by Abby Grizzard
The DAISY Foundation recently awarded the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses to three University of West Georgia Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) students who exemplify compassion and excellence in nursing – Kristie Gardner ’23, Dejah Shipman ’24 and Emily Powell ’24.
Patients, family members, faculty and others who observe or experience exceptional care from nursing professionals nominate DAISY candidates who epitomize the qualities needed to excel as a nurse.
Powell and Shipman received nominations from Wellstar Health System for fulfilling these outstanding roles as healthcare professionals.
Powell suffered through an extensive sickness that resulted in two missed years of high school and, after a carousel of hospital visits, discovered her calling as a nurse.
“When I got sick, I went to multiple doctors, sat throughout countless tests and was put on endless rotations of different medications,” said Powell. “At 15, I knew I never wanted anyone to experience what I’d gone through. I believe it was my calling to nursing.”
Shipman understood her passion at a younger age as she went from playing “dress up” as a nurse to wearing real scrubs as an RN.
Despite their varying backgrounds, these instances inspired these UWG students to provide countless patients with intentional, above-and-beyond care, resulting in the coveted DAISY Award.
THSSON nominated and awarded Gardner her DAISY Award during the Fall 2023 Commencement celebration.
Gardner experienced significant loss after caring for both her father and adopted son, who both passed away in 2016 and 2019, respectively.
“After experiencing such significant grief, I felt lost and without purpose,” explained Gardner. “Through this suffering, my purpose to become a nurse became ignited. In 2021, I started my journey with the UWG nursing program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in December 2023.”
These nurses acknowledge the significance of the DAISY Award and express deep appreciation for being recognized with such an admirable accolade.
“This award is one of the biggest honors a nurse can have,” said Shipman. “To me, the DAISY Award means dedication, compassion and kindness, down to the little things others may overlook.”
Gardner expressed similar sentiments.
“Receiving the DAISY Award is a tremendous honor,” said Gardner. “Winning this award set a standard for me as a nurse by treating each patient as if they were my family member by taking the time to make a connection, offering a smile and words of encouragement, and truly listening.”
All three students praise THSSON as a vessel to achieve their accomplishments.
“UWG’s nursing program has been a big part of my life,” said Powell. “This program helped me accomplish my dream of becoming a nurse. I’ve met some great people and professors throughout my time there and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”