Meet VU’s DAISY award-winning extraordinary nursing faculty and students

Meet VU’s DAISY award-winning extraordinary nursing faculty and students

2021 VU Jasper DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Faculty Award

June 16, 2021

VINCENNES, Ind. - Faculty and students at Vincennes University and Vincennes University Jasper have distinguished themselves in nursing. They are recipients of nationally recognized awards that celebrate them for the selfless and incredible work they do for others.

Three individuals at the Vincennes Campus and three at the VU Jasper Campus were recognized with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty and the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students.

The awards recognize the faculty who inspire compassionate care in students and students who demonstrate it during their education.

The student award winners include VU’s Bryce Bilskie and Rachel Richardson and VU Jasper’s Elizabeth Bennett and Cassie Foster.

“By honoring students with the DAISY Student Nurse Award, it is designed to remind students, even on the hardest days in nursing school, why they want to be a nurse,” VU College of Health Sciences and Human Performance Dean Michelle Cummins said. “It is important to celebrate what it truly means to be a nurse, by recognizing these hard-working nursing students for the above-and-beyond care and compassion shown to patients and their families. It is the nurse-patient connection that makes all the difference to patients and their families in their healthcare experience. These students exemplify that quality that makes great nurses truly great. Congratulations, 2021 DAISY Student Nurse Award recipients!”

VU Jasper Professor Melissa Belcher and VU Professor Emily Bushnell were honored with faculty awards.

“The DAISY faculty award honorees personify Vincennes University Nursing Department’s remarkable impact on students and therefore patients,” Cummins said. “These faculty members consistently demonstrate excellence through their classroom knowledge, clinical expertise, and extraordinary compassionate care. Congratulations to all for being recognized as outstanding role models in our nursing community!”

The family of the late Patrick Barnes created The DAISY Foundation and awards to ensure nurses, like the ones who cared for Barnes during the last weeks of his life, are saluted for their education, training, brainpower, and the skill they put into their work along with the caring nature they deliver care.

Meet the 2021 DAISY award recipients:

2021 VU Jasper DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Faculty Award

Melissa Belcher (RN, MSN): “My first year of nursing school, I failed Mrs. Belcher’s class. Most nursing classes come pretty naturally to me, but Pediatrics did not. She constantly gave me positive feedback because she knew I could do more and she was right. I may have failed that year, but by the end of our meetings/class, I knew I was going to come back stronger and more confident than before. I enter Year Two and start my Maternity class. Another class that I struggled in. She never gave up and continued the positive constructive feedback. She may never know how much helped me, but I will never forget.”

2021 VU Jasper DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Student Award

Cassie Foster (Associate of Science Nursing Student): “This student manages nursing school, full-time job requirements, and family commitments extremely well. Maintains a good GPA, turns in quality work, all while performing excellent skills at the bedside. Always willing to do whatever task is asked of her without complaint.”

2021 VU Jasper DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Student Award

Elizabeth Bennett (Associate of Science Nursing Student): “She is friendly and kind to her patients, classmates, and faculty. She has a positive attitude, even when faced with difficult situations. She works hard to learn the content and the skills needed to care for patients. She is efficient and organized with assignments and presentations. She has the drive and heart to excel in her nursing career.”

2021 VU DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Student Award

Bryce Bilskie (Associate of Science Nursing Student): “He does not need direction to jump in and help his fellow students when they are in need of help, he just does it. One particular instance during his clinical time in the fall of 2020, Bryce and another classmate were caring for a patient who had dementia. The patient had been a challenging one for staff to care for. Bryce and his classmate approached care for this patient in such a compassionate manner. He took care of this patient as he would have if it would have been his grandmother or family member. The patient improved dramatically as a result of the kind and caring approach to her care.”

2021 VU DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Faculty Award

Emily Bushnell (RN, MSN): “She was made for her role in the nursing department at VU. She has a magnetic kind of personality that everyone wants to be around. She has encouraged me and boosted my confidence in myself and my abilities in one of the most pivotal times in my life being in school. She wants all of her students to succeed in nursing, but she will not let client care suffer in any way. She sees the potential people have and calls it out. She believes in her students but makes sure they gain the knowledge and experience to be careful, effective future nurses. She’s my hero all day.”

2021 VU DAISY Extraordinary Nursing Student Award

Rachel Richardson (Associate of Science Nursing Student): “She is extremely empathetic to her patients and their situations. Just yesterday, she became overwhelmed with her feelings on the psych floor. She waited until clinical was over to express it. She sees them for the human beings they are. She has clear compassion for her patients. She demonstrates unconditional regard for all clients.”

Nurses are in high demand, and Vincennes University offers bachelor's and associate degrees in Nursing. Learn more about VU's award-winning, hands-on College of Health Sciences and Human Performance programs: