The Star-Herald

The Aroostook Medical Center nurse honored with DAISY award

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award is an international recognition program that honors and celebrates the skillful, compassionate care nurses provide every day. One nurse at TAMC’s Aroostook Health Center was recently recognized by the families of her former patients.

TAMC began taking part in the DAISY program in 2017, with award nominations opening in January.  Nominations are being sought throughout the year from patients, family members of patients, and co-workers.  From these nominations, a panel of judges will select one nurse recipient for the DAISY honor every quarter.  These judges do not know the names of the nominees, only the stories about why each one was nominated, so that decisions are not impacted by personal connections.

The newest recipient of the Daisy Award is Wanda White-Ouellette, RN of Houlton, who works with elderly patients at TAMC’s Aroostook Health Center, the hospital’s long-term care and skilled nursing facility in Mars Hill.

Wanda White-Ouellette is presented her DAISY Award certificate by TAMC President Greg LaFrancois as her husband, Dr. Ronald Ouellette (left), looks on.
(Contributed photo)

Wanda was recently honored during a surprise celebration in her department, during which she was presented a daisy pin, a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Africa, and a certificate commending her for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.”

While she is incredibly honored to receive such a prestigious award, she didn’t want to take all the credit. “People need to know that it’s always a team effort,” said White-Ouellette. “When you see one nurse, there are more nurses behind them helping.”

Those in attendance at the surprise celebration included co-workers, friends and family, members of TAMC leadership, and those who nominated Wanda, including Nathan DeFelice and Tina Bouchey.

When the grandmother of DeFelice’s wife was battling dementia, she was under Wanda’s care. “Her compassion for her patients and obvious love for her profession shined through during that very dark and hard time for the family,” said DeFelice.

Tina Bouchey’s mother was suffering from many health problems, including dementia and diabetes. She said that when her mother came to the end of her battle and needed comfort care, Wanda was there. “She would explain all that was going on and make Mom feel happy and loved,” said Bouchey. “Those were the worst seven days our family has ever had to endure. Through the whole process Wanda was there to make us smile, give us a laugh and help us be more at ease.”

TAMC President Greg LaFrancois presented White-Ouellette with her DAISY certificate and thanked her for her outstanding service and her commitment to patients.  Odette LaPointe, one of the coordinators of the DAISY Award at TAMC, also shared information about the award and the history behind its creation.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

For those who would like to nominate a nurse for consideration for the next quarterly DAISY Award, nominations can be made online at www.tamc.org.  Just click on the DAISY banner at the top of the page.  For those who prefer, brochures with a section for nominating a nurse are also available at TAMC.  Individuals are invited to stop by the hospital’s main lobby to obtain a brochure or to call 768-4301 to request one be mailed to you.

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