Daisy Award

April 2019 Recipient—Margaret Fears-Lewis – NICU

After over five months, Bella Billingsley is being discharged. We are just elated I But, with such wonderful news comes the reality that we are now leaving the only “home” Bella has known. This moment is bittersweet for the Billingsley family. Here at Children’s, Bella’s family has extended far beyond what I could have ever dreamed. We have met so many wonderful people who expressed a genuine concern for Bella and her wellbeing. It is humbling to watch those who knew nothing about Bella welcome her into their arms as if she was their only child. My beliefs and outlook on life have reached a new high because of the spirit, grace and love I have experienced during my child’s stay at Children’s. I can’t thank everyone enough.

Ms. Margaret was one of the first nurses Bella had when she arrived at Children’s. While I had one child previously and I have three siblings, my mother nor I had experienced having a baby so sick that she was unable to come home shortly after birth. This was new to us. Upon our arrival at Children’s, I had heard of so many devastating conditions that Bella might have that my heart and spirit were just broken. Apparently, Ms. Margaret recognized this within a few moments of our introduction, and she quickly breathed life into my dismal glaze by telling me that “Bella is sick but she is not broken.” Ms. Margaret’s energetic demeanor and expressive belief that Children’s has great doctors, but it ls God who is driving this vessel, shook me into what appeared to be a new life. (I had mentioned my Christian faith previously). She told me that Bella was a fighter and I must be a fighter too. As time progressed, Ms. Margaret showed me what she meant by “sick but not broken.” With all of the tubes and wires running from high tech machines to Bella, I was reluctant to even hold Bella but I certainly was not ready to bathe, dress and cuddle her. I was afraid I would hurt her. Ms. Margaret quickly but politely nudged my mom and me into doing the things for Bella that we did for our other children when they were newborns. I learned that Bella’s illness was not painful to the touch and that it was my touch, more than anyone else’s, that Bella needed at this time. Everything that Ms. Margaret did with Bella, she took the time to explain to me. I soon became comfortable handling Bella, cuddling her and giving her the proper love and affection that only I could give. But, this wisdom and motherly-wit was not all Ms. Margaret gave. Her professional intuitiveness oozes with such ease that it becomes contagious. While I could share several instances of this, I will only mention one at this time.

Bella had a few issues with her g-tube. At one point, it was expected that Bella may need a different size g-tube but since time was of the essence during her first replacement and Bella’s expected size was unavailable, the smaller size was once again inserted. I was told that once a tube is inserted, it could not be adjusted for 8 weeks in order to provide time for healing. Later that evening, upon Ms. Margaret arriving on her shift, I explained to her what had occurred during the day and my concern about the smaller tube. Ms. Margaret listened attentively and eventually left the room. She returned and told me that the size Bella may need is not generally stocked on the floor. She said that we are going to pray that the one recently Inserted worked but just in case it didn’t, she was going to make sure the correct size was in the room if or when needed again. Children’s processing is quick because the next day, two boxes were delivered to the room and Ms. Margaret told other nurses where they were stored. She also explained to me that she would do a chargeback if the tubes were not needed. At this point, I was not concerned with the chargeback, I was just glad that the right size would be available if needed. As the evening progressed, Bella’s g-tube deflated and came-out again. This was frightening because it had happened two consecutive days with two different g-tubes. But, LOOK AT GOD!!! He had guided Ms. Margaret to think beyond just taking care of Bella at the moment. She looked ahead to accommodate what might happen and thanks to her, the proper equipment was available for the surgeon and Bella at the right time. To date, her g-tube has worked with no problems. The relief Bella has displayed since this change has been amazing. Some may say that this was Ms. Margaret’s job, but I had not been privy to such forethought until this incident. It is this type of tenacity in the workplace that, in my opinion, distinguishes good employees from excellent employees. This behavior, along with Ms. Margaret’s, motherly-wit and God-fearing approach lit a path of resilience in me that rekindled that beloved bible verse, “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.” Philippians 4:13.

Download the Nomination Form


April 2019 Nomination List

Tyler Duffey—7 Dearth
Zalie Lang—7 Dearth
Brian Yopp—CVICU
Mary Ann Vardaman—CVICU
Kristi Faulkner—NICU
Jessica Dreher—One Day Surgery
Heather Parker—Pulmonary
Sydnee Adkinson—SCU
Ashley Smith—9QB


daisylogo.gifThe DAISY Foundation was established in 2000 by the Barnes family in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. Having been touched by the remarkable care, clinical skills and compassion demonstrated by nurses during Patrick's illness, the Barnes family made it their mission to recognize exceptional nurses around the world.

A DAISY Award will be given once a month. The monthly award winner will be recognized at a ceremony and will receive a framed certificate, a DAISY Award signature lapel pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled A Healer's Touch. Additionally, the unit or department of the recipient will receive Cinnabon's cinnamon rolls—a favorite of Patrick's during his illness—with the sentiment that the heavenly aroma will remind them how special they are and how important their work is.

Nurses that receive The DAISY Award personify Children's of Alabama's remarkable patient experience. These individuals consistently demonstrate excellence by:

  • Serving as a role model for the nursing profession
  • Demonstrating a caring attitude in all situations
  • Communicating with compassion, using words the patient and family understand
  • Making a significant difference in the life of a patient