(Media release from Atrium Health Floyd):

Kara Smith, a registered nurse at Floyd Medical Center, was recognized Monday for her compassion and dedication as she cared for a dying patient and comforted both him and his wife earlier this year.

Smith responded quickly when needed and connected emotionally with the couple.

“I turned to Kara and began to tell her how sorry I was because we were very needy that day. Since this was the third consecutive day that Kara was Larry’s nurse, she knew he did not normally call for help numerous times,” the patient’s widow wrote when she nominated Smith for a DAISY Award. “Kara looked at me and responded in the kindest voice ever, saying it didn’t matter how many times we called. She said she was there to help us, and it was her job to be there for us.

“What Kara did that day was to embody all of the things a healer should be to their patient. She attended to his medical needs, reminded and explained his care requirements for the present time as prescribed by his doctor, and soothed my hurting and troubled heart. She ministered to both me and my husband of 59 years. When I expressed concern for her emotional well-being in caring for critically ill patients, she acknowledged that it was difficult but that she prayed for us.”

The DAISY Award is an international program that recognizes bedside nurses for the exceptional care they provide patients. The award was established by the family of Patrick Barnes after he died from an auto-immune disease while being treated in a Seattle hospital. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The Barnes family was thankful for the care he received and created the award to thank bedside nurses for the job they do.

Smith was also presented with a sculpture called A Healer’s Touch. Each piece is hand-carved for the DAISY Foundation by members of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The woman who nominated her also sent her a bouquet of daisies.
Smith cares for patients in the hospital’s pulmonary unit, where she started as a certified nursing assistant 8 years ago. She went back to school to become a registered nurse.
“I try to treat every patient like they are my own family member.” Smith said. “It meant a lot to me to receive the award. It is good to know that you can have a positive impact on the families you care here.”