Two Compassionate Nurses at Little Company of Mary Hospital were Awarded with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing

The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses everyday. Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) is proud to be a DAISY Award Partner, recognizing nurses with this special honor every month. Each award recipient receives a DAISY Award signature lapel pin, a certificate of recognition and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled, “A Healer’s Touch.” These nurses consistently demonstrate excellence through their clinical expertise and especially their extraordinary compassionate care. They are recognized as outstanding role models in our nursing community.

Debbie Dandino-O’Neill, RN, and Gina Demas, RN, were the newest recipients of the DAISY Award for extraordinary nurses by LCMH. Both Debbie and Gina, who work in the Family Birth Center at LCMH, were recognized for their clinical skills, compassionate care, exemplary service and extraordinary commitment to patient-centered care by patient, Susie Schultz.

While pregnant, Susie learned that she would be delivering a baby with a chromosomal defect called Trisomy 13 also called Patau syndrome. Trisomy 13 is a genetic disorder in which a person has three copies of genetic material from chromosome 13, instead of the usual two copies. More than 80% of children with Patau syndrome do not survive within the first year of life. In Susie’s case, her baby was not expected to survive long after birth due to the extensive congenital defects.

“My husband and I chose to deliver our baby at Little Company of Mary Hospital because our wish was to be surrounded by doctors, nurses and staff who would offer respect, patience and love during this extremely difficult time, said Susie. Both Debbie and Gina fulfilled that wish on so many levels. When we arrived at LCMH, Debbie and Gina were there to greet us with a smile. They reassured us that the birth plan we had written would be respected not only by them but also by the other nurses and staff. Debbie and Gina lifted my spirits throughout their 12-hour shift with wonderful stories, undivided medical attention during my progressing labor and continued support hours after the birth of Elizabeth Marie Schultz. Gina stayed in my room holding Elizabeth Marie while I got some much-needed rest. We have priceless photos of Elizabeth Marie because Debbie stayed five hours past her shift to take pictures. Both Debbie and Gina cried with me and expressed that my delivery would be the most meaningful of any they had experienced during their nursing careers. I was overwhelmed by their compassion and empathy.”

The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died of complications of the auto-immune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. During Pat’s eight-week hospitalization, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion his nurses provided not only to Pat but to everyone in his family. So one of the goals they set in creating a Foundation in Pat’s memory was to recognize extraordinary nurses everywhere who make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people by the extraordinary work they do everyday.

Both Debbie and Gina were recognized by their department and received a certificate of recognition, a DAISY Award pin, and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled A Healer’s Touch. These serpentine stone sculptures are hand-carved for us by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The sculptures are especially meaningful because of the profound respect the Shona people pay their traditional healers. Shona healers are affectionately regarded as treasures by those they care for, and the well-being and safety of the healer is of community-wide importance. This describes exactly how Little Company of Mary Hospital feels about nurses! Additionally, everyone in the Family Birth Center celebrated with Cinnabon® cinnamon rolls – a favorite of Patrick’s during his illness. The Barnes Family asks that whenever and wherever nurses smell that wonderful cinnamon aroma, they stop for a moment and think about how special they are.

If you’d like to nominate an extraordinary nurse for the DAISY Award, you can fill out the nomination form on our website,

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Gina Demas, RN, Catie Schultz, Doug Shultz holding Maggie Schultz, Jack Shultz, Susie Schultz and Debbie Dandino-O’Neill, RN.

Copyright ©. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Healthcare Centers