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DAISY Award Winners 2009

DAISY Awards

2009 December DAISY Award Winner: Clarissa Avalos, ARNP
Nominated by a Parent on GWN

Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSNI love this nurse because she has always done her job WITHOUT one complain! Clarissa performs all her job task in a fast pace, correct, careful, professional, friendly way. I personally appreciate nurses who work like her, get the job done, correct, without complains. When she walks in the room she has this spontaneous contagious attitude that makes my bad day better. Always smiling, teaching, helping, doesn’t mind picking up pampers, taking vitals signs, I see her helping care assistants, always answers my questions in a polite, professional matter. Even if I ask her 100 questions she NEVER seems frustrated to answer any of them, I think All the nurses should take notes on her way of working, she is AWESOME, takes her job serious, but manages to make the parent feel comfortable at the same time. She goes out of her way to make me feel comfortable. To sum up, she deserves the award, 3 north/bone marrow unit have some of the best nurses, and I hope management makes it a point to  remind them how much they can impact a family in a good way, I appreciate them all, and thank God they exist because they do make a difference EVERYDAY.

Thank you Clarissa.
God bless you :)

2009  November DAISY Award Winner: The Emergency Department


DAISY Award RecipientsI would like to recognize not one person but the ED staff.  Through all the emotions and stress of the packed ED waiting room, parents wondering when their child is going to be seen, keeping up with orders, the staff compensating for call outs, we have been able to stay calm and see that everyone on the floor is working as a team, an Emergency Medical Team, and together we are delivering the best care we can for our patients. Whether patients are critically ill or seeking non-urgent care, the success of any emergency department hinges on its ability to deliver efficient, quality care in what is frequently a fast-paced, stressful environment chaos and uncertainty. As an emergency room nurse you must realize that alone you can not handle anything. Lives are not saved single handedly; they are saved by many hands and many minds working together.

As we begin our respective shifts, it seems that we don’t leave our personal lives in their lockers, but instead we embrace each other as an extension of the family, there is no you nor me but only the “TEAMPLAYER”. Everyone has an assigned task, but what counts more, is that I’m a part of the “TEAM”, each task, each member, counting on each other.  Everyone watches each other’s backs, and more importantly allowing their fellow team mates to excel in the artful accomplishment of their respective tasks. Everybody gives 110% effort because deep in their hearts they know the team depends on them, and more importantly the patients depend on us.  When the charge nurse calls on a team member, the only reply you would hear would be “tell me!”, and be assured that the task would be accomplished.  I have shared this to them before, “that this team, can overcome any challenge, face any disaster, because they have the analytical minds, the deft of hand, the heart to excel and the innate goodness in every person”. 

As our shift slowly comes to an end, I know we are leaving the floor in good hands to our night shift. As we always tend to say, “The bus has arrived” and it always seems to occur toward the night shift staff’s arrival.  All of us have one thing or the other going on in our lives but the staff does not let their personal situations interfere with their ability to deliver professional, skillful, compassionate care, even when they are dealing with their own situations. Some days we want to go home and cry after the day we had, but always keep in the back of our head that we are in this together, and I am thankful for the co-workers and ED team that I work with. We not only make a difference in our patient’s lives but we are also making a difference in each other.

Nominations by Jessica Mashburn, RN
& Lawrence Lacson, RN

2009 October DAISY Winner: Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSN from the Cardiac Care Center



Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSNI would like to this opportunity to nominate Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSN for her outstanding dedication and commitment to her nursing profession and her years of service as Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Laura joined the organization in 1991 and has since achieved many milestones. She has worked as a staff nurse on several units and later joined the pulmonology team as an advanced practice nurse, where she has left an everlasting impression with her dedication to the clinical practice of her patient’s with chronic illnesses. She is presently the Joint Clinical Educator for MCH/FIU. Laura is a caring individual that no matter in what area she practices, she is always at a level that is exemplary of the highest standard. Laura goes far beyond what is expected of her with her students, patients and colleagues. Even in the midst of difficult times, she always maintains a smile and a positive outlook, giving help where needed and often doing more without being asked. Laura’s daily uniform includes a smile, a kind word and a gentle touch. Laura is very well respected and offers an enormous amount of experience as a nurse as well as an innovative teacher, mentor, and creative thinker.

