Three nurses from CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial and Memorial Specialty Hospital were presented with the DAISY award which recognizes nurses who consistently demonstrate excellence through clinical expertise and compassionate care.

The most recent nurses to earn the DAISY Award for excellence are Carrie Zavala, Kristin Hardy and Delia Degnan.

Carrie Zavala works in the Labor & Delivery department. According to her nomination letter, Carrie always demonstrates the hospital’s core values – reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence (RICE) – with every patient and with every encounter. In one particular situation, Zavala took the time to really listen to her patient’s concerns. The woman had a history of short labor and quick deliveries, and she lived more than an hour away from the hospital.

The doctor respected Zavala’s concerns and kept the patient for observation. Shortly thereafter, an emergency C-section was needed.

“The mom and baby are healthy because of Carrie’s RICE qualities and listening skills,” the nomination letter stated.

Kristin Hardy works on the 3rd floor of the Kurth tower at the Lufkin hospital with patients recovering from a variety of illnesses and conditions. Fellow employees praised her leadership and kind spirit.

“As a new nurse and a new employee at CHI, Kristin was my first glimpse into the nursing world. She was always so patient and went above and beyond to make sure every learning opportunity was utilized. She still takes the time to call me in on any situation where I can practice or learn a new skill. She is looked up to by many. Not only is she a great co-worker, she is an amazing nurse. Her patients and their families always have the nicest compliments to say about her. Her priority is patient care, and she holds us all to a very high standard. I am very grateful I had the opportunity to learn from her. She is a great role model.”

Delia Degnan is a nurse at Memorial Specialty Hospital, the area’s only long term acute care facility. Her willingness to help her fellow co-workers earned her this year’s DAISY award.

“Delia is a great charge nurse that goes out of her way to make sure everyone gets their stuff done on time. Delia never complains and always has a good attitude about the day ahead. Delia comes in with a positive attitude and is ready to work. When she sees her fellow nurses, techs, or even respiratory therapists falling behind, she stops what she is doing to help them out.”

The DAISY Award nominee must meet certain criterion that includes exemplifying characteristics such as reverence, integrity, compassion, excellence and consistently going above and beyond to care for patients and their families.

Nomination forms for the next DAISY Award are available throughout the CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin and Memorial Specialty Hospital facilities and online at

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

In picture above, from left to right: Deborah Burgess, Chief Nursing Officer of CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Specialty Hospital; Delia Degnan, RN; Carrie Zavala, RN; Kristin Hardy, RN; Mary Franklin, VP of Patient Care Services; and Darlene Williams, VP of Clinical Operations, Memorial Specialty Hospital and San Augustine.

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