Inspired by Swedish nurses, parents honor their son’s memory with a global nursing excellence award

The loving care of Swedish nurses helped the Barnes family through a tragic loss. The DAISY Award is their way of recognizing the exceptional care of nurses around the world.  

Patrick Barnes lost his battle with an autoimmune disease in 1999. Over the course of Patrick’s eight-week hospitalization at Swedish’s First Hill campus, his parents, Mark and Bonnie, were continually moved by the exceptional and loving care their son received from his nurses. After Patrick’s death, Mark and Bonnie were determined to find a way to honor those nurses and nurses around the world who every day offer patients and families excellent, loving care.   

Mark and Bonnie Barnes recently discussed the impact of the DAISY Award with Providence Chief Nursing Officer Syl Trepanier, who is seated at far right. The Barneses founded the nursing excellence award to honor their late son, Patrick. In the short video below, they present a DAISY Award to the Swedish Cancer Institute nurses at our Issaquah campus. 

“In our experience in eight weeks in the hospital with Patrick, it was his nurses that made the difference for us. It wasn't that everybody else wasn't great, but the nurses were not only clinically excellent, it was the way they delivered their care, not only were they compassionate and kind and sensitive to Patrick, but how they handled us as a family was incredibly touching,” says Mark.  “And that's what got us through those worst weeks of our lives. And so, when he died, we found ourselves recounting stories of what the nurses had done for us. And we just felt we must find a way to thank them for what they do every day.”

After much soul searching and a stroke of inspiration, Mark and Bonnie founded the DAISY Awards, a global recognition program honoring the extraordinary work of nurses. Awardees are chosen through a meticulous process involving nominations from patients, families, and colleagues who have witnessed remarkable acts of empathy and kindness in patient care. Today, the DAISY Award has been adopted by more than 6,500 health-care facilities and nursing schools internationally. 

“We thought if we could say thank you to nurses in five hospitals around the country, we'd feel better after losing Patrick, and we could go back to doing what we were doing before he got sick,” says Bonnie. “But obviously that's not what happened because we started seeing the impact that the Daisy Award was having, and it was addictive. We kept going.”

In May, for Nurses Week 2024, the Barneses visited a number of Providence Swedish hospitals to personally deliver awards to DAISY winners. They also met with Swedish nursing leadership and DAISY Award nominees. The Barneses are proud of their connection to Providence Swedish.

“Patrick was born at Swedish hospital and prior to that I was born at Swedish," adds Mark. "My mom went to nursing school and she was at Providence, so we have a very big connection as a family." 

Learn more or nominate a nurse at the DAISY Foundation website

About Providence Swedish 

Providence Swedish has served the Puget Sound region since the first Providence hospital opened in Seattle in 1877 and the first Swedish hospital opened in 1910. The two organizations affiliated in 2012 and today comprise the largest health care delivery system in Western Washington, with 22,000 caregivers, eight hospitals and 244 clinics. A not-for-profit family of organizations, Providence Swedish provides more than $406 million in community benefit in the Puget Sound Region each year. The health system offers a comprehensive range of services and specialty and subspecialty care in several clinical areas, including cancer, cardiovascular health, neurosciences, orthopedics, digestive health and women’s and children’s care.  

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