Laura master’s a special talent with families and patient’s with a chronic illnesses. She develops a bond that is unique. Aside from her very busy schedule, being a mother of three, wife, professor and nurse, Laura dedicates many hours in making sure that VACC Camp is a success every year for the many medically challenged children who come from so many far away places to enjoy this week long camp. She works throughout the year as well as during the week in camp to make sure that all special needs children are medically safe while enjoying this once in a life time experience. She works very closely with Ivette Hidalgo ARNP, medical coordinator, in making sure that the patient’s medical needs are met. She gets very involved with patient’s and families as well as volunteers in providing both medical support and guidance. Besides working one on one with families and patients, she also assists nursing students in gaining their best medical experience while in camp. Many families and healthcare providers have expressed to us their gratitude for Laura. For us, it is a pleasure to nominate such a caring, unselfish individual who gives so much, asking nothing in return.

We think that Laura is an extra-ordinary advance practice nurse that has worked in many roles and has managed to far exceed expectations. It is for this reason that we are nominating Laura for the Daisy Award.

By: Rosa Roche, MSN,ARNP-BC
Ivette Hidalgo, MSN, ARNP-BC

September DAISY Award Winner: Soerrete Joseph, BSN, RN  (PICU)

Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSNSoerette is known as a Stellar for her dedication to PICU and for patient care. She is the perfect example of an excellent RN with excellent skills, as well as spiritually with one particular patient. Specifically one day in the PICU with a very sick child, she held the baby during his last moments of life and prayed, she cried as if it were her own child. She is a model nurse to all of us and continues to shine in excellence every day she practices. She shows genuine feelings with extraordinary clinical excellent skills. She did one of the hardest things that a nurse can be faced with, she held a baby for several hours during his last moments of life because his family was not able to be present. She was requested by this family because of the care she offers to the patients. The day before she took all the baby’s clothing home and washed themt because she wanted the baby to have clean clothes that his family had left for him on his last moments of life. The family members love her and trust her and chose Soerette to be the one to hold their baby since they were not able to be there. She deserves the DAISY Award for her compassionate care.

Soerette Joseph is a total example of the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Way. She serves her patients with the utmost care and compassion.  Specifically one day in the PICU with a very sick child she held the baby during his last moments of life and prayed, she cried as if it were her own child. She is a model nurse to all of us and continues to shine in excellence every day she practices. She shows genuine feelings with extraordinary clinical excellent skills.

Nominated by: Monica Hearn, RN


2009 August DAISY Winner: Dania Vazquez,ARNP,MSN from Psychiatry

Laura Hernandez, ARNP, MSN

Dania Vazquez exemplifies everything that the Daisy award stands for: she provides compassionate care, exemplary service, and is constantly pushing herself and staff towards the commitment to excellence.  Dania is a constant advocate for the patients that she serves and the staff that she teaches.  There isn’t a time that Dania doesn’t go above and beyond what is expected of her.  Whatever task she engages in she makes sure she gives it her all and never stops short of excellence.  Her work ethics and professionalism are contagious, and she makes you want to strive to do better.  Dania has served as my mentor in Psychiatry and is always there to provide words of inspiration.  She is a great motivator and is always willing to listen.  Dania has not only inspired me to be a better nurse, but most importantly a better person.  She has taught me that as a leader the most important thing is to live by example, which she so eloquently demonstrates on a day to day basis.  Dania is currently on the Daisy committee and she loves to pay tribute to other nurses for their excellent service.  I feel that it’s time for us to return the favor and pay tribute to everything she so selfishly does for us, and the hospital.  The question should not be why Dania deserves the Daisy award, yet it should be why has it taken so long for her to receive it?


