light very promptly and came to see if we needed anything multiple times. She offered us water every time and was so genuine. She made all of the papers we had to fill out so easy and was helpful. She never made us feel like a bother, and we can’t thank her enough for everything she did for us!”

June 2023

Alissa Bruning, RN - OB

Alissa Bruning, RN

Congratulations to FHN's latest DAISY Award winner, OB Nurse Alissa Bruning! She was nominated by a first-time mom who appreciated her excellent care: "She (and) the team of nurses who helped me deliver, were excellent. I have no complaints at all. She was my nurse again Friday night, and she took our little one to the nursery so we could sleep. It was glorious! So, thank you, Allissa, for going above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of, as well as my husband and our sweet little boy. Thank you again for being excellent!

Pictured (l-r, top): FHN Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Nursing Officer Kathryn Martinez; Director of Rehabilitation Services Jessica L. Currier; and Clinical Operations Leader - Rehabilitation Services, Jennifer Thompson, along with Kim and Desiree Craig.

Kim Price, Physical Therapist

Congratulations to FHN Physical Therapist Kim Price, the recipient of FHN's August BEE Award! Her nominator, who lives with cerebral palsy, has worked with many physical therapists, but none like Kim: "She embodies professionalism, integrity and just the right balance of empathy and a determination that pushes you to have confidence in your ability to meet and exceed your expectations. She takes the time to inquire and understand what is going on in my life that may be impacting how my body is performing. This is especially important to me, because I transitioned from 7 years in a nursing home to independent living at my home. The industry needs more like her, and her efforts deserve recognition!"

February 2023

Pictured with Juana are Perinatal Educator Keri Schubert and FHN Women's Health Director Linn Carter. FHN Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Nursing Officer Kathryn Martinez presented the award to Juana.

Juana Penaloza, RN

Congratulations to FHN's February DAISY Award winner, Juana Penaloza, RN! "Juana has a shining personality," writes her nominator. "Her compassion and passion are radiant! Every time she entered the room, she was kind, patient, informative, and caring. She went above and beyond for my mother to ensure she was safe and comfortable. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

Pictured with Lilly are (left) Ambulatory Care Team Leader Brandy Quinn, RN and Med/Surg/Peds Nursing Operations Leader Michelle Kelly. FHN Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Nursing Officer Kathryn Martinez presented the award to Lilly.

Lilly Curtiss, CNA

FHN's BEE Award committee couldn't choose a winner between two great stories, but our winner made it very easy - they were both about her! Congratulations, Lilly Curtiss, CNA on the FHN Memorial Hospital Med/Surg service, for making a difference for two families! "Lilly, my CNA, is such a beautiful, calming soul. Thorough and talented, with so much empathy and compassion. She was my dad’s CNA years ago, and is now mine. She is truly good."

"I am truly blessed by the excellent care she provided me. I am so thankful for her compassion and empathy ... Lilly, thank you for taking the time to listen to me. You truly have a servant’s heart."