ASTORIA — Columbia Memorial Hospital has announced nurses Afton Retterer and Tara Hano are the recipients of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

Retterer and Hano are the first Columbia Memorial Hospital Daisy Award honorees.

The nurses were nominated by a patient who was hospitalized with an infection for 12 days.

“My care at CMH has been uniformly terrific,” the patient wrote. “The additional nurturing, empowerment, and yes, spiritual guidance provided by Tara Hano and Afton Retterer changed me. Because of their human contributions, I could now face my ongoing recovery with a deeper sense of hope.”

Retterer has worked at Columbia Memorial since August 2020, and Hano since August 2016.

“This woman (Retterer) exhibits leadership skills that are extraordinary,” the patient continued. “Her can-do attitude was a godsend. She stepped in, took control and relieved me of any burden I felt I carried. On a particularly grueling day fraught with challenges, Tara repeatedly checked on me. It was not just her concern, however, that moved me. Tara empowered me.

“As I asked questions, she clearly and thoroughly answered, all the while maintaining my comfort. I came away empowered and liberated. Because of Tara’s teaching, I now approach my infusions with a level of serenity I previously lacked.”

The DAISY Foundation was created in 1999 after 33-year-old J. Patrick Barnes died from complications from an auto-immune disease. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.

Barnes spent the last eight weeks of his life in hospitals while he was treated for his ITP symptoms. The nursing care he received profoundly impacted his family. Barnes’ family created the foundation and award to honor nurses who provide outstanding care to patients and patient families.

Award recipients receive a DAISY pin, personalized certificate, a stone sculpture made by the Shona people of Zimbabwe titled “The Healer’s Touch,” and cinnamon rolls — a treat Barnes enjoyed while hospitalized. “The Healer’s Touch” represents the bond between nurses and their patients.

Retterer and Hano will be highlighted on the DAISY Foundation website and will be eligible to apply for several scholarships.

Columbia Memorial will recognize another DAISY honoree before the end of the year.

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