The Wilmington Hospital Intensive Care Unit (WICU) has earned Christiana Care’s DAISY Team Award for Extraordinary Nurses in the first occasion of a team award based on a nomination by a person from the community.

The WICU was nominated by Jamie Murray, whose wife Mary spent 10 weeks in Christiana and Wilmington hospitals receiving care from more than 50 caregivers for treatment and rehab related to severe abdominal sepsis and multiple organ failure issues.

“It is extremely difficult to isolate a few caregivers who saved my wife’s life,” Murray said. “But the Wilmington ICU nurses stood out in their skills and compassion in helping her move through the haze generated by three vasopressors, two broad-spectrum antibiotics, multiple surgical interventions, hemodialysis, ventilator dependent respiratory failure and a-fib. My wife is living proof that the WICU respectfully, expertly and in a caring way, day-after-day for almost five weeks, helped her recover.

“In April, my wife underwent emergent, life-saving surgery. My daughter and I spent most of the first few days with her. During that time, Kate Armstrong, BSN, RN III, CCRN, and other WICU nurses compassionately explained the multiple medicines and their purpose in ways that strengthened our hope that the WICU team was on top of her life-threatening condition and she had a chance to survive.

“The WICU team’s skill and competencies were apparent. But it was their compassion and positive attitude that carried us throughout our stay in the WICU. Every member of our care team always gave us the positive feeling that their skills would help my wife continue to improve. All of them projected a positive, ‘you are taking baby steps forward’ atmosphere.’”

The team received the DAISY Award at a surprise presentation attended by the Mary Murray, her daughter and granddaughters.

“It was touching to see a patient who has struggled with such a life-threatening illness recover and come back and thank the nurses who cared for her,” said Tammy Layer, MSN, RN, OCN, nurse navigator with the supportive and palliative care team and co-chair of the Professional Nurse Council. “She was with the WICU for a long time, and the team and family formed a powerful connection.”

In 2016, the nine-bed WICU, which cares for some of the most vulnerable patients at Christiana Care, received a Silver Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The team has also earned recognition for its ongoing, successful work that has brought about improvements in clinical outcomes and patient safety.

The Professional Nurse Council at Christiana Care selects DAISY Award recipients using a blinded selection process based on nominations from patients, families, staff and volunteers. All nurses — inpatient, outpatient and VNA — are eligible.