Daisy Award presented to Audrey Estlund

Cardiac Rehab nurse was one of 11 nominees at VDMC

Nurse Audrey Estlund embraces her husband Tyler after she was named the 2022 Daisy Award winner for Van Diest Medical Center Wednesday. Estlund was one of 11 nominees for the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

A cardiac rehabilitation nurse at Van Diest Medical Center, described as a healthcare hero who builds strong relationships of trust with her patients, was awarded the 2022 Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Audrey Estlund, RN, was selected for the honor and was presented with a certificate, a bouquet of daises and a small figurine to commemorate the award. The ceremony was held in the courtyard of Van Diest Medical Center.

Lisa Ridge, chief executive officer of VDMC, welcomed those present and offered congratulations to all of the nominees.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be with everyone this afternoon as we celebrate our nominees and the winner of this very prestigious award,” Ridge said. “At Van Diest Medical Center, we have amazing nurses. Our nurses are men and women with character, knowledge, empathy and skill,” she said. “Our nurses are often praised for providing outstanding care.

“Know that each nominee has made a difference in a life, left a special memory or profoundly impacted a patient or family member,” she said. “May we each strive everyday to leave these lasting memories with every encounter we have with others.”

Eleven nurses were nominated for the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, including Estlund, who has four years of service. Other nominees were Denise Helmick, RN, Nursing Services, 33 years of service; Jerry Ose, LPN, Nursing Services, 23 years of service; Jackie Loux, RN, Surgery, 10 years of service; Melissa Vaughn, RN, Nursing Services, 20 years of service; Robin Meyer, RN, Surgery, 10 years of service; Libby Mitchell, RN, Surgery, 5 years of service; Angela Ehlert, RN, 7 years of service with Van Diest Family Health Clinic; Kristie Neddermeyer, RN, Van Diest Family Health Clinic, 21 years of service; Dawn Eimers, RN, Emergency Department, 16 years of service; and Wally Ubben, RN, Nursing Services, 6 years of service.

The DAISY foundation was established in 1999 by members of the family of Patrick Barnes. He was 33 years old when he died of complications of the auto-immune disease ITP.

“(The family) kept coming back to the one positive thing they held onto during Pat’s 8-week illness: the extraordinary care he and they had received from Pat’s nurse,” said Amy McDonough, VDMC chief nursing officer. “What really overwhelmed them was the compassion and kindness that his nurses brought to Pat’s bedside day in and day out. The nurses’ sensitivity made a great difference in the Barnes’ experience. They wanted to say Thank you to nurses for the extraordinary care they provide patients and families every day.”

“What started out as a ‘thank you’ from the Barnes family to nurses has grown into a meaningful recognition program embraced by thousands of healthcare organizations around the world. We are very proud to partner with DAISY as we have extraordinary nurses here at Van Diest Medical Center,” McDonough told the audience.

McDonough also shared some comments from Estlund’s nomination.

“Audrey has built strong relationships with her patients and in return her patients have come to trust her and look forward to their hour-long sessions. She has sought out ways to continue to improve the care her patients receive by collaborating with other resources such as the dietician and pharmacy,” McDonough read. “She celebrates the accomplishments of her patients when they ‘graduate’ from the program while continuing to share with them additional services that could support healthy living.”

Estlund was joined at the celebration by her husband, Tyler Estlund, mother-in-law Dana Estlund and her sister, Anna Luppen. Organizers of the event sneaked the family members into the ceremony as a surprise to the winning nurse.


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