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Stratford nurse earns two awards in one month for extraordinary care

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The month of July was a good one for Bridgeport Hospital nurse Nyla Petrahai.

Petrahai, a Stratford resident who works in the intermediate care area, which houses patients requiring a higher level of care short of intensive care, received the hospital’s first DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses July 23. One week later, for the same actions that earned her the first award, she received the monthly Bridgeport Hospital Quality Award for reflecting the hospital’s values of patient-centered care, compassion, accountability and integrity.

Petrahai was cited for comforting an elderly patient who was in great pain from a broken leg, was not eligible for surgery and was at high risk for complications from pain medications. Petrahai persisted in getting a doctor to prescribe comfort measures for the patient, and stayed by the patient’s bedside for almost 12 hours, holding her hand and singing “You Are My Sunshine.” Her co-workers were so impressed, that when they transported the patient off the unit the next day, they, too, sang the song to cheer the patient.

“This is just one of the many examples that make Nyla such an amazing, compassionate, caring professional,” wrote her nominator, Tom Fedora, a nurse in the critical care resource support unit at the hospital. “Her integrity is an example for all of us.”

The national DAISY Award program is sponsored by the not-for-profit DAISY Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, CA. The foundation was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died in 1999 at age 33 of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known autoimmune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Affecting the Immune SYstem.)

Each month, nurses at participating hospitals are selected by their leaders to receive the DAISY Award. Honorees receive a certificate commending them for being an extraordinary nurse. The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” The honoree is also be given a sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch,” hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Africa.

One day while Patrick Barnes was in the hospital, he asked his family to bring him a Cinnabon cinnamon roll plus enough for all the nurses in his unit. With the help of Cinnabon’s parent company, FOCUS Brands, the DAISY Foundation carries on this tradition by serving Cinnabons to all the nurses in the award recipient’s unit in thanks for everything they do for their patients and families.

"When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night,” said Bonnie Barnes, president and co-founder of the DAISY Foundation. “Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do. The kind of work the nurses are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of the DAISY Award.”

The overall goal of the DAISY Foundation is to help fight diseases of the immune system. Additionally, DAISY offers J. Patrick Barnes Grants for nursing research and evidence-based practice projects and provides assistance to ITP support groups. For more information, visit

The DAISY Awards at Bridgeport Hospital are coordinated by emergency department nurse Tabea Wilson, whose efforts helped make the hospital a participant in the program.

Nominations for the award can be submitted through the hospital website,, through the “Recognize a Caregiver” link at the bottom of the home page.

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.

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