Trusted's First DAISY Award Recipient - Emma Knoke, RN, BSN
The DAISY Award is a prestigious award celebrating a select number of the most passionate and caring nurses around the world. It was originally created in 1999 by The DAISY Foundation to commemorate J. Patrick Barnes, who was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, ITP.
At Trusted, we believe in celebrating the awesome nurses we have working with us, so it was a no-brainer to partner up with DAISY to present such a highly respected award.
Trusted DAISY recipients are those nurses that are modern, driven, passionate, innovative, and conscientious. Specifically, they have (1) demonstrated exemplary knowledge and insight on nursing procedures and patient care, (2) built authentic relationships with patients and patients' families, (3) demonstrated a passion for being a nurse and taking care of their patients, (4) and acted as a leader and role model to other nurses.
With that said, we were honored to recently have had the opportunity to present our very first DAISY Award to Emma Knoke, RN, BSN; Med-Surg! (Who we are going to learn a bit more about below!)
Emma was nominated by a grateful patient who had this to say:
"Emma has kept my spirits up and kept my wishes in mind when I am not able to speak. I have PTSD so feeling safe is hard to feel. Emma made sure I was aware of sounds that are around me and made sure that she stayed with me when I was having a PTSD attack. She also made me laugh which is how I deal with pain. She is aware of how I feel and when a doctor came in she wanted to be in the room so if I did not understand she could translate for me. Emma is an amazing nurse who makes you feel not alone. Her compassion is definitely to be a nurse. Without Emma I would not have been able to be left and my fiancé would have to have missed work. She is an amazing nurse. She was fighting for me and telling me it was okay to speak. With Emma, for once, I was not trapped in my PTSD nightmare. She really is a miracle to the staff.”
So, without further ado, let’s learn a bit more about Emma!
Our First DAISY Award Recipient, Emma Knoke
1. How long have you been a nurse? What unit/experience?
I’ve had my BSN since 2018! I fell in love with the unit I did my preceptorship on and started working there right after I graduated. I worked on a surgical floor and got the experience of treating a really diverse patient population. It was different every day I walked into work, but we had a lot of post-op patients from GI, GU, bariatrics, and vascular. I transitioned to travel nursing in the fall of 2019, and I have been working for Trusted on an ortho/trauma floor in a Level 1 trauma center since October.
2. Did you always want to be a nurse, or did you just happen upon it?
I can honestly say I always wanted to be a nurse. It was always my plan going into undergrad, but life threw a few curve balls! I did a yoga teacher training to get my RYT-200 in 2016, and it was a super reflective time for me. I kind of had this "oh $*&#" wake up call moment. I knew I would always love yoga, but nursing was my passion. I literally applied for pre-reqs within the next week! I know it sounds corny, but it seriously seemed meant to be. I can't imagine myself doing anything else.
3. Why travel nursing?
My boyfriend is a 4th year medical student, so this March on Match Day we find out where we will spend the next 3+ years of our lives! When I wanted a change from my floor job last fall, I knew it would be difficult to find somewhere to hire and orient me if I was most likely moving in a few months. I wasn't willing to make the full jump to travel nursing yet, so I actually was lucky enough to get a local contract! It is a little different because I don't get the normal weekly living stipend, but my hourly rate is higher to make up for it.
I absolutely LOVE the floor I’m on and just recently extended my contract! After March, I’m planning on going all in and traveling (as a new resident, I'm sure my boyfriend won't even notice I'm gone). Trusted is not only giving me the flexibility to tackle a cross country move but also the opportunity to go to new places, experience new hospital systems, new groups of people, and different patient populations.
4. Can you share your favorite work story?
This is a hard one!! I feel like I am lucky enough to have some incredible and inspiring patients, and they for sure make the list. I’ve had some good saves and feel like I have tackled and managed some very difficult wound vacs (I LOVE wound care). But honestly, it’s the code-brown emergencies and disaster stories with my coworkers that stick out most in my head. I love the team that I work with. There is no way to do this job alone- we all have rough shifts from time to time, and having the support of amazing co-workers makes all the difference.
5. What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Whenever someone asks this question I somehow forget everything that I do for fun, haha. I love spending time with my dogs! I have two Border Collie something-something mixes: Dakota and Zo! They definitely keep me busy, and I love being a dog momma. I grew up in a small town, so I have a lot of fun exploring St. Louis and being in the city. There are so many cool places to check out and SUCH good food. I also live close to a lot of friends and family. I love being outdoors and doing yoga as well as skiing when I’m near the mountains. Otherwise, I like wine, Netflix, and Hulu... and spend more time doing that than I care to admit!
6. Do you have any advice for new travelers?
Take care of yourself!! Nursing is stressful, new jobs are stressful, orientation is stressful- just remember to give yourself a break. Other than that, it’s like starting any other nursing job; be helpful and kind to your care team, be there for them, and they will be there for you!
7. What keeps you motivated or maintains your passion?
It’s not every patient, it’s not every shift, but every once in a while you see your care genuinely make a major difference in someone’s life. When you go the extra mile and you advocate for your patient and you catch something someone missed. Or you spend the time talking to a more aloof patient and develop a connection with them that enables you to completely change and enhance their care.
Being a frontline healthcare worker is HARD. But we have eyes on these patients all day every day, and we notice when something’s not right- physically and emotionally. There is nothing like a tearful hug from a patient’s mother, a smile from a grumpy old man when he finds out you’re his nurse again, or seeing a previously noncompliant patient finish their course of antibiotics. We get to take care of actual human beings, and while that can be incredibly difficult, I ultimately feel like there is no greater gift.
8. What does the DAISY Award mean to you?
Receiving the DAISY Award feels like the culmination of every good thing I’ve ever done as a nurse. There really are no words. I remember the patient who nominated me. I feel like I was just doing what any nurse would have done; when she needed me I made sure I was there. I just feel so immensely grateful. Grateful for my patients, grateful for my coworkers. I am so, so blessed to work for an amazing company like Trusted who takes the time to recognize their employees. I love what I do, and I love who I do it for. My heart is so full.
9. What does 2020: the Year of the Nurse mean to you?
I think if my girl Florence could see where nursing was today, she would be proud of how far the profession has come, but she would say DO BETTER. Healthcare has changed dramatically in the past 100 years. While we have made milestones in patient care and cleanliness, I feel like we have a lot of work to do with it comes to social reforms. We need to improve access to care for low-income families. To the LGBTQ+ community. To POC. To women. Healthcare is a broken system, and the people who need access to safe and affordable healthcare the most are the ones who get left behind and fall through the cracks.
In addition, the epidemic of nurse “burnout” really gets to me. Like Dr. Zubin Damania so eloquently stated, “Burnout is a kind of victim shaming. It’s saying you’re not resourceful enough, you’re not resilient enough, you’re not strong enough to adapt to a system, so maybe you should meditate.” It is not burnout; it is moral injury. I strongly suggest watching this video.
Finally, workplace violence is an absolute epidemic. I personally have been hit, punched, spit at, grabbed inappropriately, had body fluids and trays flung at me. Hearing that, most nurses don’t even bat an eye. Because it has happened to almost every single nurse I know. And it is not okay. One in four nurses are assaulted in the workplace, and to me -- and I am SURE to Florence Nightingale -- this is NOT ACCEPTABLE, and something needs to change. I strongly encourage you to check out the ANA’s campaign to #ENDNURSEABUSE.
10. Anything else you’d like to share with our community of nurses?
You are strong and brave and amazing and powerful, and I am so fortunate to work alongside you all!! <3 <3 <3 <3
A big congratulations to Emma! Again, we couldn't be more proud to have you as our first DAISY recipient.