Press Release

Press Release — Waupun Memorial Hospital Medical/Surgical registered nurse receives DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses honor

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SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac
February 29th, 2024, 7:37AM
SSM Health Staff

Heather Abel, RN, Medical/Surgical, has been named a DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses winner at SSM Health Waupun Memorial Hospital.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses® is part of The DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day.

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes by members of his family. 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. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) 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.

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues. The award recipient is chosen based on specific criteria to receive The DAISY Award. Awards are presented to one recipient at a celebration attended by the honoree’s colleagues, patients, and visitors.

Abel was nominated by a patient’s family who wrote:

“While in the hospital, his care was wonderful throughout. If we could, we’d write a recommendation for all of them – Laura, Phylicia, Alexi, Vanessa, Lorna, Kat, Whitney, Kathy, Vicki, and the hospice nurse, Sandy (there were more, but we didn’t get them all down). The CNAs were wonderful, too – Wanda and Christina were two we recall… Heather was grandpa’s nurse a few times, and each time she spent some extra time with him and our family, to either explain things, answer questions, or just reminisce with us. We felt so welcomed and at home – which is hard in a hospital, especially knowing grandpa wasn’t going home – from chatting with us, to making sure grandma had some support – she took excellent care of all of us. Anna from hospice was awesome! Dr. Mohiuddin was patient, kind, and great at explaining options.”

During a brief ceremony, Abel was recognized by Nicole Gill, vice president – clinical administrator at Waupun Memorial Hospital. Abel received a certificate commending her as an “Extraordinary Nurse.”  The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” Honorees also receive a DAISY Award pin, and a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

“When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night,” according to Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, president and co-founder of The DAISY Foundation. “Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human, extraordinary, compassionate work they do. The kind of work the nurses at Waupun Memorial Hospital are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

More information is available at