Daisy Award

February 2019 Recipient—Candis Thomas – NICU

As with most pregnancies when a sibling is involved, parents look forward to the day when the new arrival and sibling meet. My husband and I were no different. We started discussing “Bella” (newborn) with our now two-year old (Taylor Ré) before Bella was born. Thus, upon her birth we anxiously awaited the moment when Taylor Ré would meet her sister. However, things did not work as planned and at birth Bella was whisked to NICU where she has remained since birth (5 months). For various reasons, e.g., Bella being too sick; Taylor Ré having a cold, etc., the opportunity for the formal introduction did not occur. And to further complicate things, cold season rolled around and signs suddenly appeared within the hospital indicating children under 12 could not visit NICU. Hence, there were many facetime conversations with Taylor Ré and Bella, but I soon discovered that Taylor Ré associated any baby seen, with tubes in her nose, as baby sister “El-la." This was discouraging and though no fault of anyone, I became frustrated that the two could not meet in person. I did not share this frustration with anyone because the rule of not allowing children under 12 to visit the 6th floor during “cold” season was just good common sense to me.

One evening during the Christmas holidays and while discussing Christmas plans, nurse Candis Thomas asked me had Taylor Ré ever met Bella. While I had discussed Taylor Ré with many of the nurses, I had not mentioned to anyone that she had not met her sister. I felt somewhat guilty that I had not made this introduction happen. I told Candace "no" they had not met, but quickly followed-up by explaining that I understood the rule, had not and would not complain, but longed to see the day when the two of their eyes met. Candace replied that "yes, that wlll be a special moment" and we proceeded with other conversation. A couple of days later, Candis informed me that she had spoken to the Director (Jill) and asked if Taylor Ré could be allowed to meet her sister, in person, on Christmas Day. Gosh, I was elated - but Candis quickly told me to "calm down now, the request has been made but the answer has not been received." You would have to know Candis to understand that "ooh chile" look she gave me when she told me to calm down. She told me she would let me know once an answer was received.

Of course I could not hold this exciting possibility and shared It with my husband, mom, dad, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, cousin, etc. Candace eventually informed me that the request had been approved, thus the rehearsed actions I instructed Taylor Ré to perform upon meeting Bella along with the coordinated outfits I had purchased the two of them, would make an ideal pictorial memorialization of "When Taylor Ré Met Bella." Well, the introduction didn’t go exactly as planned in that Taylor Ré was somewhat apprehensive about getting too close to Bella, but Bella kept an unblinking eye on Taylor Ré. Eventually, while the adults were conversing about other things, I noticed Taylor Ré easing her hand around a stuffed animal that separated her from Bella and gently touching Bella’s hand. She kept her hand on Bella's and stared at Bella for what appeared to be minutes but in reality, was only a few seconds. This moment tugged at all of our hearts. Here, I learned that while the physical meeting could be made by others, the emotional meeting could only happen by the two of them, not as rehearsed but in their own time, space and way. What happened was much more special than what I had rehearsed with Taylor Ré or coordinated with matching clothing, this was a lesson and special gift given to me - and it could not have happened on a more special day (Christmas).

While certainly with God’s favor, Taylor Ré and Bella would have eventually had their first Introduction, Its occurrence appeared to be In the distant future. However, because Candis took a moment to learn about Bella's family, she initiated a discussion I had vowed not to broach, (the no children under 12 rule) and made the request to her Director that this visit be allowed. As a result, I was able to take advantage of a yearning that I would have missed due to not knowing that this visit was an actual possibility.

I have written other Daisy recommendations and consistently raved over the wonderful employees on 6th Floor Quarterback. While Bella receives awesome care and I'm treated great by the Children’s employees whom I have encountered, Candis should receive the Daisy award because she not only provides wonderful care to her patient, she takes the time to learn the family, assess their needs and attempts to remove any stress possible during these challenging times. Her focus extends further than the medical requirements for her patient.

Candis holds a special place in my heart because she provided the moment for my toddler to meet her sister at a time when my toddler was ready to extend a hand. She made it possible for their hands to touch, eyes to meet and hearts to connect on Christmas Day 2018. I am forever grateful to aII who made this happen and especially to Candis Thomas.

Download the Nomination Form

February 2019 Nomination List

Susan (Hazel) Miller - NICU
Courtney Ricketts - CVICU
Debra Perry - Urology and Neurosurgery
Heather Tolbert - Emergency Department
Hunter Williamson - 10 QB
Kelsey Adamy - NICU
Nina Jackson - 9 QB
Rachel Gray - 9 Harbert

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