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Katie Carvalho Named Lodi Health's DAISY Award Winner

Awards & Recognition

Katie Carvalho, a nurse in Lodi Health’s progressive telemetry unit (PTU), was named the newest recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses at an employee ceremony Wednesday morning. DAISY is an international program honoring nurses for clinical skills and compassionate care.

Carvalho, who was in the audience surrounded by her PTU team, sat in shock as her own family and a former patient’s family entered the room with flowers and hugs for her. Lodi Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Debbe Moreno expressed her amazement in a nurse who has made such an impact on her peers and patients while still only in her first year of nursing.

“How does one, in less than a year, earn the respect and trust of fellow nurses who say, ‘If I were sick, if I were in trouble, I would want Katie to be my nurse’?” Moreno asked the audience of Lodi Memorial nurses and employees. “She is the epitome of what this award represents.”

Carvalho was nominated by her peers and the family of a former Lodi Memorial patient. The patient and family members were touched by the compassion and care given by Carvalho and other PTU nurses. Dominee Muller-Kimball, the patient’s youngest daughter, spoke about her family’s experience at the DAISY Award ceremony.

“They’re the most amazing group of people I have ever met,” Muller-Kimball said, referring to the unit. “They are not only helping the patient, but what really touched us is the care they also gave to the family.”

In his last days, Muller-Kimball’s father had struggled with the nurse’s recommendations that he not walk to the restroom on his own. Rather than simply stating he wasn’t allowed to get up without assistance, Carvalho explained, “it’s not that you can’t get up; it’s that I am worried about you falling.” She offered him a bedpan and urinal, both of which he refused. She agreed to make him a deal: If he could sit up in bed, she would let him walk to the restroom. After several attempts and even with help, he was not able to sit up. It was a jarring realization he had not expected, and he agreed to use the urinal.

“Katie handled him in such an amazing way – not by belittling him or scolding him, but by letting him figure out on his own that he needed help,” the family wrote in a letter to hospital staff.

This is not the only impression Carvalho has left on her patients. A 91-year-old took the extra effort to come back to the hospital to meet with Moreno just to praise the PTU team and Carvalho. He shared that he not only received the best clinical care, but in his most vulnerable moments he was treated as a human being and friend, with dignity and respect. Carvalho, who listened to these patient stories with tears in her eyes, credits her team and family of nurses for being great role models.

“I have a great team, and I couldn’t do any of it without them,” Carvalho said.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The DAISY Award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s efforts to nurses who go above-and-beyond on a daily basis. The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, Calif., was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died in 1999 at the age of 33 from an autoimmune disease. The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired the award as a means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.