UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines DAISY Award Recipients

Congratulations to each of our very deserving DAISY award recipients. Their incredible commitment to our CORE values is evidenced in each of their touching nomination stories listed below.

August 2013

Melissa Wimmer, RN
North 6, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

I was recently a patient on North 6 at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. The care and attention I received from everyone was outstanding. Without fail, everyone who entered my room announced their name, told me why they were there and never left without asking if there was anything else they could do. One individual, Melissa Wimmer, RN, stood out and undoubtedly made my stay more comfortable and my return home more manageable.


Shortly upon my arrival to the floor, Melissa caught an IV that was leaking into my tissue, way before it became a problem or uncomfortable. I found her to be prompt and efficient when delivering scheduled medications.  She explained what medications were being given and why; explained how my immediate recovery in the hospital should proceed and what I might expect; encouraged me to walk; and celebrated when I got to eat again. She had a very professional demeanor and conveyed a sense of being capable and knowledgeable, while being compassionate and empathetic. Melissa obviously likes what she is doing, which makes her very cheerful and happy. When she went through my discharge paperwork, she made sure I understood the information and what I needed to be aware of in terms of my healing process.


I am grateful for the outstanding care I received and want to especially thank Melissa for making my stay even better. - Nominated by a co-worker, using the above letter.


July 2013

Dawn Jurgens, RN
ICU/CCU, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

When the patient was brought into CCU, Dawn was very positive, even when things seemed very dismal. She spoke to him constantly in a positive manner while he was in a coma. When I walked in his CCU room, Dawn was tending to his needs. I heard her asking him what he does for work, etc., and I believe he heard everything she said to him.


She also was so thorough while monitoring all those machines and monitors. When I was away from the CCU room, I did not worry about his care. When she was going off duty and getting ready to leave, she would say, "I'll see you up in your room." We didn't know for sure if he would be waking up.


One special point I'd like to make is when "last rights" by a Catholic priest were given, he assured us Dawn was respected. When the priest left, we all said a special prayer, but couldn't speak because we were crying, so she helped us out. She called us by our names and answered every question. She also hung a copy of the prayer above his bed. She said, "Yes, and I think this really suits him." I thought to myself, she does know him, even though he's been in a coma the entire time.


Today, three days later, he is successfully out of the coma and I'm sure it is because of how Dawn cared for him. -Nominated by a patient's family

May 2013

Julie Kerr, RN
NICU, Blank Children's Hospital
I'd like to nominate Julie Kerr for the Daisy Award. She took care of my daughter Kylie in the NICU from January 11 - February 3. Kylie was born six weeks early. While 23 days is short for some, it was very long and trying to us. During planning and pregnancy, no one anticipates this to be their birth experience, but when it's handed to you like a ton of bricks, you want nurses like Julie there to help. It would not have been the positive experience it turned out to be if it wasn't for Julie. I firmly believe Kylie progressed better because of her care.   

Julie was primarily our nurse during our stay, and very much an advocate for Kylie. She is truly your health care system's walking, talking example of "patient- and family-centered care." Each morning, I would come in at 8 a.m., just in time for Kylie's feeding. A huge sense of relief and joy came over me when I saw Julie at Kylie's bedside or her name listed on he marker board, as our nurse that day. If the NICU has a blessing in disguise, it's the nurses, especially Julie. She taught us so much about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, reading cues and care for our daughter. She provided reading material and teaching handouts when needed. Thesee were great tools I was able to share with my husband when he arrived each evening after work. When I struggled with nursing, she was quick to find Susan (the wonderful lactation consultant) to come by and talk with me. Although she didn't make it obvious, I know she made special attemps to honor private time for my husband and me, as if she understood that many of those precious moments most parents get to have in the first few days of birth, were not privy to us at the time.


Not only did she provide exceptional care to our daughter, she provided care to me, a new mom. She was a 'real' person with whom I could have real conversations and laughs. I'd like to also recognize Pam and Dawn who cared for Kylie and taught us so much. If there is a DAISY Team award, it should be given to these three. I could leave at night and rest easy know Pam was there. And Dawn, who added a special touch and uplifting flare to just about everything she did! I would be honored to recommend Julie for this award. - Nominated by a patient's mother 


April 2013

Bethany Massman, RN
Emergency Department, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Bethany arrived on the 7 a.m. shift after I was admitted at 4 a.m. It was determined that I had a heart attack and four stents following an afternoon angiogram. Bethany explained it all to us. She was upbeat and cheerful the whole time.

