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The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary compassionate and skillful care given by nurses every day. These nurses are respectful, anticipate needs, share information, promote teamwork, and encourage patient and family participation. They are recognized as outstanding role models.


Click here for 2017 Recipients


Click here for 2016 Recipients



Click here for an application

Patients, visitors, physicians and employees may nominate a deserving nurse by filling out a nomination form and submitting it to:


          North Mississippi Medical Center

          Nursing Leadership Department

          830 South Gloster Street

          Tupelo, MS  38801


NMMC will honor one nurse each month with a DAISY Award beginning in January. Each honoree will be recognized at a public ceremony in her/his unit and will receive a certificate, a DAISY Award pin, and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled A Healer’s Touch.

The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died of complications of the auto-immune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. DAISY is an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system. During Barnes’ eight-week hospitalization, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion his nurses provided not only to him but to everyone in his family. So one of the goals they set in creating a Foundation in his memory was to recognize extraordinary nurses everywhere who make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people by the super-human work they do every day.

For more information, call (662) 377-3431 or email


2017 Recipients


January 2017

Hope Ross

Women's Hospital


“Hope was so helpful and attentive to our needs during our stay,” she wrote. “She has a happy, helpful heart and really made us feel like she wanted to be at work and really wanted to care for our needs. She answered all of our questions and provided some additional and helpful tips with each question. I hope that Hope is still here for our future visits.”


February 2017

Deven Settlemires

Surgical Services


“I have so many examples of the day-to-day selflessness that he demonstrates, but one of my favorite recollections is of the time a few months ago when on his way to a quick ‘eat while you can’ on a busy day, Deven saw an elderly person carrying bags of belongings in the hall, and took them and carried them across the hospital to the patient’s room,” the nomination states. “Then, again on his way to find lunch, he saw another distraught family member lost and looking for a room on the sixth floor, instead of on the second floor where they were. He walked them all the way. By the time he was done, lunch was over and he raced back to Surgery.”


March 2017

Linda Ford

Mother/Baby Unit


“We were exhausted. My wife had only a few hours of sleep, and I had only one,” he wrote. “Our daughter was up all night screaming—breast-feeding was not working. Ma’maw (nurse Ford) was our saving grace. She helped us feed and rocked her to sleep. She helped us figure out what was wrong and calm her... She took our baby and told us to get some rest; she would ‘love on that sweet girl.’ She calmed her to sleep again and advised us some more things to help. God placed her here in the right time with the right room because He knew what we would need…. She didn’t just care for another patient. She was loving on one of her own children.”


April 2017

Laura Martin

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit


"Laura exemplifies what it means to be a compassionate nurse. She has the experience, the skill and the instincts to catch post-op complications before they occur. I’m amazed watching her work.” The nomination states that Martin’s first priority is her patients and cites a recent example when Martin concluded one of her patients was homeless. The following morning, Martin brought several bags full of items from home to give the patient.


May 2017

Mark Hopper

Critical Care Unit


"My brother had taken a turn for the worse and was headed for emergency surgery. As I entered the CCU, Mark calmly explained to me what was going on. He allowed me to hug my brother before he was taken to the operating room. Mark then relayed a message from my brother and answered my unending questions and concerns. He assured me that my brother was in good hands in your hospital, being treated by your doctors."


June 2017

Lisa Felkins



"During a patient’s recent visit, Lisa found out that the patient and her husband would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary here at the hospital," the nomination states. "Lisa organized a celebration for the couple that included a cake, flowers, card and even a top hat for the groom and a veil for the bride. Lisa truly made a difference in this couple's life and made a lasting impact."


July 2017

Jennifer Ridgway

3 South


Ridgway was nominated by the daughter of two patients who were hospitalized on 3 South at the same time. She bought a bouquet of flowers and a card for the husband to give his wife on their 63rd anniversary, which fell during their hospitalization. “My Dad is rolled down to Mama’s room with flowers in hand,” she wrote. “My Mom is thrilled and starts crying.” Unfortunately, this anniversary celebration would be their last, as the wife passed away three weeks later. “She is one of the most dedicated and compassionate people I have had the privilege to know,” their daughter wrote in Ridgway’s nomination. “Not only is she a great nurse, treating her patients like family, she went above her nursing duties to make our parents’ anniversary one that will never be forgotten.”




August 2017

Drew Ballard

Critical Care Unit


Ballard was nominated by the daughter of a Critical Care Unit patient. “Dad had severe confusion, agitation and hallucinations. Initially he did not recognize any of his family members and was unable to recall simple information,” the nomination states. “The nights were always most difficult, but Drew always intervened when Dad was unable to be calm. Throughout all of this, Drew remained compassionate and made sure that Dad received the best care. However, we were most touched after being transferred to the floor, Drew came to check on Dad and say hello several times.”

Once, the patient became so confused that he would not take his medications from his nurses. “Drew willingly came and talked to Dad for three to four minutes," she said, "and Dad agreed to take his medications.”


September 2017

Gail Denton

4 Central


Denton has worked at NMMC for more than 31 years, and her entire career has been with the same unit. She was nominated for the award by the mother of a 41-year-old patient with special needs who was having trouble with his feeding tube. "We went to the ER, ending up having to stay the night," the nomination states. "We were unprepared—no money, snacks, nothing." Denton brought the mother a sandwich, chips, cookies and a drink for supper. "I would like for all to know what kind of nurse she is," the patient’s mother wrote.






October 2017

Carleigh Ballard

Mother-Baby Unit

Women’s Hospital


Ballard joined the NMMC staff in June 2015 and worked on 6 South for one year before transferring to her current position. She was nominated by a patient who was moved to her unit following an emergency Cesarean-section delivery. “On Day 2 or 3, I woke up around 3 or 4 in the morning short of breath,” the patient wrote. “I had never had a big surgery like this, so I just thought maybe this was normal. So I begged her not to call the doctor because I didn’t think it was anything, and I told her I would just tell Dr. Hill when she came in that morning. Well, thank goodness, Carleigh didn’t listen to me.” The patient was taken by ambulance for a CT scan at the main hospital to check for pulmonary embolism. “I was scared to death. I think Carleigh knew this and so even though I know she was busy and it was getting close to shift change, she rode with me to the hospital and stayed with me the whole time,” she wrote. When the patient was able to be transferred back to Women’s Hospital, she requested Ballard again as her nurse.

“I don’t know exactly what it was about Carleigh, but both my mom and I felt so comfortable with her,” she wrote. “I always knew that she was taking immaculate care of not only me, but my baby and my mom as well.”


November 2017

April Cole Raper

Emergency Department

Raper joined the NMMC Emergency Department staff in April 2012. She previously won NMMC’s DAISY Award in August 2016.

Raper was nominated by a patient who had come to the Emergency Department with severe stomach pain. “I was scared and in such pain that it would nearly take my breath away,” the patient wrote. While the patient was worried, “She assured me that she would help me all the way,” the nomination states. “I couldn’t have done it without her help. She was so caring, considerate, thoughtful and professional.” Raper also mailed the patient a card, which she received after her hospital stay.


December 2017

Brenda Willis

2 West


Willis earned her associate degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College and joined the NMMC staff in 2016. After working in the Resource Pool, she transferred to 2 West in 2017.


On Christmas Eve, Willis had a patient with a poor prognosis whose young daughter was staying with her. “This little girl had no other family member but her mom, and with her mom being here ill, she would not have Christmas,” wrote a coworker in Willis’ award nomination. “Brenda went into the room as the child was sleeping and set gifts in the room for her so when she woke up the next morning she would have gifts just like other children.”



2016 Recipients


January 2016

Maria Wilson, RN

6 South


"When I was hospitalized, Maria Wilson took the time to explain to me what I was being diagnosed with and the medication she was giving me. Not only did she take care of me, but my daughters as well. She explained to them what 'all' she was doing. Not only was I important to her, but my family as well. Even months later after all this time, she still speaks and asks how I am doing and offers any other information I might need, or that might be helpful to me. Her compassion for patients is beyond anyone's expectation. Not to mention her sincere smile. I know deep down in my heart that anyone who encounters Maria is in good hands."


"During the last few years, my Mom was a frequent guest at NMMC battling several conditions (lung cancer, heart conditions), and was on several different floors of the hospital. All of our RNs were good, some better than others, but I have to say Maria went above and beyond. She always seemed as though she had all the time in the world for Mom. I knew a lot of times she was really busy, but she never seemed that way. My Mom loved her so and talked about her often. We lost Mom in July, but she asked about Maria often and shared stories with her Home Health Nurse. She blessed my Mom more than she will ever know."


February 2016

Hollie Waldron, RN

Baratric Center


"Hollie is the reason I came here to have my surgery. She answered phone calls and questions without hesitation beforehand. While I was here, she has been the best. Keeping me informed, keeping me comfortable and most of all making sure my Mother was well taken care of as a visitor. While Hollie was on her lunch break, she would bring my Mother lunch and breakfast so she didn't have to leave me. Hollie took my Mom home when she got off and made sure she was home safe. We feel like Hollie went above and beyond her duty as a nurse."


March 2016

Angela Cooper, RN

6 South


"My father was admitted to 6 South with bronchitis. Angela Cooper was his night shift RN every night my father was in the hospital. Each night, she checked on my father and mother multiple times. When my father couldn't sleep at night, she would make it a point to come in and chat with him. Each day when I would come to visit, my father and mother would brag on Angela. After my father was discharged, she would call my Mother and Father to check on him and how he was doing. This is going above and beyond her duties and really made an excellent impression on my parents and me. By showing so much compassion both on and off the clock for my Father, Angela Cooper made his experience the best it could possibly have been considering the circumstances."



