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Extraordinary Nurses Recognized at Altru

Posted OnSeptember 29, 2020

Grand Forks, N.D. – Nurses at Altru are being honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses ®. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day.

There are 7 first DAISY award recipients:

  • Leslie Rodriguez is a 4th Floor Family Care Unit Nurse who helped a family who was having the worst week of their lives.
  • Tricia Buckalew is a Labor and Delivery Nurse who helped a mother struggling with twins in NICU and post-partum.
  • Brandon Looney is a Travel Nurse that was working on the Progressive Care Unit who is being recognized for giving great care three different times. His patients say he is one of the most compassionate nurses on the floor.
  • Brianna Miller is a Nurse on our Family Care Unit who her patients say epitomizes what any nurse should strive for.
  • Tracy Leedahl is a 5th Floor Nurse who provides patients with outstanding service.
  • Sara Tupa is a 3rd Floor Progressive Care Unit Nurse who comforts patients and makes them laugh, even when they’re at their worst.
  • Nathan Vasquez is an Intensive Care Unit Nurse, makes his patients feel very important and cared for.

“We are proud to be among the healthcare organizations participating in The DAISY Award program,” said Chief Nursing Officer Janice Hamscher. “Nurses are heroes every day. It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued, and The DAISY Foundation provides a way for us to do that.”

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.

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues. The award recipient is chosen by a committee at Altru to receive The DAISY Award. Awards are presented throughout the year at celebrations attended by the Honoree’s colleagues, patients, and visitors. Each Honoree receives a certificate commending her or him as an "Extraordinary Nurse." The certificate reads: "In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people." Honorees also receive a DAISY Award pin and a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

"When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night,” said Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation. “Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human, extraordinary, compassionate work they do. The kind of work the nurses at Altru are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to the nursing profession internationally in over 3,900 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of direct care Nurses, Nurse-led Teams, Nurse Leaders, Nursing Faculty, Nursing Students, through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects and for nurses participating in medical missions. More information is available at

To nominate a nurse, please fill out the Daisy Award Nomination Form.

For more information on Altru's Daisy Award Program, click here.

About Altru Health System

Based in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Altru Health System is a physician-led, multispecialty group practice with an acute care hospital, Level II trauma center, specialty hospital, more than two dozen Grand Forks, and regional practice locations, and a large home care network. Altru Health System was the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, extending Mayo Clinic knowledge and expertise to the patients we serve. For more information, visit