Rita Ashcroft, RN, honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses

Author: Sarah Barber

"I was just trying to do what you would do for someone you care about."


McLaren Greater Lansing nurse Rita Ashcroft was honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's program to recognize the exceptional care nurses provide every day.

The nomination, submitted by on of Ashcroft's co-workers reads as follows: "Rita floated to the 7 East department to help us while we were short-staffed, and it was her first time in this nursing unit."

Ashcroft is a float nurse, which means she cares for patients wherever there is a need.

"One of her patients was having trouble being placed in outpatient treatment and was homeless. Rita recognized that it was the patient's birthday and spent her own money to buy popcorn and made a card for the patient's birthday. Despite a busy day for this employee, she made the care of her patient a priority and made the patient feel good on their birthday."

Ashcroft was recognized by hospital leadership and co-workers and received a certificate commending her for being an "Extraordinary Nurse," as well as a sculpture called "A Healer's Touch," hand-carved by artists of the Shona people in Zimbabwe.

"I wasn't sure if the patient had family or anyone to wish him a happy birthday, and I wanted to make sure his birthday was recognized by someone," Ashcroft said. "I was just trying to do what you would do for someone you care about."

About the DAISY Award

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, California, was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon autoimmune disease. The care Barnes 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 patients and their families.

"When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced firsthand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night," said Bonnie Barnes, president and co-founder of the DAISY Foundation. "Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the superhuman work they do. The kind of work the nurses at McLaren Greater Lansing are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of the DAISY Award."