Early evening, my attack symptoms returned and I watched the monitor and yelled for Bethany. Then, she worked for several-hours to get me back into surgery and get the doctors back to the hospital for round two at approximately 11 p.m.


Bethany did not leave me. I told her to go home to her son and that her shift was over. She told me her family was used to it. Unbelievably, she didn't even know me, but stayed way past her shift to make sure I was OK. I wish I could have seen her again to thank her. - Nominated by a patient.

Eklizabeth Elizondo, RN
West 4, Methodist West Hospital
I was at Methodist West in January for a heart attack, angioplasty and four stents. Elizabeth was my nurse for the first shift following my second angiogram in 11 hours. I was not social, alert or feeling well for those 12 hours, but then I discovered an angel I adore. I feel bad that I had not adequately appreciated Elizabeth before. She gave me back rubs when I had to lie flat, she sponged my dry mouth, she sat on my bed in the middle of the night and talked, she helped me with a shower late at night, and we giggled like a couple of girlfriends. When I mentioned how beautiful their place was and she said, "A building is nothing unless you have the right staff to work there."

This is not an adequate job to tell you what a special nurse Elizabeth is. She is bright, caring and does her job without complaint. I hope you make her position a good one for her and her family. She deserves to succeed in life.


When I'm better and more mobile, I will pay Elizabeth a personal visit and show my gratitude. I can't yet, so this is the best I can do. I will never forget her and love her dearly! - Nominated by a patient

March 2013

Seth Meyers, RN
ICU/CCU, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

I would like to nominate Seth Meyers from the Methodist Intensive Care Unit as a deserving recipient of The Daisy Award. This nurse's clinical skill and compassionate care exemplify the kind of nurse that our patients, families and staff recognize as an outstanding role model.

A student from the Columbine High School massacre once stated, "Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer." Seth exemplifies compassion in his daily nursing practice and in his community. As a male nurse, compassion may be demonstrated in a much different manner than a female. Seth demonstrates a profound compassion for fellow human beings through his words and actions. Countless times families and patients have commented on Seth's patience, kindness and excellent skill level. His listening skills and ability to communicate in a clear manner routinely foster positive relationships with his patients and families. Seth's warm smile, caring tone of voice and calm demeanor illustrate his compassion toward his patients. 


Seth demonstrates a moral courage to assist patients and families to address ethical issues and takes action when doing the right thing is not easy. He never leaves out a single issue that may be important to his patients or families. Whether it is a spiritual need, a physical need, or just someone to sit in the chair next to their bed when they are restless, Seth addresses each need. 


Seth demonstrates strong patient advocacy skills in the care of individuals and their families. He always seems to know when there is a time for passionate advocacy when presenting the case to a physician, or when it is a time for quiet reflection and reconsideration. 


Seth is not only a professional, competent critical care nurse; he is a unit leader that has the ability to motivate other team members. Seth works well within the team to assist in meeting the needs of all patients. He is frequently acknowledged by his peers in morning huddles for going the extra mile, either for them or for his patient. 


Seth is always motivated and driven to improve his practice. He has been working on classes to complete his BSN and has recently obtained his Critical Care Certification. He is a role model, and as I have told him before, "You are someone that I would like my own son to be like as a person and a professional." - Nominated by Janell Smith, RN, ICU/CCU

February 2013

Bette Schwager, RN
CICU, Iowa Lutheran Hospital

My family recently had the pleasure to meet one of Iowa Lutheran Hospital's great nurses, Bette Schwager. We met Bette while she was caring for our aunt in the CICU. During the lengthy stay in the CICU, working with Bette was a joy. She not only did her job with great skill, she was so kind and compassionate not only to my aunt, but to us as well. She never seemed bothered by all the questions we asked. She was always willing to take the extra time to make sure we understood. She was always gentle, soft-spoken and loving to our family.

