Inspiring Stories

Methodist Fremont Health Behavioral Health Nurse Receives The DAISY Award After Showcasing ‘Great Compassion’

Published: May 19, 2022


That’s what Denise Childress-Banks, RN, knew that Gabriella needed when they first met.

The quick-witted nurse moved the patient from down the hallway to a room within sight of the main nurse’s station so she could be closely monitored.

In addition to caring for Gabriella, Childress-Banks paid special attention to needs of the patient’s mother – also named Gabriella.

“She took care of my daughter with great compassion,” Gabriella Cardenas said. “I wasn’t the patient there, but she also had enough time to give to me even though I was just the mother of the patient.”


Providing for Specific Needs

Gabriella, who recently turned 20, started experiencing psychological distress following the death of her father.

Childress-Banks recalled that Gabriella’s mother seemed quite distraught. Her daughter didn’t have a history of mental health issues, but now they found themselves on the Methodist Fremont Health Behavioral Health Unit.

“It was heartbreaking to see her so lost,” the mother said.

According to Childress-Banks, Gabriella Cardenas was an amazing advocate for her daughter. She took initiative and pushed staff members to run various tests to verify that her daughter was indeed facing behavioral challenges.

“One of the things she wanted was a medical test,” Childress-Banks said. “I told her, ‘Yes, I’ll take care of that. I’ll make a note of this. I’m here tomorrow. I’ll talk to the doctor.’ Just making sure that they knew that they had a point of accountability, making sure that the mother knew that I would watch over her daughter like she was family.”

The nurse could also relate to the emotions the mother was experiencing.

“As parents, we all think that if something bad happens to our kids, what could we have done differently?” Childress-Banks said. “Or what part did we play in why this is happening?”

Childress-Banks provided reassurance to both the mother and daughter that Methodist would provide them with the resources they needed.

“It’s very heartwarming to see someone do their job with love. Not for a paycheck, but to help,” Gabriella Cardenas said.

After her experience, the mother said that seeking assistance for behavioral health is “essential.”

She believes that it benefits not only the patient but also those closest to them.


Patient-Centered Focus

Childress-Banks knew she wanted to pursue a career in health care because of the care she received from nurses during her own hospital stay as a teenager.

“They always seemed to be the ones who cared,” she said. “Whether I was in pain, upset or lonely, they were the ones that provided all that care.”

And what particularly stood out was the time that her nurses devoted to sitting with her and engaging in conversation.

Childress-Banks said that the patients are easily the best part of working as a behavioral health nurse at Methodist.

“You get to see them arrive in crisis and leave almost a completely different person,” she said. “And you get to be a part of that. You get to meet them and hear their stories.”

Childress-Banks has worked in Fremont for three years, and she has nothing but good things to say about her colleagues.

“We’re like family,” she said. “It’s truly a close-knit group of people that care about each other, care about the patients. It’s just a wonderful place to work where I have always felt like I belong.”


Recognition for Care

Gabriella’s mother knew that she needed to find a way to recognize Childress-Banks, so she nominated her for The DAISY Award, which honors nurses for their outstanding care.

“She guided me,” Gabriella Cardenas said. “It’s like the light in the darkness. She’s really amazing doing what she loves to do.”

Childress-Banks was shocked to even be nominated for the award.

“To be awarded this is such an honor,” she said. “And to think that I even had that opportunity was amazing. My first thought is that I work with so many amazing nurses that this could have been anybody. Because everybody I work with does a wonderful job.”

Both the mother and daughter were present for the surprise award ceremony.

“It was a really touching and special moment,” Gabriella Cardenas said.

“I felt honored to take care of them,” Childress-Banks said. “I don’t think what I did was above and beyond. I think it was just part of what I do.”

When asked what The Meaning of Care means to her, Childress-Banks noted that it comes down to a commitment of providing personalized care.

“It means we treat our patients and their families like we would want ourselves and our families to be treated,” she said. “And we go the extra mile for them because that’s exactly what we’d want for our families.”

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About the Author

Anthony Robinson, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, joined the marketing team after spending over five years as a college athletics public relations professional. He enjoys being able to use his writing ability to tell compelling stories that embody The Meaning of Care

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