The DAISY Nurse Leader Award


For over 20 years, The DAISY Foundation has been recognizing the compassion and skill direct care Nurses bring to their patients every day.

We are sometimes asked, “Why is there a separate DAISY Award to honor nursing leaders?” Why not just recognize them with the same DAISY Award with which we recognize clinical nurses?”

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses was created in 1999 to honor the compassionate care provided by nurses as they care for patients and family members. DAISY Nurses are recognized for the acts of kindness and the sensitivity they demonstrate every day – the things that make a profound difference in a patient’s experience in healthcare. Nominations are submitted primarily by patients and families, though co-workers often write nominations, too, all describing the impact a nurse has had in her/his day-to-day work.

The DAISY Nurse Leader Award was created for quite a different purpose – to shine a light on those who do not typically have direct patient care as part of their work (COVID aside for many managers) and those who create an environment where compassionate, skillful care thrives. This award recognizes Nurse Managers, Directors, Assistant Managers, Charge Nurses, Chief Nursing Officers, Informatics Nurses, and Patient Flow Nurses.  We have put an even bigger emphasis on the nurse manager role in response to the AONL COVID-19 Longitudinal Nurse Leader Impact Study (see below for more detailed information on this).

Additionally, the demands on leaders are different:

  • They provide a haven of safety for staff, both physically and emotionally
  • They ensure standards of quality patient care are maintained
  • They ensure nurses have access to the technology and equipment they need – and the information
  • They manage human and financial resources across staffing, supplies, and more
  • They drive team development, resiliency, and competency, ensuring their team members are meaningfully recognized for the work they do for patients and families
  • These leaders provide a setting where compassion is valued, and staff, in turn, treat patients and their families with deep humanity

Nominations for The DAISY Nurse Leader Award are typically from their staff who describe the impact leaders have on their ability to provide quality, compassionate care.


As their work is different, so are the criteria for The DAISY Nurse Leader Award different. The selection process - blinded nominations reviewed against established criteria - is the same as with The DAISY Award for direct care nurses. Nurse leaders are recognized for:

  • Creating an environment where attributes of trust, compassion, mutual respect, continued professional development and ethical behavior are modeled and supported
  • Being accessible, available, and responsive to the needs of their team
  • Problem-solving and encouraging critical thinking
  • Advocating for their teams
  • Ensuring that the needs of the teams are communicated to organization leadership and organizational priorities and directions are communicated to their teams
  • Being compassionate leaders

AONL’s longitudinal study on COVID-19’s impact on nurse leaders exposed the tremendous toll the pandemic has taken on nurse leaders, especially nurse managers. Managers have always been the people to facilitate the recognition of their team members. It is time for them to be elevated and celebrated with recognition of their own.

Learn more about our call to action in partnership with AONL, Careismatic, and symplr to raise awareness of the role of the Nurse Manager, their overall emotional well being, and as a starting point, various ways to thank them, including with The DAISY Nurse Leader Award. Beyond Gratitude: A Tribute to Nurse Managers launches February 14th.

Presenting The Award

Nurse Leader Honoree’s Receive:

  • A special DAISY Nurse Leader certificate in a DAISY Foundation portfolio
  • A specially designed DAISY recognition pin
  • A unique Healer’s Touch sculpture, designated for Nurse Leaders

The Honorees and their stories of compassionate leadership will be registered with The DAISY Foundation and shared on the DAISY website for all to see and learn from.

Watch a short video of a DAISY Nurse Leader Award by clicking here.

Please Join Us...

We hope you will add your Nurse Leaders to your DAISY recognition program and honor the extraordinary work they do to support staff in the provision of compassionate and skillful care for patients and their families. Nurse Leaders deserve to know the powerful impact they make in your organization.

To learn more about The DAISY Nurse Leader Award please complete our Request for Information form.

 If you are already a DAISY partner and ready to move forward, you can order DAISY Nurse Leader Award package(s), by completing our order form in the Resource Center. We will be in touch with suggestions on collecting nominations, award presentation ideas and to answer any other questions.

If you need help logging into the Resource Center or placing your order, please contact your Regional Program Director.

Additional Nurse Leader Award Materials

You may collect nominations and celebrate your Nurse Leader Honoree with the below materials. Please note, you will need to be logged into The Resource Center to access these tools.