DCC Nursing Program Presents Student First Ever ‘DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students’

On May 12, Danville Community College hosted its annual Nursing Graduate Pinning Ceremony. During the ceremony which recognizes graduates of the DCC Nursing Program for their dedication and hard work, nursing faculty presented a student with the first ever ‘DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students’ to Kaitlin Oldham. Kaitlin was nominated for the award by Nursing Instructor Shelby Rigsby.  

photo of Shelby Rigsby, Kaitlin Oldham, and James Emerson
Shelby Rigsby, Kaitlin Oldham, and James Emerson

“As a nursing student Kaitlin demonstrated kindheartedness, leadership, humbleness, and an unmatched dedication to patients and fellow team members,” said the nomination written by Rigsby. “She did these things not only willingly, but effortlessly. Kaitlin had a determination about her and obstacles were not viewed as an inconvenience but an opportunity. During her time in nursing school, she carried, nurtured and delivered two precious babies. She never missed a beat while caring for or advocating for her patients.” 

The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by members of the family of Patrick Barnes. He was 33 years old and died of complications of the auto-immune disease ITP. Like many families that go through this kind of horrific loss, the Barnes family wanted to do something positive to honor the very special man Patrick was. So, right after Patrick’s death, they came up with DAISY – an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. As they brainstormed what The DAISY Foundation would actually do, they kept coming back to the one positive thing they held on to during Patrick’s 8-week illness: the extraordinary care he and they received from Patrick’s nurses.

The family was very impressed by the clinical care the nurses provided, but what really overwhelmed them was the compassion and kindness that his nurses brought to Patrick’s bedside day in and day out. Patrick’s family created The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses to honor nurses who go above and beyond and make extraordinary differences in patients and families experiences in healthcare.  

“With just weeks away from her due date, Kaitlin cared for a very elderly patient who was fearful and afraid,” the nomination continued. “Kaitlin provided this patient with a level of comfort and security, and because of this the patient was regularly begging for Kaitlin’s presence. Kaitlin put aside her free time to accompany this patient to her procedure so that she wouldn’t be afraid. Afterwards, this patient asked for Kaitlin by name each week. She made a deep impact in this patient’s care and life but this is just one example. Her kind heart, determination, and dedication to nursing will make a difference in every patient she encounters during her nursing career.” 

As a recipient of the DAISY award, Oldham received an award certificate, a DAISY Honoree Pin, and a ‘Healer’s Touch’ sculpture.  

‘The Healer’s Touch’ sculpture is hand carved by the artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The DAISY Foundation chose this beautiful design because it depicts the unique relationship nurses have with their patients and also because the Shona people hold their healers in a position of great importance to the community.  

“We are so pleased to be able to present our inaugural DAISY award to Kaitlin,” said Dr. James Emerson, program director for nursing at DCC. “Her dedication to her patients, even as she faced personal challenges, is unmatched and we are grateful to have had the chance to help her pursue her passion.” 

For more information about Danville Community College and the nursing program, visit danville.edu.

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Faith O'Neil

Faith O'Neil

Director of Public Relations & Marketing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer