DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses

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Want to Say Thank You to Your Stony Brook University Hospital Nurse?

Share your story of compassionate and skillful nursing care and nominate your nurse for the DAISY Award.

Scan the QR code to access the online nomination form.

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The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem) Award is an international recognition program that honors and celebrates the skillful, compassionate care nurses provide every day. The DAISY Foundation was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes after he died from complications of the autoimmune disease ITP in 1999. During his hospitalization, they deeply appreciated the care and compassion shown to Patrick and his entire family. When he died, they felt compelled to say “thank you” to nurses in a very public way.

Thank you for taking the time to recognize the extraordinary nursing care you experienced or observed.

Nkoli Okocha, RNNkoli Okocha, RN, 14 South Orthopaedics, was selected as the May DAISY Award recipient for Stony Brook University Hospital. Nkoli’s dedication to patient care has left an indelible mark on our community.

Nominated by a patient’s daughter for her exceptional postoperative care, Nkoli demonstrated unwavering compassion, kindness and professionalism. She exceeded expectations in comforting her patient while reassuring and addressing her patient’s needs with empathy and expertise.

The patient’s daughter noted, “She is an exceptional human being, and I have no doubt she was placed on this Earth to be a nurse. She is the epitome of what a person who chooses to become a nurse should be: educated, calm, caring, compassionate, understanding and willing.”

Nkoli’s commitment to excellence and her ability to connect with patients and families during challenging times exemplify the core values of Stony Brook Medicine. A bright light on 14 South, Nkoli makes a significant difference in the lives of our patients and their families, leaving lasting impressions that define excellence in nursing at Stony Brook Medicine.

Horace Alindogan, RNHorace Alindogan, RN, Endoscopy, was named the April DAISY Award recipient for Stony Brook University Hospital for the exceptional care and compassion he displays toward his patients and their families.

Horace was nominated by the spouse of a patient he cared for after an endoscopic procedure last year. When this patient and his wife returned for a follow-up appointment, they reunited with Horace, reminding her of his calming presence and unwavering support after a shocking diagnosis for her husband.

As they left the appointment, she recalls that Horace pumped his fist in the air and said, “You two are going to fight, okay? Don’t you give up!” She adds, “His face, fist in the air and those words played through my mind countless times over these last two years. At a routine follow-up, we saw Horace in the general recovery room, but this time, we got his name, took a picture and told him what an influence he had on our lives. They say that on Earth, there are angels that walk among us. Horace is one of them.”

Christine AdamsChristine Adams, RN, Cath Lab Holding, was named the March DAISY Award recipient for Stony Brook University Hospital for the outstanding care and compassion she shows to her patients. Christine was nominated by one of her patients who had a cardiac catheterization. The patient, who was very anxious about the procedure, described himself as a retired police officer and military combat veteran who is normally the one who provides care for people during emergencies and traumatic events.

Christine’s patient said, “I have been to the hospital many times during my career and with my wife who is a cancer survivor, so I have interacted with many nurses over the course of my life. Christine stood above all of them.”

The patient noted that Christine was professional, knowledgeable, caring and attentive, and said, “Prior to my surgery, she made sure that I was prepared and addressed all my needs and concerns, including my nervousness of having this procedure done. After my procedure, she was there to greet me with a smile, and provide me with aftercare that was second to none.”

The patient truly appreciated the way Christine managed his care, as she knew he had post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the military and made sure that he was cared for properly. He said, “She did not do her job — she showed that she loves her job and the patients that she cares for every day. I cannot thank her enough.”

Kristin ScheckerKristin Schecker, RN, Noninvasive Cardiology, was named the February DAISY Award recipient for Stony Brook University Hospital for the outstanding care and compassion she shows to her patients. Kristin was nominated by one of her patients whom she cared for on 13 North prior to Kristin transferring to Noninvasive Cardiology.

The patient survived a stroke in 2019. The patient noted that when she finds her resolve waning, she remembers her experience as a patient on 13 North and Kristin, “her angel,” who made her realize there was life after stroke.

The patient said, “On my first night, I met my nurse Kristin. Little did I know that meeting Kristin would change my life and my mindset.” The patient began having nightmares and called out in fear. Kristin held her hand and whispered assurances in her ear. The patient said, “Kristin gave me my first glimmer of hope that life could return to normal. She was a life preserver in a vast sea of hopelessness.”

When the patient was discharged from the hospital, she noted, “Kristin held my hand as I said goodbye. Her words of encouragement and compassion kept me going through my first steps and all my months of therapies and testing.”

Jennifer McCoyJennifer McCoy, RN, 13 North, Stony Brook University Hospital, was named the January DAISY Award recipient.

Jennifer was nominated by one of her patients who had a mini stroke and spent two and a half weeks at the hospital. Frightened, terrified and in shock, thinking of her children at home, the patient said that she was given an angel who made her believe things would get better. “Nurse Jenn McCoy was truly an angel sent to me. She was patient, kind and made me feel at home. She was there whenever I needed her. She truly made the dark days a lot brighter.”

When the patient was told that she would need to use a feeding tube at home, she was devastated. However, she said, “Jenn relieved my worries with her positivity and showed my daughter and me how to operate the feeding tube with ease and patience. She took the time to write down the steps for me and really made me have a positive outlook.” The patient felt that Jenn’s “personality, kindness, patience, compassion, grace and commitment shined every day she entered my room.” She stated that she will remember Jenn for a lifetime and noted, “Everyone needs a Jenn in their life.”

Lenny GangLenny Gang, RN, from the RN Transport Team of Stony Brook University Hospital, was named the December DAISY Award recipient. Lenny was nominated by a patient he cared for during a Rapid Response Team (RRT) code.

While the room was filled with staff for the RRT, Lenny really stood out to the patient. The patient said, “He introduced himself to me right away and explained every little thing he did … He explained even the little things like how he was going to raise the bed just so I wasn’t caught off guard.” The patient felt Lenny really cared and was impressed that he stayed throughout the code.  

When the patient was told about moving to intensive care, the patient was scared. “Lenny helped keep me calm and even made me laugh a bit, which I wouldn’t think possible in an emergency. He clearly understands that the most important thing during a stressful situation is not only the medicine but the person who is sitting in this bed, who just wants to feel understood.”

Dawn MahoneyDawn Mahoney, RN, Pediatric Acute, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, was honored as the DAISY Award recipient for the month of December. Dawn was nominated by the parent of a patient, who wrote how Dawn’s knowledge, skills, experience and excellent care truly shows her dedication to her profession and the patients she cares for.

Dawn was described by the mother as “cool as a cucumber.” The mother noted that Dawn joked, teased, listened and talked while she worked. She let the patient and parents decide what they needed, all while being a positive dominating presence in the room.

The patient’s mom stated that when Dawn arrived at her daughter’s room, her daughter’s face would light up and said that her daughter “forgot her pain and tears, shifting her focus on what direction Dawn was providing.”

Mom goes on to say, “For nurse Dawn, her job seems to be just an extension of who she is: a person who enjoys serving children when they are the most confused, vulnerable and in pain.” And that when Dawn was working, “We knew we could relax as parents.”

Nicole FormanNicole Forman, RN, Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), was selected as November’s DAISY Award recipient at Stony Brook University Hospital. Nicole was nominated by the daughter of a patient who was cared for by Nicole after being admitted to the MICU with a severe respiratory illness.

The patient’s daughter noted in her nomination how the emotional strain and uncertainty of her mother’s condition was overwhelming to her and her family. She stated that Nicole was their guiding light during this dark period. The family was not only impressed with Nicole’s outstanding medical care but the way she went above and beyond to make them feel seen and supported. During a difficult period in the ICU, Nicole sat with the patient and her family to answer their questions with patience and compassion.

Nicole listened to the family’s concerns and fears and comforted them, which had a profound impact on them. The family felt that Nicole’s skilled communication helped them navigate the complex world of the ICU with clarity and confidence. The patient’s daughter also commented on how Nicole made an effort to get to know her mother on a personal level. She took the time to learn about her hobbies, interests and life outside of the hospital. She would share stories with her mother and made her feel like a cherished individual and not just a patient.

Natalie RivasNatalie Rivas, RN, Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), is the October DAISY Award recipient at Stony Brook University Hospital. Natalie was nominated by the wife of a patient who had experienced complications as a result of his cancer diagnosis and previous stem cell transplant.

The patient’s wife is a nurse herself but was not prepared to be on the other side of a medical crisis impacting her husband. Natalie recognized that both the patient and his wife were scared, and she helped to calm their fears and keep them both informed each step of the way. She would call the patient’s wife in the evening to provide her with updates and help to reassure her once her husband was placed on a ventilator. This patient was in the MICU for two weeks, and Natalie sought out the patient and his wife even when she wasn’t the patient’s primary nurse to give them both encouragement and offer any assistance.

Unfortunately, the patient passed away in hospice, but the patient’s wife stated, “There isn’t much I care to remember about that last hospital stay, but I will never forget the compassionate care that my husband and I received from his wonderful nurse Natalie, and I will always be grateful that she came into our lives at this time.”

Nancy RussellNancy Russell, RN, Pediatric Acute, is the October DAISY Award recipient at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. Nancy was nominated by a parent of a former patient as well as her co-workers who all shared how Nancy provides all her patients and their families with care and compassion. The nomination submitted by the patient’s mother stated, “Nancy held my son’s hand during a difficult time after surgery. It was a tough situation, and he was in excruciating pain. Nancy reassured him and kept talking to him. She held his hand the entire time. She immediately gave him pain medication he needed.”

Nancy’s co-workers wrote, “Nancy constantly goes above and beyond to connect with her patients and their families. She is often found in a patient’s room chitchatting and giving tons of advice — both medical advice and life advice. She is warm, engaging, encouraging and respectful. She often goes above her call as a bedside nurse to that of an amazing human and friend. Nancy’s goal each shift is to not only take care of each of her patients each day to the best of her ability, but to make sure they are as happy and as comfortable as possible.”

One story submitted tells of Nancy’s compassion and care when a mother ran to Starbucks to get a much-needed cup of coffee. Mom was thrilled to be able to step away from the bedside, take a walk by herself and get a big cup of caffeine. As soon as the mom returned to the patient’s room, she dropped the entire cup of coffee all over the floor. Nancy not only helped the mom clean up, but promptly ordered the mom a brand-new coffee exactly to her liking and hand delivered it to her. The patient’s mom broke out in tears over the level of support and sympathy Nancy offered to her.


Sarah KlecherSarah Klecher, RN, Cardiac Acute Care Unit, is the September DAISY Award recipient at Stony Brook University Hospital. Sarah cared for a patient who was at the end of her life and was nominated by the patient’s daughter. The daughter was grateful to Sarah who prepared her mother’s room for the entire family to be with the patient, making sure she was comfortable and treated with dignity. Sarah stayed with the family during the patient’s final moments on this earth and then comforted the patient’s daughter, who reassured Sarah that she had done all she could for her mother. The patient’s daughter wrote, “I cannot fully express the gift it was to have Sarah with my mother and all of us.”

Sarah started her career at SBUH as a volunteer. She was then hired as an employee in Transport and then a nursing assistant while attending nursing school. Sarah graduated last year as an RN and serves as a wonderful example of what can be achieved as an employee at Stony Brook.


Shannon Sweeney Shannon Sweeney, RN, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, is the September DAISY Award recipient at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. Shannon was nominated by a parent of a former patient in the PICU who shared how Shannon provided her son and their family with kindness, support and compassion during their recent hospitalization at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. In her nomination, the patient’s mother wrote, “Shannon has taken care of both my son and daughter in the ICU. She has helped my son feel safe and cared for when he was at his most vulnerable state after each of his seven brain surgeries in the last year. It was impressive to watch her work and maintain my daughter’s level of care when she was on life support.”

Describing Shannon as focused, quick and meticulous with every detail, she also noted, “We trust our children are in the best of hands with Shannon, and we feel heard and supported as parents in the most challenging situations and feeling the most helpless.”


Mary SmithMary Smith, RN, 17 North/Surgical ICR, is the August DAISY Award recipient at Stony Brook University Hospital. Mary was nominated by the granddaughter of a former patient who shared the story of how Mary provided compassionate and competent care to her 90-year-old grandmother. Mary advocated for this patient when she couldn’t advocate for her herself, which was a great relief to the family when they were not at the hospital.

The family also commented on how Mary treated their grandmother with much respect and that Mary’s “bright personality” picked up the spirits of their grandmother. Mary made her day by dancing with her while helping her out of bed since dancing is a favorite activity of the patient. The family expressed how lucky and grateful they were to have Mary as their grandmother’s nurse.



Lori StoesselLori Stoessel, RN, Nurse Manager, Pediatrics and Pediatric Oncology Units, Stony Brook Children's Hospital, was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Nurse Leader DAISY Award. The DAISY Nurse Leader Award recognizes nurse leaders who are extraordinary in the impact they have on compassionate patient care. Nurse leaders role model extraordinary behavior and create an environment where attributes of trust, compassion, mutual respect and continued professional development are modeled and supported. The nurse leader motivates staff with a shared vision and enthusiasm to achieve better outcomes for themselves and their patients.

Lori was nominated for this award from her staff as well as from her colleagues. She is described as a hands-on leader, a role model, honest and fair. One nominee said, “Lori motivates her staff to be the best they can be for themselves individually (mentally, emotionally, physically, etc.) while also promoting continued professional development.” Another nominee wrote, “Lori is always looking to make the patient experience better for the patients and their families. She leads patient-driven and unit-driven initiatives though input from the bedside staff and the families when she rounds daily.” Her staff stated, “Lori is an outstanding nurse leader who deserves every recognition there is to be had!”

Tomal Kumar Magar, RNTomal Kumar Magar, RN, is the July recipient for the DAISY Award at Stony Brook University Hospital. Tomal was nominated by one of his patients in the NICR unit.

In the nomination, the patient noted how much Tomal cares for his patients and described him as very positive, friendly and energetic. The patient also wrote, “Tomal made me feel so important and made me realize how much he cares about humanity. Not just his patients — also his patients’ family.”

She went on to describe his caring nature by writing, “He answered me and gave me so much support about my medical condition. I learned a lot from him. He is very sweet, caring and a very traditional, respectful nurse … We need nurses like him.” Congratulations, Tomal!



Sarah Smokler, RN

Sarah Smokler, RN, Named First Hospital-Wide DAISY Award Recipient for Stony Brook University Hospital

Stony Brook University Hospital recently introduced the DAISY Award for Nursing Excellence and recognized Sarah Smokler, RN, 16 South/Cardiology as the first hospital-wide Stony Brook University Hospital recipient in June 2023 for the outstanding care and compassion she displays to her patients. She was nominated by a former patient who shared a story of how Sarah provided her with kindness and support during an anxious moment during her hospitalization.

The patient commented on how Sarah carefully explained the procedure she was having and the medications that she was taking and would check in on her regularly to make sure she wasn’t in pain. Sarah spent time listening to the patient and was attentive. The patient felt like this encounter made her hospital stay positive and a healing experience, because she felt that Sarah cared about her as a person not just a patient. Congratulations Sarah!


Stephanie TocciStephanie Tocci, RN, Named the 16th Daisy Award Recipient for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, which has been recognizing nurses with the DAISY Award since 2019, recently honored Stephanie Tocci, RN, Labor Delivery, with the 16th DAISY Award for Nursing Excellence for the outstanding care and compassion she displays to her patients. She was nominated by a former patient who shared a story of how Stephanie provided her with kindness, support and compassion during her delivery at the hospital.

The patient stated, “From the moment Stephanie walked into her shift at 7 pm and introduced herself, she was full of light — friendly, happy, caring, compassionate and reassuring.

"Stephanie made her mark on my heart and life forever. She was the one who took care of me and offered me guidance and support in my first hours as a mom, and I am forever grateful.” Congratulations, Stephanie, for being the DAISY Award recipient for the month of May!


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