Her example of compassion and caring is heartwarming and she should be recognized for the amazing nurse that she is. - Nominated by a patient's family member

December 2012

Brittany Riley, RN
Powell 3, Iowa Methodist Medical Center
My wife and I are nominating Brittany for "Nurse of the Month." She is such a sweet nurse! Even when she isn't my nurse, she always stops in to visit and say, "Hi." We love her smile, laugh, compassion and professionalism.

Brittany is an Iowa State fan, while my wife and I are Iowa Hawkeye fans. We talked Brittany into putting on an Iowa Hawkeye shirt and took her picture (even though her lower lip was sticking out). And, since most of the staff on the floor are Cubs fans, and my wife and I are Cardinals fans, Brittany bought us a Cardinals flag to put in the window of my room.


If we would have had a daughter of our own, we'd have wanted her to be just like Brittany. We are recognizing her because she goes the extra mile, she adds sunshine to an otherwise uneventful day and feel blessed by her presence. - Nominated by a patient.

December 2012

Marsan "Sam" Klein, RN
Powell 3, Iowa Methodist Medical Center
I am nominating Sam as "Nurse of the Month." Sam is an amazing nurse! My wife calls her Speedy Gonzales because she has three speeds: fast, faster and fastest. With that said, Sam always takes time to explain things to patients, has an infectious laugh, and even likes to tease. My wife and I feel like we know Sam on a personal level. Not a day goes by that she doesn't ask if we need anything. When I was craving orange juice with pulp, I woke up - two different times - to a large container of tropical orange juice with pulp. She brought my wife a cream-filled danish and cupcake one day, just because. Back rubs, smiles, teasing, laughing, compassion, professionalism and going the extra mile. You can see Sam makes a difference in the lives of patients and families on Powell 3. Patients look forward to Sam saying, "Goodbye," before she leaves, asking, "Do you need anything?" and saying, "See you tomorrow!" before her 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift ends. - Nominated by a patient

November 2012

Steve Wilbur, RN
Emergency Department, Methodist West Hospital
Chris Blair, Administrator from Methodist West Hospital received the following letter on September 5, 2012.

Dear Ms. Blair:

During the last month, it has been necessary for me to use the emergency room three times at Iowa Methodist West. While personally challenging, each visit has been a positive and satisfying experience. Of great importance to me has been the personal empathy for the patient experienced from the ER employees. One member of your ER staff, Steve Wilbur, RN, has been outstanding in his handling of my health problems.

While totally professional  and experienced, his personal degree of empathy during two visits has been very special. Too often, most of us accept our personal handling as routine and expected. This letter recognizes - with great appreciation - the patient empathy and capabilities of Steve Wilbur. He is a role model for every ER employee. Thank you for the availability and services of Iowa Methodist West hospital.


When Chris called the patient to thank him for taking the time to write about his experience and to share how we would recognize Steve, the patient added, "Steve has a natural empathy that is unprovoked."

October 2012

Sarah Puckett, RN
Powell 6, Maternity, Iowa Methodist Medical Center
The purpose of my letter is to nominate Sarah Puckett for the DAISY Award and to make you aware of the excellent care I received while under her care.

I arrived at Iowa Methodist Medical Center at 7:30 a.m. to start my induction and was introduced to Sarah. Upon arrival, I was very nervous and worried, but from the moment I met Sarah, she made me feel very comfortable. Sarah was very knowledgeable, kind and caring, which made me quickly relax. I had attended all the baby classes that Iowa Methodist offered and read many books about what to expect when having a child. Through the whole process, I found that Sarah was the best resource. Any questions I had she could answer. Sarah explained everything that was going to happen and had many ideas for me to try in order to relax.

Sarah's bedside manner was amazing! I could tell she really cared about me, and this was not just a job. She would sit and talk with me, asking about my job and family, and then would share about herself and family. I felt like I was talking with a friend. When my husband needed to leave to get a meal, Sarah stayed with me and even massaged my back when the pain got to be too much. Sarah was an amazing coach when it came time to push. She was a great cheerleader, answered all my questions and kept me going when I wanted to give up!

As the labor went on, it was time for Sarah to leave for the day. Sarah introduced me to the nurse that would be taking over for her and then went to finish her charting. I was really disappointed to see Sarah leave! I had spent the whole day with her and became dependent on her! After a while, I noticed that Sarah was back! She had already worked a full day and yet she came back in the room and stayed an additional two and a half hours to coach me through the last part of labor. I can't tell you how much it meant to me that Sarah went above and beyond and gave up time with her own family to come back and help me have my son.

