Healthcare Series: Providing Meaningful Connection | Bonnie Barnes

Bonnie Barnes is the Co-founder and CEO of The DAISY Foundation, a nonprofit organization that recognizes excellence in nursing with the DAISY Award. The award is celebrated in more than 4,700 healthcare facilities, and over 156,000 nurses have been recognized formally since the Foundation began.

In honor of Nurses Week, Bonnie speaks on a topic that is integral to the mission of The DAISY Foundation – meaningful recognition. Listen as she describes the steps towards incorporating meaningful recognition into an organization and why it’s so critical to retaining great nurses and combating burnout. 

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Truth You Can Act On

1. Meaningful Recognition is Personal
Supporting Quote
Bonnie Barnes: “The way that I think about meaningful recognition as it’s been described in the literature is that it’s recognition on steroids. What makes it meaningful is it’s personal. It’s personal to the recipient. It’s specific about what is being recognized for that person or for that nurse. It has a long lasting impact on the person who’s receiving it, it acknowledges specific behavior, and very importantly, the impact it had on a patient, family member, or coworker. It’s relevant to the situation and the nurse’s contribution.”

2. Collect Stories
Supporting Quote
Bonnie Barnes: “When the organization goes out and solicits nominations from patients and families and coworkers, whether they’re written nominations or electronically submitted nominations, they really spread that culture of recognition around the organization. That’s what makes a difference. That’s probably the most important aspect. It’s getting those stories, and it takes building awareness of the opportunity for patients and families and coworkers to say, thank you to make that happen. It’s the collecting of stories and really encouraging rich descriptions of what a nurse has done.”

3. Include Executive Leadership in Recognition Practices
Supporting Quote
Bonnie Barnes: “We have a program dedicated to honoring nurse managers and other leaders. We call it the DAISY Nurse Leader Award. The reason we created it was because we’re well aware that when we started the DAISY Award it was really designed to honor direct-care nurses for extraordinary compassion at the bedside or chairside. But what about those people that are creating the environment where all this compassionate care is thriving? Well, those are nurse managers and other leaders, and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to express gratitude or to enable the staff to be able to say thank you to their managers. So we created the DAISY Nurse Leader Award. I would say that when nurse managers feel the recognition themselves, when they experience it for themselves or one of their peers, it will never be another statement about, I don’t have time, because once they feel it, they know what a difference it makes.”

4. Leverage Virtual Platforms
Supporting Quote
Bonnie Barnes: “With all kinds of social distancing going on, what I have found has been especially special has been the ability to do these presentations virtually. So now, instead of having just the people in the unit participate, they get hundreds of people on these Zoom meetings. And very often I’m there, which is the most fun thing I get to do is to participate in these Zoom presentations. It’s really wonderful.”


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