2009 July DAISY Winner: Cindy Pelley-Johnson from the Cardiac Care Center

Cindy Pelley Johnson Daisy Award Recipient July 2009I would like to nominate Cindy Pelley-Johnson from the Cardiac Care Center for the Daisy Award. There is not one single scenario that I can use to describe what makes her so special – it is the consistency of her actions over time that amazes me. Cindy has held her CCRN certification for many years – way before it became “encouraged” and rewarded. Cindy comes to work with positive energy and a positive attitude. She always puts the patient first – even when she is taking a break or is outside of her patient’s room, you can see her sitting nearby so that she always has an eye on her patient. Cindy excels clinically and her judgement is impeccable.  As the unit’s “Post-op Nurse”, she is respected by the nursing staff, medical team, and surgeons. Dr. Burke and Dr. Hannan always breathe a little easier when they see Cindy at the bedside!

Cindy basically precepts every RN that is oriented to the CICU – everyone spends 2 weeks doing post-ops with her, and she has never once complained. Cindy is a patient advocate,  educator, mentor, clinical resource and dedicated professional. She cares for and educates her families with earnest, and is loved and respected by them all.  Cindy is a true leader in the unit and sets the nursing standards exceptionally high for the rest of the staff. For her commitment to her patients and families over the years, I believe that Cindy represents all that the Daisy Award stands for and is a very worthy candidate for this honor.


2009 June DAISY Winner: Margot Sarratea, RN (Radiology)

Margot Sarratea Daisy Award Recipient June 2009I would like to nominate Margot Sarratea for the Daisy Award, although I feel that it is several months past due. Margot has gone above and beyond the call of duty consistently in the MRl department. She cares for children with love and affection as if they were her own. Margot is a recovery room nurse but that does not limit her ability or willingness to help in the phase 2 recovery area and has on numerous occasions stayed after her shift is over to assist her co-workers care for the patients in the pre and post MRI areas.

Margot has diligently helped to raise funds for nurses week donating countless hours helping with bake sales and candy grams. She has donated money towards the purchase of baked goods and candy along with donations towards the decorations to make the delivery cart look appealing.

She was instrumental in decorating the MRI department over the Christmas Holidays, donating again countless hours and money. She stayed after her shift was over and at times as late as midnight to complete the task. "The Polar Express" was the theme that the MRI department had chosen and what a task it was to transform an outpatient area into the "Polar Express." She has the innate ability to bring others together to join in whatever needs to be done to get the job done. She also is extremely creative. I am still in awe of how she pulled it all together.

This winter wonderland came to life and included the train engine, train tracks, passenger cars, train tickets, hot chocolate, and to top it off, Santa with his bag of gifts and a bell for each child. This scene had such an impact of the families and children touring the unit that one parent in particular that had been through a particularly difficult year was brought to tears stating that this holiday fairy tale come to life has her believing that perhaps holiday dreams do come true.

Margot gives of herself unconditionally. She is caring compassionate and her spirit is the essence of what nursing should be.

Margot Sarratea is an outstanding individual. She has a bigger heart then most can carry. She is so full of spirit. She comes to work each day with a smile on her face despite what may be going on in her day to day life. She is always willing to lend a hand when ever you're in need. When is comes to patient care she goes above and beyond. A great example of that would be our holiday decorating contest. For two years in a row thanks to Margot great sprit she has helped bring this department into first place. Touching so many hearts bring so much joy into our patient's hearts and even brought out tears from our parents and even our staff.   Trust me when I tell you that its not winning the contest that brings her joy is seeing our patients jumping for joy after getting the bad news that they will spend the holidays in the hospital instead of home. She donates not only so much time staying even after midnight to get the work done but also donates the money to help with the decorating cost. She is also part of the nursing committee. Donating candy grams to help raise money for our valentine fund raiser. She also helped by bring in baked goods to help with the bake sales. I would not think twice when nominating Margot for our daisy award. She well deserves it and I have the great pleasure of being able to working with her.