After my son was born, my family came into the room to meet the new addition. In talking to my family, Sarah and her excellent care was part of my story. Days later, everyone who came to my house to visit the baby heard all about nurse Sarah.

Saturday was our day to be discharged and go home with our new son. We were ecstatic to learn Sarah would be taking care of us. That morning I was nervous and a little apprehensive as my son went off to the nursery for a newborn procedure. Never fear! Without having to ask, Sarah stayed with me and went through the information in my take-home packet. Upon discharge, Sarah sat down with me and my husband and clearly explained how to care for my newborn and myself.

I really appreciate all the time Sarah spent with me, the great care she gave, the excellent communication and how she went above and beyond. When I have my second child, I hope and pray that I have a nurse just like Sarah! - Nominated by a patient      

August 2012

Molly Allen, RN, BSN, MPA
Younker 7, Iowa Methodist Medical Center
When I first came to Younker 7, Molly was one of the nurses that had to clean my wounded leg and change the gauze. She did a great job of changing this and comforting me at the same time. It was so painful -- I was crying -- yet she calmed me and got me through it. Molly is compassionate, loving, and open to my needs and willing to help. She is very dedicated to being the best nurse possible. I've enjoyed her company and all she has done for me. What a fine example for the rest of your staff! - Nominated by a patient

August 2012

Kelly Wilson, RN
Younker 7, Iowa Methodist Medical Center
Kelly has demonstrated the highest degree of caring, compassion, and professional nursing skills I have ever seen. I have had many visits to hospitals for various surgeries or illnesses over my adult life and never have I received such good and thorough care. Kelly is a great listener. She takes in all your concerns and asks all the right questions. She establishes a good relationship with you and is tender and loving. It is obvious she takes her training seriously and puts it into practice. Kelly never left my room before checking to see if I had everything around me so I wouldn't have to reach for things. My stay was wonderful and comfortable because Kelly made a bad and painful situation easier to handle. - Nominated by a patient.

June 2012

Chris Parker, RN
Neonatal Transport, Blank Children's Hospital
With over 29 years of NICU experience and 26 years being a neonatal transport nurse, Chris Parker has shown her dedication to the smallest patients and their families with her remarkable care and compassion. One night in particular stands out as an example of her commitment to the NICU and its patients.

With two neonatal transport nurses already out on separate transports, a frantic call was made to Chris at 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning to go by ground to stabilize and transport premature twins from Mason City. Without hesitation, she stated it would take too much time for her to drive to the hospital from her home in Ankeny, so she suggested the ambulance crew pick her up at her neighborhood gas station off of the interstate on their way to Mason City. Chris arrived back in the NICU with the twins before 7 a.m., and both were stable and doing well. After giving report and having a cup of coffee, she remarked, "So, who's the lucky one that gets to take me back to my car?"


Over the years, there have been many times when Chris has shown true C.O.R.E. values of UnityPoint Health at Blank Children's Hospital and at hospitals statewide. At the same time, she continues to mentor as a team leader of the Neonatal Transport team and maintain a great sense of humor.

Nominated by: Emily Burt and Angie Croy, NICU, Blank Children's Hospital

May 2012

Ann Schnepf, RN
West 5, Transitional Care Unit, Iowa Lutheran Hospital 
Because Ann works overnight, she takes care of every patient on our floor. She uses humor and care to make sure each patient is comfortable and happy. In Ann's spare time she knits for the patients, adding to their feeling of home. When patients are notified who their nurse is going to be for the evening, they are always happy and excited because they know she is going to do anything possible for them. Never have I heard a complaint about her.

I enjoy working with Ann because she is always available to answer any question I may have. No matter what, she always takes time to ask how everyone is doing. Even if she is behind and has other things to do, she never lets that show to the patients. As a patient care tech and nursing student, I hope to be a nurse half as good as Ann Schnepf.

