In addition to being a registered nurse, Barb Ernsberger can now add another title after her name.

Wedding planner.

You might remember her story that appeared in The Beam and in the local media in November, when Barb helped coordinate what is believed to have been Memorial Hospital’s first ER wedding.

Barb is among the FIVE extraordinary nurses who are recent recipients of the DAISY Award at Beacon Health System.

The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses everyday. Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians and associates may nominate a nurse for the award. Both Memorial Hospital and Elkhart General Hospital recognize nurses with the honor every quarter.

Here are the latest award winners:

Barb Ernsberger, Memorial Hospitaldaisy-award-winner_barbe_er

Barb Ernsberger, who works in the Emergency Care Center, was taking care of a patient in her 60s that had been having knee problems. The patient was supposed to marry her fiancé that day, but due to being in the hospital, they were unable to do so.

The fiancé asked Barb if there was any way they could get married in the hospital.

Barb arranged for the chaplain to come up and marry the couple. Barb proceeded to look around the unit for some form of a flower. She asked the manager, Chris, if she knew where a flower might be and Chris proceeded to go down to the gift shop and purchase a vase of flowers.

Other staff members heard of the planned wedding and purchased some baked goods from the bake sale the ECC was holding so that the couple had a “cake.” Barb joined the Chaplain at the patient’s bedside and witnessed them getting married, while continuing to provide care to the rest of her patients.

daisy-award-winner_pam-m_icu_Pam McCall, Memorial Hospital 

Pam McCall was the nurse caring for my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law had a massive stroke and was taken off the vent.

Pam was so very gentle, kind and compassionate with her three siblings, husband and in-laws.

Above all, Pam listened so sincerely to the family when they shared about their mom’s recent death and now their sister. Pam never looked impatient or hurried. Her bedside manner was very genuine and caring. Thank you, Pam!



Heather Ezzell, Elkhart General Hospitalheather-ezzell 

Heather Ezzell is always comforting and demonstrating extraordinary expertise and kindness.

She has brought stuffed animals in for patients and most recently brought in clothing for a patient who had no means to buy clothing and who needed some.

She also cut a long-term patient’s hair and he and his family were blown away (by her generosity).

Heather listens and is passionate about her work and her patients, their loved ones and staff. She cries with them, sits with them and makes them feel special.

Samatha Knaack, Elkhart General Hospital 

I was a patient this past summer when I had our baby girl, who is beautiful and healthy. Our hospital stay was fantastic, but my labor and delivery did not go at all how I envisioned it. My labor was induced and lasted approximately 26 hours.

samantha-obThen entered Samantha Knaack as my nurse, at the 20-hour mark of labor with terrible contractions and not dilating any further. I was in a lot of pain and was frustrated.

She came into my room Friday night from 3 to 7 p.m. and as soon as she walked in the door I wanted to get my epidural. She quickly got the ball rolling and worked calmly to set up and collaborate with the anesthesiologist to accomplish this.

She comforted me and helped explain. Soon after receiving the epidural, my contractions slowed down but the baby’s heart rate was also decelerating with contractions. The physician and Samantha came into my room to tell me that it was time for a C-section. I cried my eyes out. She was so sweet and gave me the emotional support that I needed.

Then she and the other nurses quickly got me ready for the OR. She remained with me until my baby was born at 7:14 p.m. Keep in mind that her four-hour shift was supposed end by 7 p.m. I am also aware she had absolutely no time to get any sort of charting done. But she never appeared to be stressed, complained or tried to leave early.

This extra little four-hour shift of hers ended up to be an extremely busy, action-packed afternoon and I am not sure when she was able to go home. But I wanted her to know my husband and I appreciated her and how she took care of all of us! Throughout this afternoon, she was calm, kind and comforting, all the while exhibiting her clinical expertise in the situation.

I felt that she was a genuine and true person that really enjoys her job as a nurse. She really exemplifies what it means to be a nurse and really deserves to receive this Daisy Award.

Jonna Whiteman, Elkhart General Hospital

img_2442Jonna Whiteman was called in to care for a very critical, very sad patient situation. There were many family members with many, many questions in addition to caring for the very critical patient.

As Jonna always does, she cared about the patient seamlessly, but ever more impressive is how she cared for the family. She patiently answered all of their questions and barely left the patients room all night. She is amazing!


For more information about the Daisy Awards, click here. An electronic version of the Daisy Award nomination form is available here. If you have any questions about the award, please call 574.647.7186.