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The Catalyst

5East ART nurse celebrated with DAISY Award

The December DAISY (Disease Attacking the Immune System) award winner is Dawn Terzulli, R.N., who works on 5East ART. Terzulli was nominated by Eileen Sandlin, R.N., on behalf of the 5East Leadership Council.


Below is her nomination:

“Dawn Terzulli and I were both caring for an 88–year–old patient on our unit (Mr. F). I was the night nurse and Dawn the day nurse. When doing bedside report one morning, the patient had a complete meltdown. He was tearful as he stated that ‘no one was telling him what was going on.’ He felt that his family, the physicians and social workers were working against his wishes by trying to send him to rehab instead of home. Although the patient was quite deconditioned, he was very motivated to work with PT/OT and get better so he could go home. After offering emotional support and assuring Mr. F. that she had heard his concerns, Dawn detailed for him what she planned to do. The patient clearly needed an advocate, and Dawn stepped into that role easily, without really knowing much about him.

By the time we left the patient’s room, he had calmed down, verbalized that he ‘felt better’ and acknowledged that Dawn’s help was needed and welcomed.

As I was continuing with the report that morning, I saw Dawn approach the intern on Mr. F.’s team to explain his concerns in detail. I left that day with a great feeling because I knew the right nurse had been assigned to Mr. F.

When I came back to work that night, I learned that Dawn had arranged the following things for the patient: She rounded with the patient’s Care Team and ensured that his concerns were vocalized to all of the physicians in the presence of the patient, she had him re-evaluated by PT/OT, and made several attempts to reach the patient’s family to make them aware of his concerns.

Dawn also personally walked with the patient a couple of times, both to get him up and moving, and to help his emotional health by getting him out of his room. She expressed to me how impressed she was with the patient’s strength and determination as he did laps around the nurses station using only his walker.  As I cared for Mr. F. that night, the change in his demeanor was noticeable. He asked me to take him for a walk, was more conversant, and slept soundly. Although Mr. F. spent several more days on 5 East, he continued to improve, and I was very happy for him when he discharged with the disposition of ‘Home with Home Health PT.’

I truly believe that Dawn made an incredible difference for her patient. Had she not been the caring, empathetic, patient advocate that she is, Mr. F. may not have had his voice heard as a part of his care team.

Dawn is an amazi


ng nurse and a true asset to our unit. However, that day, for that patient, Dawn made a huge difference and got a great outcome for her patient.”

Each month, MUSC nurses are honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. It is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program recognizing the efforts that nurses contribute daily in their jobs.

The award is given to outstanding nurses in more than 1,800 health care providers in the U.S. and 14 other countries. Nominations can be submitted by anyone — patients, visitors, physicians fellow nurses and all MUSC staff and volunteers. To nominate a nurse, visit

January 6, 2015



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