Danielle Weber, MSN, MS, RN-BC, nurse manager of both the Neurocritical Care Unit and Transitional Neuro Unit and Neurosciences Service Line nursing leader, received the inaugural DAISY Leader Award at a Professional Nurse Council celebration on Feb. 10.

The DAISY Award, an international nurse recognition program, honors nursing excellence. The Professional Nurse Council oversees the highly successful DAISY program at Christiana Care, which honors individual nurses for exceptional care and this year added the DAISY Nurse Leader Award to its recognition.

“Danielle is a role model of caring who provides a safe, nurturing environment so her staff and colleagues can perform at their best and continue to grow professionally,” said Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming, Ed.D., RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Even while working under pressure, a nurse leader sets the tone for an empathetic, compassionate environment where nurses can work at the top of their license to provide care our patients value.”

Celebrating nursing excellence are DAISY Leader nominee Christie Williams, MSN, RN-BC, assistant nurse manager of the Cardiac Short Stay Unit; DAISY Leader honoree Danielle Weber; Cynthia D. Sweeney, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, executive director of the DAISY Foundation; and DAISY Leader nominee Dennis Harris, MSN, RN-BC, nurse manager of the ACE Unit.

Cuming also congratulated DAISY Leader nominees Dennis Harris, MSN, RN-BC, nurse manager of the ACE Unit, and Christie Williams, MSN, RN-BC, assistant nurse manager of the Cardiac Short Stay Unit as “expert, caring partners to our patients and exemplary leaders to your staff and colleagues.”

Neurocritical nurse Tara Miles, BSN, RNIII, CCRN, nominated Weber, citing her leadership in creating an environment where nurses feel valued, are comfortable voicing their concerns and opinions, and work in partnership to help patients achieve optimal health.

Under Weber’s leadership, staff satisfaction ratings are high. Nurses also work to improve their skills. On the Neurocritical Care Unit, 63 percent of nurses are certified in a specialty; 83 percent of nurses hold their Bachelor of Science in nursing, which is above the national average; and more nurses are studying for bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“Danielle genuinely cares about her staff, and seeing them become successful is a goal of hers,” Miles wrote in her nomination. “There have been several times where I have just walked in her office, plopped down and started asking questions about my master’s degree. She always takes the time to guide me in the right direction.”

Weber says she, too, benefited greatly from mentors Joan Pirrung, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, manager, Trauma Program, and Donna Casey, DNP(c), MA, RN, NE-BC, FABC, vice president, Patient Care Services, “who truly want me to be the best that I can be.”

Even as a leader, Weber also is a hands-on nurse, working directly at the bedside with patients and families.

“She sets an amazing example for her staff, which makes us all want to provide the best care possible for our patients,” Miles said.

Weber said creating a culture of collaboration and caring contributes to better outcomes.

“When your staff is happy, the patients and families are happy, as well,” she said. “They are more participatory in their care when they feel that the staff truly cares for them. I have a wonderful, engaged and caring staff. I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”

A Christiana Care nurse since 1995, Weber became a patient care coordinator in 2003 and was promoted to manager of the Transitional Surgical Unit in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Neumann University and a dual master’s degree in nursing leadership and health care administration from Wilmington University.

“Nurses often work quietly, without expecting recognition,” said Maria Brown, BSN, RN, PCCN, of the Transitional Surgical Unit and chair of the Professional Nurse Council. “Through the DAISY program we have the opportunity to thank nurses for bringing their all every day.”

The Professional Nurse Council at Christiana Care selects DAISY Award recipients using a blind selection process based on nominations from patients, families, staff and volunteers. All nurses — inpatient, outpatient and VNA — are eligible. The Professional Nurse Council will name the first DAISY Team Award recipients in April.