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Logo for The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses | In Memory of J. Patrick Barnes

Tomah Health Joins DAISY Program

With a shortage of nurses on the rise, Tomah Health is looking to recognize and retain extraordinary nurses. Hospital officials have implemented the international DAISY Award as a way to spotlight nurses that make a difference in the lives of patients and patient families.

“One of the things we looked at was ways to recognize nurses who really do exhibit the types of behaviors and the commitment to our patients that we want to have as part of our culture here,” Tomah Health Chief Nursing Officer Tracy Myhre, MSN, RN, said of a decision to start the program.

She said hospital officials saw the program as a way to not only recognize but also retain quality nurses during a time when shortages of nurses is on the rise.  “As the baby boomers have aged, we are now seeing where people are leaving the workforce. Many places throughout the state of Wisconsin have higher than normal vacancy rates.”

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who at the age of 33, died in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation said 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. “When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do,” said Barnes.  “The kind of work the nurses at Tomah Health are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

Myhre said patients, families and colleagues can nominate nurses for the award using the DAISY award nomination form located on the hospital’s website at


Myhre she said one DAISY award recipient will be selected by the hospital’s Nurse Practice Council each year.  She said the first selection will take place in December, but in the future, the Tomah Health DAISY recipient will be recognized during National Nurse’s week in May. The nursing staff at Tomah Health includes about 150 employees.

Each honoree will receive a certificate commending her or him for being an “Extraordinary Nurse” and their name will be added to the national DAISY website.

“We are proud to be among the healthcare organizations participating in the DAISY Award program,” said Myhre, who has been a nurse for 25 years. “Nurses are heroes every day. It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued, and The DAISY Foundation provides a way for us to do that,” added Myhre.

Tomah Health