DAISY Award Winner Mary Harwell and co-workers

Mary Harwell, RN, is surrounded by co-workers from UT Health East Texas long-term acute care after she was presented with the DAISY Award, which honors nurses who provide excellent patient care.

Mary Harwell, a registered nurse with UT Health East Texas long-term acute care, recently was selected by the hospital as a DAISY Award winner.

“This award is for nurses who provide excellent patient care,” long-term acute care chief nursing officer Laurie Lehnhof-Watts said. “While many people are excellent nurses, when someone takes the time to write about their experience — that’s special.”

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues, and the award recipient is chosen by a committee at UT Health East Texas. Harwell received a formal nomination from her co-worker, Erin Hoosier.

“Mary goes above and beyond for her patients and provides the highest quality of care for both the patients and their families,” Hoosier said. “In the past months and during three separate occasions, I witnessed extraordinary examples of her compassion toward patients and families.”

As a winner of the DAISY Award, Harwell received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona people in Zimbabwe. Awards are presented throughout the year at celebrations attended by the honoree’s colleagues, patients and visitors.

“It’s pretty amazing winning an award. I’m very shocked. I didn’t expect it,” Harwell said. “In my life, I’ve been led to a point where I can give back to others. And that’s what God calls us to do — take care of others.”

Harwell joined UT Health in August 2018. She received schooling at Piedmont Tech in Greenwood, South Carolina, and Kilgore College. She is currently enrolled at UT Tyler in pursuit of her Bachelor of Science in nursing.

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died in 1999 at age 33 from complications of an autoimmune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired the award.

The program has been implemented in more the 1,900 health care facilities, including UT Health East Texas.

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