Willa Decker receives the DAISY Award

l-r:  Susan Yarbrough, Ph.D., RN, CNE, associate dean for academic affairs, Willa Decker, M.S.N., M.A., RN, FNP-BC, assistant professor, and Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., RN, CNE, dean of the TAMHSC-College of Nursing.

Graduates often talk about hearing a faculty member’s voice in the back of their head helping through a tricky situation or difficult procedure. To honor these nurse educators that students hear – even years after graduation – the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing recognizes outstanding faculty members annually with The DAISY Faculty Award.

Willa Decker, M.S.N., M.A., RN, FNP-BC, assistant professor of nursing, received this year’s award during a college-wide event May 14.

“The DAISY award gives the College of Nursing the opportunity to recognize model faculty for their commitment and inspirational influence on the nurses of tomorrow,” said Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., RN, TAMHSC-College of Nursing dean.

Decker received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston and her Master of Science in Nursing in psychiatric mental health from Texas Woman’s University–Houston Center. She also has a Master of Arts in individual, marriage and family therapy from the University of Houston and her post-master in advanced nurse practice from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

“Professor Decker is a professional example for her students and peers,” Dr. Wilkerson said. “Her positive attitude and enthusiasm for teaching, learning and nursing inspires and motivates students and faculty alike.”

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 those nurses. DAISY stands for “Diseases Attacking the Immune System.” The DAISY Foundation mission is to celebrate and show appreciation to the extraordinary nurses who combine their experience and education with their kindness to impact patients and families.

— Holly Shive

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