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DAISY Awards honor exemplary nursing practice at UCI Health

Nurses chosen for the honor display empathy, connection, interpersonal skills and serve as role models

May 31, 2024
the uci health uci medical center cardiovascular intensive care unit team gathers in scrubs for a photo in a hallway holding a sign saying the daisy team award
 The cardiovascular intensive care unit team received the DAISY Team Award for demonstrating the principles of nursing excellence and compassionate patient care.

Individual nurses and nursing teams were celebrated with DAISY Awards at UCI Health and the UCI Health Community Network for demonstrating excellence in patient care.

Nurses who receive a DAISY Award have exemplified what it truly means to be a caregiver. They are chosen by a committee for their ability to establish special connections with patients, showing empathy, displaying superb interpersonal skills and serving as role models for professional nurses.

In addition to a departmental celebration, each winner receives a nominee pin, a DAISY Award recipient pin, a Healer’s Touch hand-carved statue and an award certificate.

UCI Medical Center

The UCI Health cardiovascular intensive care unit (ICU) team recently received the DAISY Team Award.

“The award recognizes that while an idea to achieve better patient and family outcomes may start with one individual, it often takes an entire team to implement it successfully,” says unit manager Kay Lopez.

One such idea is sunshine therapy. This nurse-led initiative helps take patients outside to feel sun and fresh air. Thanks to coordination with anesthesia critical care medicine team, respiratory therapists, ancillary staff and patients’ families, even patients on mechanical circulatory support are able to enjoy time outside with their loved ones.

“Each day the nurses go above and beyond, forming meaningful relationships with their patients and their families,” said Lopez.

In addition to Lopez, the unit is also led by assistant nurse managers Angela Gillies and Charity Altman and medical directors Dr. Kei Togashi, Dr. Trung Vu and Dr. Ailin Barseghian El-Farra.

Individual DAISY Awards were presented to Anne Lanning, a cardiovascular intensive care unit nurse, and Soo Ha, who is in the surgical step-down unit, were both honored after being nominated by colleagues.

Lanning, a cardiovascular ICU nurse, and Soo Ha, who is in the surgical step-down unit, were both honored after being nominated by colleagues at UCI Medical Center.

According to her nomination, Lanning has become an indispensable team member in the ICU. She worked there through the COVID-19 pandemic and has become a go-to expert on all specialty devices in the unit, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), left ventricular assistive devices (LVADs) and more.

Lanning is also chair of the Unite Practice Council, where she creates a safe environment for staff to discuss clinical practice issues and be heard.

“Anne has demonstrated compassion and skill in caring for the critically ill here at UCI Health,” her nomination reads. “She serves as a valuable resource for her fellow colleagues. The engagement of staff with her leadership is inspiring to see.”

Patients have also expressed how Lanning has moved them.

“Anne was caring, attentive to my needs, and showed empathy and understanding of my situation. And for these, I and my family are grateful,” one writes.

Ha distinguished herself during an encounter in which she was asked to assist with translating for a Korean-speaking patient.

“Ha willingly and profoundly committed herself to bridging the language gap,” writes Ha’s colleague.

“The patient’s mother found solace in Ha’s empathetic assistance and was finally able to find someone to speak freely to and ask necessary questions. Soo took the time to listen to her and provide therapeutic presence.”

UCI Health ― Fountain Valley

Karly Kodzis, a nurse in the UCI Health ― Fountain Valley ICU, was nominated for her DAISY by the sister of a patient.

“To say thank you is simply not enough to express your care, connection and compassion for my brother while he was in your unit for so long,” reads the letter. “Your presence was also very comforting and reassuring for me.”

Porshay Williams, a labor and delivery nurse, made an impact on a mother who came to UCI Health ― Fountain Valley to deliver her baby.

“She was always there for me, especially during labor pains,” reads her nomination letter.

“There is not one situation where I can express how she made a difference in my care. She is an amazing nurse.”

UCI Health ― Lakewood

Six nurses from UCI Health ― Lakewood were recognized for going above and beyond to ensure their patients receive individualized care.

Patricia Camacho, district director for Congressperson Nanette Barragan, 44th District, California attended the luncheon celebration and presented congressional certificates in recognition of their achievements and in celebration of Nurses Day.

The dedication, presented to nurses Michelle Ramirez, Eva Calingo, Sandy Ortega, Noreen Caro, Abegail Amargo and Brittany Sabala read:

“In recognition of your outstanding service with UCI Health – Lakewood. Your determination coupled with your compassionate care does not go unnoticed. On behalf of California’s 44th Congressional District, I am honored to recognize your excellence in clinical care. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to the healthcare community.”

UCI Health ― Los Alamitos

Alex Martin-Senecal, a nurse in the intensive care unit at UCI Health ― Los Alamitos, was nominated by the family member of a patient who could not speak.

“She spent time with him, kept him calm and talked to him telling him all about why he was in there, what the plan was to get him better and how he was progressing,” the nomination letter says.

“I often saw other nurses coming to her for an opinion and/or direction. She is definitely a leader in her field and well respected.”

James Aguinaldo, another nurse at UCI Health ― Los Alamitos, was nominated by a patient’s family member for his compassion and demeanor.

“He was always on top of it. Even the little things,” writes the nominator. “Not only was James good at his job, but he is also so personable, friendly, caring and patient. He always had a smile on his face.”

UCI Health ― Placentia Linda

Amy Vo, an ICU nurse at UCI Health ― Placentia Linda, was nominated by a team member because of her skill, dedication, leadership and mentorship.

“If there is a complex case, Amy is our go-to for guidance,” her nomination states.

“She treats her patients as if they were her own family, looking after them to make sure they get the best possible care.”

How to nominate a team member

Anyone can nominate an exceptional nurse or patient care team member for a DAISY or Sunflower Award, including faculty, staff and patients. Simply fill out the appropriate nomination form below:

About the DAISY Award

The individual DAISY Award recognizes a nurse for being an outstanding role model. To be nominated for this award, they must consistently demonstrate a caring attitude focusing on meeting the needs of patients and families, listen with their heart, significantly makes a difference in the life of a patient, shows good assessment and critical thinking skills and brings enthusiasm and energy to their daily work. The DAISY Award committee selects one nominated nurse each month who exemplifies what it means to truly be an outstanding caregiver.

About UCI Health

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system based in Orange County. UCI Health is comprised of its main campus, UCI Medical Center, a 459-bed, acute care hospital in in Orange, Calif., four hospitals and affiliated physicians of the UCI Health Community Network in Orange and Los Angeles counties and ambulatory care centers across the region. Listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, UCI Medical Center provides tertiary and quaternary care and is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma centergold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.