News | Published May 13, 2019 | Written by Tracy Sloan, RN, progressive care unit, Mount Nittany Medical Center

Honoring nurses at Mount Nittany Health with the DAISY Award®

Tracy Sloan, RN, progressive care unit, Mount Nittany Medical Center

DAISY™ is an acronym that stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. This non-profit organization was started in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Though Patrick survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice, he was unfortunately diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that hospitalized him for eight weeks. During his eight weeks at this hospital, Patrick and his family witnessed what they called “the best of nursing.” They were pleased with the nurses’ clinical skills, fast thinking and overall expertise—all of which were done with kindness and compassion. 

When Patrick passed away, his family was devastated. In honor of his memory, they created The DAISY Award specifically to praise nurses for their inspiring work and commitment to the profession. The Barnes family truly believed that nurses are gifts to patients and families.

When I moved to State College in September 2017, I began working as a nurse on the progressive care unit at Mount Nittany Medical Center. At my previous workplace, nurses were chosen and honored quarterly by The DAISY Award program, based on heartfelt patient nominations and extraordinary work. I was surprised to discover that our hospital had no similar program to honor nurses.

As part of Mount Nittany Health’s “Sharpening Our Focus” initiative and call for innovative ideas from staff, I suggested that the DAISY Award be implemented at the Medical Center. Mount Nittany Health continues to recruit exceptional nurses who provide excellent patient and family-centered care each and every day, and I thought this would be a great way for them to be acknowledged and honored for their hard work. I saw it as a way to inspire others, boost morale and act as a reminder of what brought us all to this profession.

In March 2018, I was invited to meet with Tiffany Cabibbo, DSc, MSN, RN, CENP, executive vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer for Mount Nittany Health, to discuss the launch of the program at both the Medical Center and our Mount Nittany Physician Group locations. The program would go system wide! She asked if I would fulfill the role of DAISY coordinator on the newly-developed committee. I was astonished! At the time, I had no idea that my idea would blossom into a reality. A committee was organized with the help of nursing administration and Cabibbo. The committee is comprised of eight staff members from several areas and departments within the health system.

Since the implementation of The DAISY Award, four wonderful nurses have been honored for the significant impact they have made on their patients and families’ lives. I think I speak for the entire committee when I say it is a true honor to give back to the health system’s nurses for the kindness and compassion they display in their work. The overarching message is that nurses make a difference each and every day, and the anonymous nominations provide evidence. Anyone can nominate a nurse—patients, families, coworkers and physicians. If you see extraordinary and compassionate care—do not let it go unnoticed!

To learn more about the DAISY program at Mount Nittany Health, including how to nominate a nurse who made a positive difference in your life, or the life of a loved one, visit

Tracy Sloan, RN, is a nurse on the progressive care unit at Mount Nittany Medical Center.