2009 May DAISY Winner: Shannon Hutcherson, RN (CICU)

Shannon Hutcherson Daisy Award RecipientI would like to nominate Shannon Hutcherson from CICU for the DAISY award. Shannon is an exceptional nurse and a kind and compassionate person. She came to the CICU in 2007 with many years of ER experience under her belt and has proved to be a wonderful asset to our team. She is an IV whiz, and never hesitates to try and find access on any of our patients, including those on 2NE, even when she is not caring for them that day and has her own busy assignment. On several occurrences, Shannon stayed over after her shift to try and obtain an IV on  a baby that was on several drip medications when the IV nurse was busy and could not come to get a restart. Her prior ER experience allows her to be very knowledgeable about disease states/conditions other than just cardiac problems and she is always willing to share her extensive knowledge with the other staff. She is a friendly person and always has a smile on her  face or a kind or encouraging word to say to everyone. She has worked several  nightshifts over the course of her employment here and when working with her  have noted her to be a team player and very willing to help others. However, it is not only her superb clinical skills and her friendly demeanor that contribute to her excellence as a nurse- it is her personal experiences. Shannon bad a son who was a patient in our CICU several years ago and who passed away at another hospital while waiting for a heart transplant. This experience enables her to connect with our patients and their families on a completely different level and allows her to understand what t hey are going through because she has been there herself. Recently, we have had a patient in the unit that is undergoing transplant evaluation. Shannon has been able to be very honest with the mother about the process and very sensitive to her needs as she goes through this ordeal. She is also able to coordinate well with the medical team about things that the transplant hospital will be looking for (ex- consults, labs, tests, etc), things that may have been overlooked otherwise. In addition to the experiences with reason, Shannon also is the mother of twins that were born premature and have numerous medical needs. She is therefore exceptional at caring for or more chronic patients and advocates for them and their families in all areas. Shannon is a delight to work with and a true blessing to the Cardiac Care Center. I hope she continues to work with our team for many years to come. Thanks Shannon, for all of your dedication to our unit, as well as to the nurses on your team."

We also had a patient in CICU last summer whose family was here from the islands. The baby was very sick and needed surgery, and was having a number of other complications. The mother was staying at Devonshire but had no other family support in the States or any transportation other than cabs/buses. One evening after working and before going hometo her own family, Shannon took the time to drive this mother to the grocery store so that she could get groceries and other items she needed tor her stay. I think that this selflessness should also be recognized.

2009 April DAISY Award Winner:  Laura Traini-Mongelli, RN, NICU

Laura Traini Mongelli Daisy Award RecipientDuring a short time when we had some losses on the unit, and understanding how difficult the journey of mourning is for a mother who has experienced a loss, Laura expressed a desire to get our mothers in NICU the Early Infant Memory Box where they could keep the precious items from the baby.  For the fundraising she spent many hours from her personal time on “the holiday candy gram”. She obtained orders to deliver candy to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, South Dade and Blue Lagoon campuses, and also bought a camera with other funds for the staff to take pictures of special moments with the parent holding the baby, and is involved in sending pictures to their families with the parent’s consent when they are out of town and do not have the resources to travel and see the baby during the hospitalization. Laura’s efforts have helped acquire memory boxes to help the families memorialize the loss of their babies.

Nominated By: Mirtha Gonzalez, NICU Director

March Winner for 2009 - Jeanie Buckley, RN – 3Northeast

Jeanie Buckley Daisy Award Recipient March 2009Jeannie Buckley lives and breathes the life of a nurse. She cares for each of her patients as if they were one of her own children, addressing every need of the child and family. She recently took on the responsibility of the care of a complex child, which is not unusual. However, this child required a complex skill that is not the standard of care on her unit. She took it upon herself to learn the skill and become the “superuser”. She came in for extras so that the care could be rendered and on her days off came in to teach the nurses who had not previously cared for the patient, shadowing them throughout the day until they became proficient. The needs of the child were all that she thought about.

