Michael Knorr Honored With 2021 DAISY Leader Award

Michael Knorr, MSN, RN, PCCN

When the call for 2021 DAISY Leader nominations was announced, one name came to mind for a multitude of colleagues: Michael Knorr, MSN, RN, PCCN, vice president, Patient Care Services.

About a dozen of Knorr’s colleagues penned testimonials, speaking to his “genuine care, advocacy and support” for his nursing teams. Staff members shared that they feel comfortable approaching him with ideas and concerns, and his leaders said they feel engaged, heard and valued.

“We work harder because we want to be better for him,” read the collaborative nomination. “Mike embodies our values and behaviors in such a way that staff have begun mirroring them as well.”

In reviewing the nominations, Professional Nurse Council members “were moved by the number and by the heartfelt comments and anecdotes about Mike’s extraordinary leadership,” said Professional Nurse Council chair Nathalie Miller, BSN, RN-NIC.

With DAISY Leader Award winner Michael Knorr are (from left) Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming; wife Kristine Knorr; and Chief Nursing Officer for Acute Care Cathy Fernald.

“Mike is a role model who advocates for his caregivers and understands that the patient experience is shaped by the caregiver experience.”

Many of Knorr’s units underwent changes during the pandemic: They became COVID-19-designated units, took on different staffing models and increased their census to meet the capacity demands of the organization.

One colleague described how Knorr served with love and excellence during the most difficult time in modern health care.

“A testament to leadership is how one deals with crisis,” the nomination read. “Throughout, Mike has modeled resilience and created a culture of sustainability among his units. He is quick to adapt and collaborative along our journey.”

During the height of the pandemic, Knorr organized a seven-day-a-week COVID-19 Leader Rounding Program, which helped managers with work-life balance and provided off-shift teams with the leadership support to resolve unique situations. He attends unit-based council meetings and huddles and listens to his frontline providers.

Knorr digs in hands-on to help staff navigate challenging care situations. Wrote one nominator: “He shows up on off-shifts, he shows up on weekends, he shows up when we can’t figure out what to do next … he just shows up.”

He also encourages professional development. A champion of the Medical Nurse Residency Program, Knorr is helping advance the next generation of nursing leaders. During the height of the pandemic, he guided 30 new nurses through unit moves and downsizing, updated them on transitions, and helped to develop an RN III liaison group to support them through unit rotations.

Knorr joined Christiana Care in 1995 as a direct care nurse at Wilmington Hospital and became a nurse manager in 2002, where he has led both the intensive care and stepdown units. He became vice president of Patient Care Services, Acute Medicine Service Line in 2018.

“There are countless reasons why Mike is deserving of this honor, but it all boils down to his character,” a nominator wrote.

“He leads by example, is true to his word and, most importantly, cares about patients and staff. We hit the jackpot when Mike came to ChristianaCare.”

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