Kellie Kessler, MSN, RN, CCRN, Radiology nurse manager at Christiana Care, is a leader other nurses want to work with and learn from. She demonstrates the health system’s values of excellence and love by fostering a setting where nurses feel supported, safe and motivated. She sets a leadership example with such initiatives as improvements to the waiting area for patients and writing thank you notes to patients and families for the privilege of caring for them.

For her exceptional work, Kessler received the DAISY Nurse Leader Award at a Professional Nurse Council celebration in February. The DAISY Award is an international recognition program that honors nursing excellence and compassion.

“Through her leadership, Kellie provides a nurturing environment for nurses,” said Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming, Ed.D., RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “She embodies Christiana Care’s commitment to delivering high-quality care with excellence and love.”

Brenda Clark, BSN, RN, CCRN nominated Kessler for “amazing leadership skills and hard work.” She noted efforts toward optimal health and exceptional experience such as a robust Radiology “float pool” to bolster staffing and improved cleaning procedures to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.

“Kellie did this by exhibiting amazing leadership skills and hard work,” Clark wrote. “Not only does her staff feel as though they can confide in her, lean on her for support, learn from her, and feel their own growth being fostered, but they can relate to her.

“Kellie has the two most important qualities that any leader can exhibit towards their staff: She never asks anything of the staff that she cannot — or would not — perform herself, and the staff will say ‘she has my back.’”

“The DAISY Nurse Leader creates a positive, safe environment for staff and patients while exemplifying values of teamwork and professional governance,” said Paige Merring, BSN, RN III, CCRN, chair of the Professional Nurse Council. The DAISY Nurse Leader Award, given annually, was established in 2017.

Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex team wins DAISY recognition

The Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex achieved a DAISY Team Award. This honor recognizes collaboration and teamwork that make a measurable, positive difference in the lives of patients, families and community members. The unit was nominated by the brother of a patient, who praised nurses for their compassionate care.

The Professional Nurse Council noted how well the team worked together and how each individual member provided compassionate care.

“When you are a member of a high functioning team in which everyone takes accountability for the care they provide, the ultimate outcome is better care for our patients and a happier work environment for our caregivers,” said Merring.

The staff at the Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex earned a DAISY Team Award for extraordinary collaboration in patient care.

Nationally recognized for excellence, the CVCCC has held a gold-level Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses continuously since 2013. The honor signals sustained staff-driven excellence in improving patient clinical outcomes that exceed national benchmarks and attaining the highest levels of satisfaction among patients and their families, as well as the nurses who serve on the unit.

The 26-bed CVCCC provides evidence-based intensive and progressive care for critically ill cardiac medical and surgical patients, including those treated for myocardial infarction, acute decompensated heart failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, post-cardiovascular intervention and post-cardiothoracic surgery.

The unit provides specialized care for patients requiring cardiac-assist devices — such as bridge-to-transplant and destination left-ventricular-assist device (LVAD), extra corporeal membrane oxygenation and intra-aortic balloon pumps — and treats patients requiring slow, low-efficiency daily dialysis transfusions and fluid resuscitation, pericardial drains and targeted temperature management.

The unit’s innovative physical environment is designed to promote healing and improved patient outcomes and satisfaction — features such as open visitation, daily quiet time, elimination of unnecessary alarms, and private rooms with natural light.

Nearly 90 percent of the registered nurses in the CVCCC hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in Nursing; 27 percent of the staff is actively seeking advanced degrees; and more than half are specialty certified. Nearly half of the staff has worked on the unit for at least five years. The unit maintains a tier 1 (highest) rating in employee engagement in the Press Ganey Employee Engagement Survey.

About DAISY Awards

The family of J. Patrick Barnes created the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award in 1999 to honor his memory with a tribute to the skillful and compassionate care he received from his nurses during his hospitalization. Today, more than 2,500 health care facilities in every state in the U.S. and in 21 other countries honor nurses with the DAISY Award.

The Professional Nurse Council at Christiana Care selects DAISY Award recipients through an anonymous selection process based on nominations from patients, families and all members of the Christiana Care team. All nurses — inpatient, outpatient and VNA — are eligible.

Click here to nominate a Christiana Care nurse for a DAISY Award.