Nominated by: Jessica Patterson, West 5, Transitional Care Unit, Iowa Lutheran Hospital

March 2012

Carol Anderson, RN, BS, CNOR
Operating Room, Iowa Methodist Medical Center



I have worked with Carol Anderson, RN, for over 30 years in the operating room. She started as a staff nurse and moved up the ladder to a team leader position, and then to Unit Based Educator. She excels in effective teaching and encouragement of new employees.

Carol effectively uses humor and sincere interest in helping all staff grow and learn.  She promotes a high degree of morale and shows compassion while giving comfort to all her patients, families and their friends.

One day, Carol was assisting anesthesia on a patient that needed her gall bladder remove. Before the patient went to sleep, the patient -- with a tear in her eye -- told Carol she was homeless and currently living in a shelter.

Deeply moved, Carol took her break time to ask several fellow employees if she could have the present they got at a department secret Santa gift exchanged. She also collected food donations from the department's food drive, including cans of soup, candy bars, new socks, etc. Carol wrapped them in Christmas wrap, put them in a white bag and placed them on the patient's cart in the PACU.

When the patient woke up, she asked what was in the bag. The PACU nurse said, "Santa's been here." The patient was so thrilled and grateful that someone had thought of her.  As I understand, the surgeon found out about Carol's compassion and thoughtfulness and gave Carol a big hug and thanked her.

This is just one of the many things that Carol does for our patients and department that makes me proud to know and work with Carol.



Nominated by: Cathy Garrett, RN, Operating Room, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

January 2012

Amy Dagestad, RN
Maternity, Younker 6, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

I had the best experience with a nurse named Amy when I was there November 9 - 13, 2011 to have my first child. I am not sure what her last name is, but I hope you can locate and give her the recognition she deserves.

Amy was my nurse when I came in at 6 p.m. to be induced. From the beginning, she made me feel very comfortable. She joked around and kidded with me and my family. She went out of her way to get to know me and talked about herself and how she had just recently had a baby. This made me feel very comfortable because I knew she truly knew how I felt. She explained everything that was going on and went above and beyond to show that she cared.

I ended up having a C-section, but having her in the room with me made me feel 100 percent better. Amy even came in to see me the next day (on her day off) to see how I was doing. I unfortunately missed her because I was in the NICU with my son so I did not get to thank her in person.

Amy said she was also a trainer and I can definitely see why. She was a great nurse and deserves to be recognized. Please thank her on behalf of me and my family. We loved her!

Nominated by: Iowa Methodist Medical Center patient

December 2011

Lori Kornstad, RN
Blank 3, Blank Children's Hospital
For several months, we have had an infant in our care due to a surgical condition after birth. The infant is the first child for this couple and it has been very difficult for them to see past the next day let alone into the future.
Lori has a son who had the same surgical issue at birth and was in the hospital for six months. She made a scrapbook of her son and brought it in to show the parents that although this time is difficult, soon they would have their son at home and he would thrive, grow, and play sports like her son!
Lori's gesture made such an impact on these parents and provided the hope and encouragement they needed to care for their son. I am proud of Lori for taking the initiative to share a part of her life with this young couple.
Lori works weekend package nights and is an advocate for her patients and families. She is known for doing the "little things" and going the extra mile to make sure all patients have what they need and then some. We are very fortunate to have Lori on our nursing team!
Nominated by: Amy Leister, Manager
November 2011

Theresa Schnepf, RN
Maternity, Powell 6, Iowa Methodist Medical Center
Recently, Theresa was facilitating our new mother's education/support group when a young first time mother attended with her four-week-old son. In visiting with the mother, Theresa noted that the baby was listless, a poor eater and not active. She asked the young mother to visit with her after the group session so she could help her with feeding the baby and answer any questions.

It turned out the baby weighed eight ounces less than the birth weight. Theresa visited with the mother about the importance of feeding the baby frequently and the importance of a steady newborn weight gain. The mother indicated that she had a doctor's appointment for the baby but did not keep it.

In working with the mother, Theresa asked if she could call the physician to share her concerns and encourage a visit. The mother was receptive to the advice and agreed.

After the mother's departure, Theresa visited with her director to inform her of the situation and review her plan for follow-up. This significant weight loss for a four-week-old baby was a great risk to the baby. Theresa then called the baby's physician and shared the situation. The physician called the mother and set up an immediate appointment to see the infant. Theresa also contacted our social worker for possible referrals to offer this mother support. 

