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Southwell nurse starts “Pediatric Plushies” program, receives DAISY Award 

Destiny Garmon, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC), recently launched a “Pediatric Plushies” program for children admitted to the emergency room at TRMC. In September, Garmon, was awarded a DAISY Award for her efforts with the program.

Garmon initially started the program in February of 2022 with $5 stuffed animals that she purchased herself. She made a basket, composed an email to the staff and envisioned it to work like an exchange program.

“We quickly discovered that more pediatric patients came to the ER than we initially thought,” said Garmon. “I decided to hold a Facebook fundraiser for my birthday back in March to support this cause and was able to raise $705.”

After these funds were raised, Garmon was able to buy more stuffed animals at a lower cost, but they took a while to arrive. However, Garmon always made sure that a stuffed animal was available for pediatric patients that came through the ER doors.

“One of the strongest fears in children is fear of the unknown,” said Garmon. “We as medical providers can help to alleviate this fear through medical play, and stuffed animals are a great way to familiarize children with medical devices and procedures.”

“We appreciate the hard work and effort that Destiny has put into this program,” said Amber Goodman, Interim Director of the Emergency Department at TRMC. “Her co-workers appreciate that it gives them the ability to positively impact their interaction with patients and have since continued to share in the fundraising campaign to ensure this continues. Destiny does many things for the department and is always looking for innovative ways to improve it. This is by far one of her biggest successes and a truly meaningful project that she takes great pride in. Seeing her recognized with a DAISY award for how much time and effort she has put into making sure that our young patients can have some of their anxiety and fears relieved through medical play is amazing.”

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. 

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses has been adopted by healthcare facilities around the world to celebrate nurses for their extraordinary care and compassion.  The DAISY Team Award is for nurse-led teams of two or more who come together to solve a specific situation by going above and beyond.  Nursing teams may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of nurses at Tift Regional Medical Center to receive The DAISY Team Award. The DAISY Team Award is presented once each year at a surprise presentation.  Each member of the Nursing Team receives a certificate commending them for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.”  The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are and the incredibly meaningful difference your teamwork makes in the lives of so many people.”  The Team also receives a specially engraved plaque engraved with the name of the Team.  

“Nurses like Destiny are the reason the DAISY Award was created,” said Tonia Garrett, Chief Nursing Officer for Southwell. “Destiny is a shining example of a nurse going above and beyond for her patients, and we are so proud to have her as a member of our team.”

The DAISY Award and DAISY Team Award are initiatives of The DAISY Foundation in service to the nursing profession.  Additionally, DAISY offers J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, The DAISY Faculty Award to honor inspiring faculty members in schools and colleges of nursing, and The DAISY in Training Award for nursing students. More information is available at http://DAISYfoundation.org.