Written by Bonnie and Mark Barnes, FAANs

What a year 2020 was, and what a year 2021 is shaping up to be! Who knew that the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife would find the world focused on nursing’s critical role in taking care of countless critically ill COVID-19 patients and their families?! And now on the news every day, nurses are giving vaccinations to people whose lives change for having gotten them.

Nursing has long been the most trusted profession – but it has never been talked about or featured in the media as it has been over the last year.

Perhaps you are reading this because you work in healthcare. Nonetheless, we are all at some time patients and family members. We all depend on the resilience of nurses and their ability to deal with everything being thrown at them and still return to do it all over again the next day or night. No matter the circumstance, we depend on nurses’ commitment to treat us every day – not only with their clinical excellence but also with compassion and sensitivity.

As nurses have been on the frontline of getting us through this pandemic and vaccination process, we need to shore up their resilience with our gratitude. Our gratitude is a constant reminder to them that they are making a difference – a difference they may not realize they are making when they are in the throes of overloaded hospitals and scarce resources.

To supplement the gratitude being paid to nurses and facilitate nominations from the public, we at The DAISY Foundation have mounted a billboard campaign in numerous markets to encourage the public to show their gratitude. Perhaps you heard about the signs that shone bright in Times Square in January, elevating the importance of gratitude to nurses.

The billboard industry has donated about $1 million of advertising space to DAISY for this campaign, all spearheaded by a company whose executives worked with our Patrick when he was in the billboard industry before he died. The energy put forth by the leaders of Outdoor Ad Solutions has touched our hearts and resulted in an influx of nominations for nurses. Our Industry Partner GetWellNetwork provided the technology for us to accept nominations on our website, and we received a generous grant from the American Nurses Foundation to  help fund it. We are mounting a significant social media campaign to reach consumers of healthcare and remind them that they have an easy way to express their gratitude to their nurses by nominating them through our website.

We have heard from several nurse leaders that they are getting an unusually high number of nominations for The DAISY Award – testimony to the fact that nurses continue to provide above-and-beyond care no matter what – and that patients, as always, want and need to say thank you.

We have been thrilled to see so many organizations that honor their nurses with The DAISY Award continue their ritual of recognition during these stressful times, encouraging nominations by patients and other staff and selecting Honorees. DAISY Award presentations are helping maintain a modicum of normalcy.

Some award presentations are simply a small meeting with the honoree in the CNO’s office. We have participated in numerous virtual events with lots of nurses on the screen, honoring nurses for their compassionate care and highlighting expressions of gratitude for making a difference to a patient. Nurses tell us that these ceremonies remind them why they became nurses, re-fueling the resilience of nurses who are exhausted and often burned out.

The last year has reinforced our strongly held belief that the time for meaningful recognition is always.  So is the time for patients, their families, colleagues and leaders to share their gratitude with nurses. Nurses – in fact all healthcare workers – need and deserve to hear that their efforts are noticed and valued.


If you have experienced DAISY-worthy care, please take a moment to nominate your nurse. For more information about bringing The DAISY Award to your organization, click here.

About The Daisy Corner

The mission of The DAISY Foundation is to honor the extraordinary compassionate care nurses provide patients and families every day. It was established in 1999 in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family. Patrick died at the age of 33 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) The care Patrick and his family received from Nurses while he was ill inspired the creation of The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses, an evidenced-based means of providing Nurse recognition and thanking Nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to the nursing profession internationally in over 4,700 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of direct care Nurses, Nurse-led Teams, Nurse Leaders, Nurses Advancing Health Equity, Nursing Faculty, Nursing Students, Lifetime Achievement in Nursing and through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, Health Equity Grants and Medical Mission Grants. More information is available at http://DAISYfoundation.org.