Theresa called the mother back over the next few days to check in and encourage her to return to the support group. The mother returned and when weighed, the baby had gained 11 ounces from the previous week and was more vigorous and age appropriate in his behavior. The young mother was proud of the baby's progress and agreed to return to the weekly support group.

I have no doubt that Theresa's persistence and interventions averted a potential life threatening situation for this newborn and young family.
Nominated by: Sue Gehlsen, Executive Director, Womens Services

October 2011

Julie Sowder, RN
Cath Lab and Radiology, Methodist West Hospital
Julie is very professional and friendly. Her ability to perform putting my PICC line in was not hurtful or scary. As she worked, she told me everything she was doing and how it would feel. Julie made me feel very comfortable. She was efficient and took her time to do it right.

This was the third time I've had it done, and never before had it been so pleasant. Also, she was very careful to be germ free.
Nominated by: Methodist West Patient

September 2011

Kathy Reese, RN
Ortho, Methodist West Hospital
Kathy is a very caring, kind and patient nurse. She is always prompt and her patients love her because she is a good listener, is always smiling and courteous and has a great sense of humor!

Nursing can be a very stressful professional at times, but Kathy always puts the needs of her patients first and exemplifies caring and compassion.

She is always going above and beyond and out of her way to help others in need. Kathy is an amazing nurse, and any patient would be lucky to have her!
Nominated by: Sherry Turner, Visitor

August 2011

Mary May, RN, BSN
2 North, Iowa Lutheran Hospital
Mary has many years of experience as a front line staff nurse at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, has been a CAP nurse for many years and is also a Unit Based Educator for 2 North at Iowa Lutheran. When providing care, Mary consistently demonstrates our CORE values of compassion, openness, respect and excellence in her interactions with patients as well as physicians and other staff.

I have had the opportunity to work closely with Mary as a member of the IHDM Pain steering Committee. Mary May took the initiative to "go the extra mile" by agreeing to serve as a primary member of the team developing an alternative to the PCA for managing pain in cognitively impaired patients. She could see that it would offer patients a more steady state of medication, provide more effective pain relief and ultimately prevent a severe state of delirium.

In helping with this project, Mary May demonstrated extraordinary compassion by caring for one of the most vulnerable patient populations, cognitively impaired older adults. She was an integral part of the inter-professional team where she helped obtain approval from providers and created an educational program for nursing staff.  

It is her compassion for her patients, desire to provide the best evidence-based care to achieve the best outcomes and pursuit of excellence that make Mary May a worthy candidate for the Daisy Award.
Nominated by: Lisa Baumhover, MS, GCNS-BC 

July 2011

Cheryl Halterman, RN
Intensive Care Unit/Critical Care Unit (ICU/CCU), Iowa Methodist
Caring and compassion cannot be learned in a nursing school or in a classroom; they are special gifts, and gifts ooze from Cheryl Halterman. Cheryl is kind, compassionate and gentle to every patient placed in her charge. The way she touches, speaks to and listens to her patients is amazing to watch.

Cheryl never loses her patience or sight of what is best for her patients and their families; she never rushes in a room, and she always addresses every need, even for the most trying of patients.


Cheryl attends to all aspects of the patient's plan of care, from simple to complex. No matter what the need may be, if it's important to the patient or the family, Cheryl makes it a priority. It could be as simple as obtaining a recliner for a family member so they can rest more comfortably during their loved one's stay, or as complex as interpreting hemodynamic numbers and notifying a physician of her concerns. Cheryl has excellent critical thinking skills and holds herself to a very high level of accountability for every patient that walks through our doors.


Cheryl is also very active in the unit. She is an excellent leader, performs the relief charge role with ease and makes herself available for committee work when asked. Peers and physicians alike view Cheryl as an excellent resource. She brings many smiles when she comes to work, often bringing homemade treats for the staff.


Cheryl is an example of one of the most caring and compassionate nurses I know. She touches and changes lives in extraordinary ways every time she works. She is an excellent example of someone that lives out our CORE values, and is a perfect example of what a DAISY nurse should be.


Nominated by: Janell Smith, RN, ICU/CCU, Iowa Methodist Medical Center