An individual’s experience in a hospital ranges from deep sadness and loss of life to new life and hopes for the future. For someone suffering from a long-term illness, the slow deterioration, methodical routines, and standard procedures that take place in a cramped, cold hospital room can be a dehumanizing experience.  But in a time of crisis, a gentle touch or a sweet word from a nurse can offer hope.

To honor the impact of nurses, the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing recently honored two faculty members for their leadership in educating future nurses to bring compassion and caring to those in need. Karen Kincaid, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, assistant professor of nursing, and Diane Benson, Ed.D., RN, MS, M.Ed., associate professor of nursing, from the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing, were awarded The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty.

The DAISY Foundation was started in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). His family was astounded by the compassionate treatment he received from nurses during the eight weeks of hospitalization, and created the DAISY award in appreciation of his nurses. DAISY stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The mission of The DAISY Foundation is to celebrate and show appreciation to the extraordinary nurses who combine their experience and education with their kindness to impact patients and families.   

“The DAISY award gives the College of Nursing the opportunity to recognize exemplary faculty,” said Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., RN, Dean of the TAMHSC-College of Nursing.

Dr. Benson is an associate professor at the TAMHSC-College of Nursing. She received her Bachelor of Science from Texas Woman’s University, and then her Master of Education from Memphis State University. Dr. Benson then went on to receive her Master of Science from Texas Woman’s University and finally her doctorate of education from the University of La Verne.

“Dr. Benson is a professional role model for both students and peers,” said Dr. Wilkerson, “She is very willing to share her teaching expertise with her colleagues and mentors newer faculty.”

Dr. Kincaid, assistant professor at the TAMHSC-College of Nursing, also epitomizes the criteria for The DAISY Award, according to Dr. Wilkerson. She earned her Bachelor of Science and then her Master of Science from the University of Texas System School of Nursing. She then earned her doctorate of philosophy from Texas Woman’s University.

“Dr. Kincaid has been an excellent role model for the RN – BSN students in her love of education and her professionalism,” said Dr. Wilkerson.

The criteria for nominees for The DAISY Award are clearly exemplified by these two educators. Winners of The DAISY Award are excellent educators and facilitate learning in both classroom and clinical settings. They treat all students equally and are unbiased while expressing personal interest in students’ learning. They work well with the healthcare team to facilitate student learning in patient care environment.

— Blair Williamson