Nottingham University Hospitals announces first DAISY Award winners

A ‘brilliant’ nurse and a ‘lifesaving’ midwife have become the first UK acute hospital winners of an international award after being nominated by patients.

Oncology Nurse Sharon Leighton and Community Midwife Julie Tarbitt have become the first DAISY Award winners at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The pair were nominated by grateful patients who were moved to say thank you.

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Sharon said: “I had heard about the awards but it was a big shock and surprise, I was massively flattered. For me the most important thing was that the family were there when I got the award. For someone to read their words and to hear what they had to say makes it all worthwhile.

“I was lost for words but it was really emotional. It reflects the team work on the ward – it’s everybody that deserves this award.

“I think the DAISY award is a lovely thing. It is always good when we recognise the positive.”

NUH is the first acute trust in the UK to be supported by the DAISY Foundation – an international programme set up to recognise the contribution of nurses and midwives the world over. Each month a winner is chosen at City Hospital and at Queen’s Medical Centre.

Sharon was nominated by a patient’s daughter who commented on how much support Sharon has given not only to her father but to the whole family throughout his treatment.

The patient’s daughter said: “Sharon and all the staff on Oncology Day case at NUH are absolutely amazing and brilliant.

“My father has to currently visit the ward on a weekly basis due to his illness and we now class the team as part of our family. She has been an absolute rock for my mum and is always there to support when needed and to explain what the treatment plan is going to be, even contacting the oncologist directly on behalf of us when we were not sure what was happening.

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“Without Sharon and the team on the ward, my father’s experience would be different, they have made this difficult time bearable and have made my father laugh even on his bad days, so for that we are forever grateful.”

Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse at NUH, said: “The DAISY Awards focus on what nurses and midwives do every day, providing clinically excellent and compassionate care to patients and their families. It’s a wonderful way to recognise their tireless efforts and recognise their accomplishments.

“Sharon and Julie really embody the spirit of what great care is. It was obvious from their nominations that this is more than a job to them and they truly believe in what they are doing.”

Community midwife Julie Tarbitt was nominated for her DAISY Award for the care she gave to a patient who was experiencing severe post-natal depression.

“Julie truly saved my life,” commented the patient. “Following the birth of my daughter she visited me at home and I sat there and cried and cried.

“Julie got me some breakfast and a cup of tea. She waited until my mum and husband arrived so I wasn’t alone. She looked after my baby. She hugged us all. “She talked to me about extra support from the mother and baby unit at the QMC and I agreed I wanted to go in there.

“She made phone calls and made a referral and made sure my family knew who to call should we need help. She even visited me on the ward. I felt supported and cared for and I’m in a much better place now.

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“Being a midwife doesn’t seem like just a job for Julie. She throws her heart and soul into it and she really does make a huge difference to her patients’ lives”.

Sharon and Julie were given surprise presentations this week by colleagues. At the ceremonies they were presented with a special ‘Healer’s Touch’ sculpture and their stories will be shared on the DAISY Foundation website.

The DAISY Foundation set up the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses recognition program in America. It was established following the death of the founder’s husband who wanted to create an initiative that could say thank you to nurses everywhere for the work that they do. The foundation currently operates in 2,500 healthcare facilities in 15 different countries.

NUH presented the awards this week to coincide with International Day of the Midwife (5 May) and International Nurses Day (12 May). Ongoing the scheme will enable patients, relatives and colleagues to recognise the outstanding work of nurses and midwives at NUH on a monthly basis.

NUH has celebrated International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day by delivering cakes to each of the wards, hosting conferences on improving patient care and a celebration event for international nurses. On Saturday the hospital is hosting a Nurses League Tea Party for current and retired nurses.

Nominations for NUH’s DAISY Award can be made by completing and posting the nomination cards on wards and in public areas into the DAISY post boxes or by emailing More information o