John J. Pershing VA Medical Center honors Cape Girardeau nurse

John J. Pershing VA Medical Center honors Cape Girardeau nurse
Pictured left to right are Chandra Miller, Associate Director for Patient Care Services, Birk (nurse at our Cape clinic), and Drew DeWitt, Medical Center Director. (Source: JOHN J. PERSHING VA MEDICAL CENTER)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Kelly Birk, a nurse with the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center’s Cape Girardeau clinic, has been honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day.

Birk was nominated by a Veteran patient who said she “not only did her job but went above and beyond” with his care.

The veteran described her knowledgeable and compassionate care in listening to and reviewing his health care concerns and assisting him with various clinical and administrative needs. “Thank you, Kelly and the Cape Clinic,” he concluded.

Birk is a licensed practical nurse from Jackson, Missouri, who has three veteran family members. “I thought coming to work for VA would be a good way to give back to our vets,” she said, adding that she also enjoys working with “great people.”

Birk was caught off guard and moved to tears when her name was announced during the ceremony.

“I had no idea,” she said, admitting that she’s not comfortable with being the center of attention. “But I was grateful and honored that someone would take the time to do that for me,” she added.

The award included a sculpture called The Healer’s Touch.

Hand-carved by artists in Zimbabwe, each piece is signed by one of the many Shona artists that The DAISY Foundation supports.

“Kelly exhibits the highest standards of professionalism and compassion and is very deserving of this award," said Chandra Miller, Associate Director for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center. "We are proud to be among the healthcare organizations participating in The DAISY Award program. Nurses are heroes every day. It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued, and The DAISY Foundation provides a way for us to do that.”

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family.

Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.

The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues by dropping off a completed form in any of the DAISY boxes around the medical center and its outpatient clinics.

The award recipient is chosen by a committee at John J. Pershing VA Medical Center.

Awards are presented throughout the year at celebrations attended by the Honoree’s colleagues, patients, and visitors.

More information is available at

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