"The Healer's Touch" - Symbolizing the relationship between nurses, patients, and families.
"The Healer's Touch" - symbolizing the relationship between nurses, patients, and families

In late 1999, at the age of 33, Patrick Barnes woke up with some blood blisters in his mouth. A visit to the doctor revealed he had a dangerously low platelet count and he was admitted to the hospital.  The diagnosis was the auto-immune disease ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura).

Here’s how Patrick’s father, Mark Barnes, describes the reason DAISY was created:  

" Bonnie (Patrick’s stepmother) and I are so fortunate that we were able to spend the eight weeks of Patrick’s hospitalization with him. During those weeks,Image of Bonnie and Mark Barnes we experienced the best of Nursing. We were there to witness his nurses’ clinical skill that dealt with his very complex medical situation, their fast thinking that saved his life more than once, and the nursing excellence that took them years  to hone to the best of the profession. But frankly, as a patient family, we rather expected that Patrick would have great clinical care. What we did not expect was the kindness and compassion they showed Patrick and all of us in his family every day. We were awed by the way the nurses touched him and spoke with him, even when he was totally sedated. The way they informed and educated us eased our minds, and their sensitivity to what we were going through made a great difference in our experience in the hospital. They truly helped us through the darkest hours of our lives, with soft voices of hope and strong loving hugs that to this day, we still feel.

"Just days after he died, we began talking about what we would do to help fill the giant hole in our hearts that Patrick’s passing had left.  His wife, Tena, came up with the acronym, DAISY, standing for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, and we filed our papers to become a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. As Bonnie, Tena, and I discussed what to do in Patrick’s memory, we knew that first and foremost, we needed to say Thank You for the gifts nurses give their patients and families every day, just as we had experienced.

"We created The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses and piloted the program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at the University of Washington Medical Center. It was their nurses who cared for Patrick during the last weeks of his life. We wanted to give patients, families, and co-workers an easy way to express their gratitude for nurses who provide extraordinary compassionate care.  And we wanted the program to honor nurses all year long – not only during Nurses Week.  At the time we started the program, we could not have anticipated that The DAISY Award would come to be regarded as a strategic tool for nurse recruitment, retention, and resilience, adopted by healthcare facilities across the continuum of care all over the U.S. and beyond. The creative ways nurses and their organizations have brought The DAISY Award to life to honor compassionate care have inspired and delighted us."

The body of evidence revealing DAISY’s impact is significant. It is apparent that the Barnes Family’s effort at expressing personal, heartfelt appreciation to nurses for the important difference they make in all the lives they touch is having a powerful effect.


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Today, DAISY proudly honors Nurses wherever they practice, in whatever role they serve, and throughout their careers- from nursing student through lifetime achievement. 

Given the growing importance of teamwork in delivering high quality healthcare, The DAISY Team Award plays a vital role as DAISY partner organizations embed the program in their cultures. 

Similarly, recognition for nurse leaders who create the environment where compassionate care thrives pays tribute to the leaders who are eager to provide recognition for their teams but don’t get nearly enough recognition themselves.

The DAISY Award for Nursing Faculty is helping to lift those nurses who educate and nurture future nurses and those advancing their expertise.

DAISY organizations now honor their nurses who advance health equity with their work in the community.

Mission Statement

The DAISY Foundation expresses gratitude to Nurses with programs that recognize them for the extraordinary compassionate, skillful care they provide patients and families. By honoring compassionate nurses, DAISY reinforces the importance of compassion in healthcare, shining a light on all the right in nursing.


Every organization where nurses practice in the world will want to embed DAISY recognition programs in their cultures since DAISY Awards inspire nurses to provide extraordinary care not only with their brains but also with their hearts.


The DAISY Foundation, created to express gratitude by a family that experienced extraordinary nursing, is the international leader in meaningful recognition of nurses. Everyone who is involved with DAISY, whether they are presenting the Awards, choosing Honorees, or coordinating the program, is an extension of this family and their expression of this gratitude.

We invite every organization that employs nurses to join us in shining a light on all the right and celebrate the art of nursing around the world.


Pat, Tena, Baby Riley

About Patrick

Everyone who met Patrick even once was touched by his positive spirit and his sense of humor. Twice a survivor of Hodgkin's Disease, Pat was driven by a desire to befriend others and help them in any way he could. His legacy is clear: whenever he came across anyone in need, he never turned his back. He reached out to comfort, to make them feel okay. Pat was a natural mentor, sharing his phenomenally positive outlook on life with a wide network of friends and family around the country with whom he stayed in constant contact. The DAISY Foundation was established to keep his very special spirit alive.

Patrick and his wife Tena, now Co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for The DAISY Foundation, had a baby girl, Riley, just six weeks before he developed symptoms of ITP.  She is now a college graduate, on her way to a career as an occupational therapist.