She truly looks at each child in a holistic manner, assessing what other needs beside medical care need to be meet. She comes in on her days off to decorate the unit and in her spare time makes specialty pillows for each child on the unit using her own funds.

February Winners for 2009 - Yarelis Alicea, RN, Tania A. Martinez, RN and Zonia M. Comas, RN - Trauma Emergency Room Department

Yarelis Alicea, RN, Tania A. Martinez, RN and Zonia M. Comas, RN Daisy Award Recipients February 2009During a recent trauma, the nurses, techs, security guards and even the housekeeper worked together as a team. What impacted me the most was the mom repeating “what great teamwork, what a team!!! I know they are trying!!" The mother of the child noticed every effort made by everyone, and although her child was in peril, she was so appreciative. Although sometimes as caregivers we have a difficult time and our work can bring so many challenges, on this day and so many others I saw the staff working together as a great team.  I saw people trying to save a child.  I saw people working harder than ever, people crying, identifying themselves with this mom who desperately cried for her child.

We were so moved by this tragedy that the ER staff made a collection to help with funeral services. I would like to thank Zonia and Tania for starting this collection during the night shift. In total $426 dollars were collected. I took this money yesterday to the mom during the funeral. She stopped to look at me and stood with me in front of her child's casket. She asked for everyone’s attention and in front of everyone she thanked me and Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, for trying to save her child. She was extremely grateful. She could not stop saying how great we were and what great teamwork she saw. This was followed by a few people applauding. So many people came up to me to say thanks. I wish we could have all been there, because it was not just me, it was the effort of so many people. She told me she would go to the ER to personally thank everyone who was there that day. She also expressed how happy she was that I was there representing our ER. She didn’t even look in to the envelope full of money. All she cared was that WE CARED for her and her child.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to realize how lucky we are for having our health and our children safe. It also makes us realize what nursing is all about.  It doesn’t matter if changes are occurring for the safety of the children. What matters is that we work with a great team!!!

I would like to thank everyone who was there that day.  Not only in direct contact with this patient, but everyone who was in the ER because everyone worked together and did not forget about every other patient in the ER that day. I would also like to thank everyone who donated money, because even though we did not pay for the funeral in total, we helped this mom.

 Thank you.

Yarelis Alicea, RN, CPN, CPEN

January Winner for 2009 - Abel Guerrero, RN, Emergency Department

Abel Guerrero, RN, Emergency DepartmentAbel Guerrero shows commitment to patient-centered care on a daily basis. Whether Abel is acting in charge of the unit, working as a staff nurse, precepting a new oncoming nurse or any other countless projects that he is involved with, he gives himself to the task at hand 100 percent. Abel is always looking for ways the Emergency Department (ED) can better itself and is particularly interested in how the hospital can better its relation with our clientele. Abel is involved with the ED’s Family Centered Care Committee, the Morale and Retention Committee and is the chair of the department’s Self Scheduling Committee.

Abel comes to work with determination and a great sense of humor and is always looking for the patient’s best interest. I cannot remember the last time Abel called out from work and I would venture to say he has not called out of work once in over five years. Abel started at Nicklaus Children's Hospital as an EMT and has advanced as a RN III. Abel’s skills as a nurse has advanced dramatically over the past years and he has become an expert resource, he is always trying to learn something new and relishes the challenges.

Abel shows empathy with not only the patients but with the family and caretakers involved with the patient. Abel is the epitome of being a family advocate and if there are any conflicts between the family and the medical staff, he is the go to mediator. Abel is always looking for new opportunities for professional growth and I would not doubt seeing him in an administrative role in the near future.

For these reasons and more I think Abel Guerrero deserves the Daisy Award and regardless of who receives the award, Abel will always be considered an extraordinary nurse to me and the ED.

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