Lincolnland Hospice nurse Cassie Burnett, RN, was honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses at Sarah Bush Lincoln on August 15.
Burnett was nominated after making a special connection with Joel Hilgendorf, a 28-year-old Tuscola native who was receiving hospice care. Hilgendorf wanted to thank Burnett for the compassionate care she provided and for bringing him peace during his final days. Sadly, he passed away on July 9 after a valiant cancer battle, but not before helping his mother compose a nomination letter. He was grateful to learn that Burnett would receive the DAISY award in August before he died.
In her letter, Ann Hilgendorf wrote: “Cassie grabbed my son’s hand and talked to him at his level during their very first conversation. My son didn’t even know she was going to be his nurse, yet she tried to comfort him knowing it had been an emotional day starting hospice. We felt an immediate connection with her and we could tell that she genuinely cared. Because of that, we knew that she wanted to be his full time nurse. We have had a lot of nurses but never had been helped entering hospice, which is such a scary situation.
My son used humor to stay out of that dark, depressing place and Cassie understood his humor and gave it back to him. She treated Joel like a friend, not as a patient. She has been a good educator for our family, as well, which was vital for his care. Cassie has also been very responsible in taking care of all my son’s medical needs.
This is not an experience anyone wants to go through, but it would not have been the same without Cassie. She made an undesirable hospice experience one of security and comfort. Her time and patience made my son and my family more at peace. She is truly my angel of hope.”
Sarah Bush Lincoln has joined more than 2,400 healthcare facilities by becoming a DAISY Award hospital partner. During the award presentation, Burnett received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a unique, hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, entitled, “A Healer’s Touch.”
The DAISY Award was established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at 33 of 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 families.
Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians and other employees may nominate a deserving nurse for The Daisy Award and a nurse will be selected by SBL’s DAISY committee every month to received this special honor. Nomination forms are located at www.sarahbush.org and at all SBL clinics and on patient floors. The forms can be submitted to any Sarah Bush Lincoln staff member, or sent via email to [email protected] or mail to Sarah Bush Lincoln, DAISY Nursing Award, 1000 Health Center Drive, Mattoon, IL 61938. For more information, contact SBL DAISY coordinator, Cynthia Edwards, RN, at (217) 238 -3422 or [email protected].