DAISY Foundation Co-Founder on How Adtalem Adds to Nursing Care

May 7, 2024
a photo of Bonnie and Mark Barnes

Bonnie Barnes has devoted more than 20 years to recognizing compassion in nurses. Here she shares how Adtalem’s nursing programs stand out.  

Bonnie and Mark Barnes were inspired to create The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses® by the gratitude they felt for nurses who cared for their son Patrick when he was hospitalized for an auto-immune disease. 

By Bonnie Barnes, co-founder of The DAISY Foundation 

In 1999, at the age of 33, my stepson, Patrick Barnes, spent eight weeks in the hospital before succumbing to the auto-immune disease Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura. This heartbreak was nearly impossible to bear, but our family’s experience with the nurses we encountered was full of clinical excellence and compassion, helping us through the darkest hours of our lives.

In the world of modern healthcare, words like “technology,” “innovation,” and “efficiency” often take center stage. Although these are integral to the continued progression of the field, compassion—the very essence of care—must not be overlooked. Compassion can be defined as the emotional response to another’s pain or suffering coupled with an authentic desire to help. In today’s healthcare, we know from our experience that compassion is more than a nicety; it is an element essential to healthcare delivery that, when employed well, improves overall patient outcomes and enhances the wellbeing of patients, their loved ones, and their providers.

Compassionate care ventures beyond prescribed medical procedures and treatments, delving into the realm of human connections unique to each patient and their family. To say thank you to nurses for the extraordinary difference Patrick’s nurses made for him and our family during his hospitalization, we created the DAISY Foundation™ (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System) and The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses. To date, we have honored over 220,000 nurses and nurse educators in 41 countries, expressing patient and family gratitude for the compassionate and skillful care nurses provide patients and families.

In addition to partnering with healthcare facilities, we partner with hundreds of colleges of nursing to recognize nursing faculty who dedicate their lives to teaching and inspiring future nurses who will provide care with not only their brains but also their hearts.

Adtalem Global Education and its institutions Chamberlain University and Walden University are just such partners whose faculty are seasoned healthcare professionals who bring real-world expertise into the classroom, be it in person or online, venturing outside the bounds of traditional education. We are proud of the fact that they are also the largest grantor of U.S. nursing degrees and the #1 grantor of Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner, and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees to under-represented minority students. Significant research shows that health outcomes are better when providers reflect the communities they serve, and institutions like theirs help build an intuitive level of trust between patient and provider based on the sense of familiarity that fosters better health outcomes. 

Nurses who graduate with an understanding of the importance of delivering compassionate care, in addition to a strong foundation in nursing theory and practice, are prepared to enter the healthcare workforce as practice-ready clinicians. This is why nursing programs that infuse care into education and provide students with the wrap-around support they need to become successful practitioners are so highly respected by their communities. Schools dedicated to bettering healthcare through a compassionate approach to healthcare delivery distinguish them as leaders of the future of healthcare education.

According to research from the National Institutes of Health, the relationship between a nurse and their patient is the most important step in providing professional care. Nurses who communicate from a place of understanding create comfort and reduce the patients’—and their families’—grief and suffering. For this reason, institutions that focus on a culture of care, like Chamberlain University, are a perfect fit for the DAISY Foundation’s mission of gratitude for compassionate nursing care. Programs such as these reinforce the importance of the human connection—a quality DAISY honors—in healthcare and healthcare education and ensure that students have the resources needed to complete their nursing education and join the workforce prepared to practice with competence and compassion.

Nursing education that incorporates values such as empathy, understanding, gratitude, and compassion is vital as we look to the future of healthcare. Equipping future clinicians with not only the clinical expertise we as patients and family members expect of them but also the ability to connect with us on a personal level humanizes the interaction between patient and nurse and differentiates the care we receive. The “virtuous cycle” seen in compassionate care is something that ripples through society, fostering an ecosystem rooted in empathy and understanding. We know from our experience just how impactful this is, and we hope institutions of higher education will continue to contribute to a more compassionate healthcare system, improving healthcare outcomes for all.

Meet Adtalem’s DAISY Award-Winning Nurses of 2023

For more information, email the Adtalem Global Communications Team: adtalemmedia@adtalem.com.