April 2016

Greg Kovalick, RN



"Greg was very caring and hard working. He took good care of my father by making sure he was clean, comfortable and content," his nomination reads. "He talked to him to assure him that he would take good care of him. Greg is very smart and knowledgeable about my father's health issues. He closely monitored him and gave us updates. He tried to feed him when he was not able to eat and just gave A+ service. Greg was very kind and concerned for my Father and he did not give up on him because he was 86. Thank you for taking care of my father. He means the world to me."




May 2016

Mary Beth Johnson, RN



"Mary Beth is a caring and empathetic nurse. Her passion for neonates cannot be described in any one single situation. She is very attentive to her patients' needs and also parents. She has very strong clinical skills and judgment. I have always noticed her to be calm and supportive in all critical situations. I have enjoyed working with her, and she is a valuable asset to our NICU."



June 2016

Sharon Cox, RN

6 South


“Sharon was his nurse over the weekend and spoke with me by phone, answering questions and reassuring me that he was doing ok. The peace of mind she gave me when I couldn’t be there is greatly appreciated. Sharon’s caring and thoughtful personality were evident so many times but especially on the evening of June 7 That afternoon, my Mom found out that she needed a pacemaker right away and was scheduled for June 8, my parents’ 53rd anniversary. Sharon went out of her way to comfort my Dad and ease his fears for my mom. She gave him a stuffed raccoon, made him laugh and cheered him up. She also sent my mom flowers and a cross. She was such a help explaining everything happening with my Mom to my Dad in a way that helped him understand and not be afraid. This was a huge help!”




July 2016

Kandi Hilliard, RN

Labor & Delivery


”Kandi was smiling, very kind and reassuring. She immediately calmed my nerves and explained everything to me in detail.... You could tell that she takes her time with her patients to make every one of them feel special, and she always had a smile on her face no matter what.... Kandi calmed my nerves by staying with me in my room and having a long talk with me and hearing me out. Then, she even offered to stay late and see me off to surgery if need be... Any patient would be lucky to have her taking care of them.... She was an answer to my prayers, and I’m so thankful that God put her in my path.”




August 2016

April Cole, RN

Emergency Services


"She took care of him physically, and most importantly to me, emotionally. My Dad has struggled with anger and hopelessness since he found out that the cancer was back. He confessed some feelings to April and she took the time out of her shift to make sure he never felt uncomfortable or unable to voice his concerns to the doctors that came in and out during the evening.... She even searched the floor for a bag of Bugles (these are his favorite chips).As if all of these things weren’t a blessing enough, she even visited and talked with my Dad once he was admitted on 5 West days later after she worked a long hard night in the ER the night before. I visited with my Dad that same day and the first thing he said was, ‘Do you remember April, the nurse from the ER? She came to see me today, and it made my entire day. I thought I was just another grouchy patient, but she really made me feel special. And she brought me some Bugles!' With tears in my eyes, I read a little note on a happie she had left him and it said, 'Keep fighting.'"



September 2016

Jodie McMillen, RN

5 West

“They never would have convinced me that she is new to your staff, with her compassion and dedication to her patients,” a patient wrote in her nomination. “She took the time to help me heal from my affliction as much or more mentally as physically. She gave me the courage and the strength to walk out of your hospital with her extraordinary love and compassion for what she does.”


October 2016

Contesta Barnes, RN

Medical Intensive Care Unit


Barnes was nominated by a family member of a patient who was in MICU before he passed away. “I can’t explain what her caring and compassionate nature meant to our family at that time,” the family member wrote. “She took time to teach and explain aspects of his care in a way that his 83-year-old wife and family could understand.” One day she even sang his favorite song to comfort him.






November 2016

Claire Wilkerson, RN

3 West Surgical Intermediate Care Unit


“She was so caring and patient and engaged from the very moment he walked into the room. Watching her work with him made me feel like he was more than just a bed number to her,” wrote a patient’s daughter in her nomination of Wilkerson. “My dad is probably the fussiest patient you’ll ever meet. He’s talkative and will ask for a thousand things a day. Despite this, there is not one single thing my dad asked of her that she did not fulfill happily.”

Wilkerson was cited for caring not only for the patient, but his family as well. “She didn’t once leave the room without asking if there’s anything she could do for us as well,” the nomination states. “She’s so incredibly genuine and such a perfect fit for her job.”



December 2016


Lisa Hallmark, RN

Greg Kovalick, RN



Hallmark and Kovalick were nominated by the mother of a patient who was admitted to SICU after a car accident. “I was distraught and scared that our son wasn’t going to make it,” said the mother, who lives two hours away. “The two of them put us at ease. They told my husband and I what they were doing and what they were going to do with Davis, and how he was progressing. I always had lots of questions and they always had an answer for me."


The patient’s mother wrote that these nurses also explained the situation in terms she could understand. “I knew my son was in good hands, and I knew they loved their job and the people they took care of,” she stated. “I would have to say the time I spent at NMMC was the worst time of my life, but Greg and Lisa made the time more bearable. I felt like they understood our pain and made sure we knew what was going on.”