Bonnie Barnes spent her career working as an advertising and marketing executive. She was retired, growing wine grapes in Sonoma, CA, and enjoying life in 1999 when her husband Mark’s son Patrick, age 33, developed the auto-immune disease, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP). Pat and his wife had given birth to the family’s first grandchild 6 weeks prior to Pat’s illness, so they flew to be with him and his wife. Pat’s death was a terrible surprise to his family. However, the nursing care they experienced during Pat’s 8-week hospitalization compelled them to express their gratitude to nurses everywhere for the clinical skill and especially compassionate care nurses provide every day. This is why The Barnes’s created The DAISY Foundation™ (an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system) and The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses.
Today, under Bonnie and Mark’s leadership, The DAISY Award is celebrated in over 4,700 healthcare facilities and colleges of nursing in all 50 United States plus 28 other countries. Over 156,000 nurses have been honored, having been nominated by their patients, patient families, and colleagues. Each nomination (of which there have been nearly 2 million) tells the story of extraordinary compassion and care provided to a patient. The impact of these stories’ public DAISY Award celebrations on nurses and their organizations is well documented. The DAISY Award provides healthcare leaders the means to highlight all the “right” going on in their organizations, providing great role-modeling opportunities, and a way to make tangible the organizations’ mission and values. The result is a program that helps drive organizational culture, inspire and motivate extraordinary nursing, nourish teamwork, enhance nurse engagement, promote the professional image of nursing, and offset compassion fatigue with compassion satisfaction.
Bonnie and Mark were also eager to thank nurses by supporting nurses’ effort to improve their practice through research and evidence-based practice projects. So the Foundation funds grants focused on treatment of patients with auto-immune diseases and cancer and for nurses doing research and EBP that addresses patients and families dealing with social determinants of health. Directing these programs with the Barnes’s are distinguished panels of nurse scientists who volunteer their time and expertise to help DAISY support both experienced and novice researchers in their work. In the academic realm, in recognition of the importance of nursing faculty during these difficult times, the Foundation offers colleges and schools of nursing The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty, a tool for helping retain great faculty and honor the inspiration and influence they have on their students throughout their nursing careers. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students recognizes extraordinary compassion and skill provided by nursing students during their clinicals, reminding them that nursing is not only tasks and technology but human connection and compassion to the person in that bed or chair. Finally, among the many benefits offered to DAISY Honorees is the opportunity to apply for grants that fund medical missions of their choice.
The Foundation’s work is supported by numerous professional organizations as detailed at https://www.daisyfoundation.org/about/supportive-associations. Their writing and articles about DAISY have been published in various journals and blogs including the Journal of Nursing Administration, AONL’s Nurse Leader, the American Journal of Critical Care, American Nurse Today, Home Healthcare Now, Nursing Economic$, Nurse.com, New Jersey Monthly, and more.
Bonnie and Mark have been honored for their work by hospitals and nursing organizations with Friend of Nursing Awards. They received the prestigious President’s Special Recognition Award bestowed at the Magnet Conference in 2010. In May, 2012, they were honored with AACN’s Pioneering Spirit Award, and in October, 2012, they were inducted as Honorary Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing. In 2015, they were inducted as Honorary Members of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Nursing Honor Society, and in April, 2016, they received Honorary Member Awards from the Oncology Nursing Society and the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses. In 2019, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (formerly AONE) honored them with their Honorary Member Award and Sigma Theta Tau International bestowed the Archon Award. In 2020, the National League for Nursing presented them with their President’s Award.
In February, 2020, they published the story of their journey from Patrick’s bedside to The DAISY Award honoring nurses in 4,500+ facilities internationally, paying tribute to the numerous nurses who have guided them over the last 20 years. The book, Shining the Light on All the Right: Celebrating the Art of Nursing Around the World is available at www.DAISYfoundation.org/book or on Amazon.