Daisy Award

February 2018 Recipient—Candice Ray – 10 QB

I would like to nominate Candice Ray from the Pulmonary Team (Quarterback 10th Floor) as a deserving recipient of the DAISY Award.

My son Matthew was admitted to Children’s of Alabama at age 4 months with pneumonia on Friday, February 2 and stayed for 8 days. Most of those days, Candice was our day shift nurse. Matthew is a preemie, born at 27 weeks and spent 3 months in NICU at Brookwood last fall. In January, he was admitted to Children’s with the flu. He has a PDA, BPD and is on continuous oxygen. I’m writing all of this because I have seen soooo many nurses, doctors, specialists, social workers, dieticians, RTs, OTs etc. in the past few months and I am confident that Candice is the absolute best of any nurse I’ve seen.

Candice demonstrated a caring attitude in all situations and is the type of nurse that any parent would want for their sick baby. She is attentive, compassionate, explains words we can’t understand when the doctors leave the room and sometimes before they enter the room, and also teaches as she works. Every time she entered the room with multiple medicines, she reviewed the medication and the amount before administering them. She checked on me as though my son was related to her, and made it clear that she was there to help us. When I was nervous about his biopsy, Candice put everything into perspective for me. She encouraged us to write our questions down and made sure every single question was answered each day before she went home. All she wanted in return was a little more time to hold my baby during her shift, which was so sweet!

I am mainly in awe of her because she was an advocate when I didn’t realize we needed one.

My husband and I had been going back and forth about our baby boy’s condition trying to figure out how he got pneumonia. Because Matthew is my first child, it can be easy for others to think I simply have ‘new Mom syndrome’ as I continue to push and ask questions. Candice communicated with compassion, listened to me, offered insight that put us at ease, and encouraged me on days where my emotions took control. She was never frustrated when we kept asking questions and was patient.

One morning upon observing and hearing my son during a feeding, she suggested a suck-swallow test. For 2 or more days, he was spitting up, sometimes with milk just rolling down his cheeks. So when the doctors made rounds, I pushed for it. They did not feel it was necessary but agreed to contact the speech pathologist. Turns out, Candice found the answer we needed. Within one hour of this test, I was informed that my son needed an NG tube and a biopsy. After the biopsy, we were told he has a combo of laryngomalacia, bronchomalacia, and tracheomalacia! According to the doctor, this is probably why Matthew got pneumonia- a question that no one could answer before.

Had it not been for Candice, my baby could continue to get sick over and over and over again as milk went into his lungs. And the more he got sick, the longer we would be forced to delay needed work by his pediatric cardiologist. This clearly made a significant difference in the life of my son.

Beyond our gratitude for her suggesting the test, I have to tell you how she handled herself as a nurse throughout this ordeal. I was absolutely devastated when I was told Matthew needed an NG tube. The doctor tried to console me and related that his kid once had an NG tube. The social worker stopped by to see if she could help. I was angry, I was sad, and I was mad. More than anything, I was scared. But in the corner of my eye, through tears, I saw Candice standing by the door nodding in agreement with the doctor. It was her nodding that actually calmed me down because I trusted her and knew she cared about my baby alongside the doctor.

Of course, she then started training me to use  feeding pump, how to conduct a Ph test, etc and made it clear to me that I could handle this.

In addition to being a caring nurse, Candice is a role model for the nursing profession because she is an ideal colleague. I related a story about another great nurse at Children’s to Candice whom we’d met when my baby had the flu. She later stopped by the room with a handout to tell me about the DAISY award and suggested that I consider nominating her co-worker! I couldn’t believe it! She doesn’t know this- but I picked up a form the day before from your lobby with every intent of anonymously nominating Candice, and here she was suggesting the DAISY award for a fellow nurse. WOW! This level of commitment to teamwork is so remarkable and commendable. I am sure Candice believes she is “just doing her job” but I know her calling to nursing is so much more. She is an excellent nurse who does her job without fanfare yet getting families through incredible rough times and very long nights.

With this nomination, I really hope you see that I am so thankful for Candice, the epitome of a caring expert. Even while very young, she comes across as wiser than her chronological years. At the very least, I hope that Candice may have the chance to see this nomination and to know that her work has blessed my family and that I will never, ever forget her kindness and professionalism.

The Grateful Family of Matthew Elliot Diaz, now age 5 months.

Download the Nomination Form

February 2018 Nomination List

Kelsey Adamy - NICU
Ashley Belk - 10 Harbert
Kimberly Buckley - 10 QB
Grace Davis - PICU
Laken Elliott - 10 QB
Samantha (Sam) Fialko - SCU
Kathryn Gargis - NICU
Joseph (Joe) McGough - NICU
Laura Kay Smith - Ped ENT
Taylor Swilley - 10 QB
Thuan Tan - 7 Dearth
Molly Webb - 8 QB
Rachel Williams - 7 Dearth

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