Want to thank your nurse?

Did you have excellent care from a nurse at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center? The DAISY Award recognizes nurses whose clinical skill and compassionate care exemplify the kind of nurse that our patients, residents, their families, and our staff consider as outstanding. DAISY Award recipients go beyond the norm to demonstrate:

Empathy • Positivity • Selflessness
Kindness • Extraordinary Care • Humility

The award is presented in collaboration with The American Organization of Nurse Executives and is part of the DAISY Foundation's program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day.

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Thank you for taking the time to nominate your nurse for The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses

Since 1999, The DAISY Foundation has been honoring nurses who provide above-and-beyond compassionate care to patients and families. DAISY has learned how important your nomination will be to your nurse. Expressions of gratitude from patients and families go a long way in helping nurses cope with their high-stress work and help keep burnout at bay. Given the shortage of nurses in the United States, it is important that we retain as many nurses as possible, and meaningful statements of gratitude like yours make a difference.

In your nomination form, please write as much detail as you can not only about what your nurse did that made a difference in your experience but also explain how your nurse’s care made you feel. If there is more than one nurse you would like to nominate, please list them on the form with their names separated by commas. DAISY also has a Team Award that honors nurse-led teams.

Nominate a Nurse

About The DAISY Foundation

In late 1999, at the age of 33, Patrick Barnes awoke with some blood blisters in his mouth. Having survived Hodgkin’s Disease twice, he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura). Pat and his wife, Tena, had just had their first child two months before he became sick.  

Said his father, Mark Barnes, "We are so blessed that we were able to spend the eight weeks of his hospitalization with him and his family. During those weeks, we experienced the best of Nursing. We were there to see the clinical skill that dealt with his very complex medical situation, the fast thinking of nurses who saved his life more than once, and that nursing excellence that took years to hone to the best of the profession. But frankly, as a patient family, we rather expected that Pat would have great clinical care. That was why he was in the hospital. What we did not expect was the way his nurses delivered that care - the kindness and compassion they gave Pat and all of us in his family every day. We were awed by the way the nurses touched him and spoke with him, even when he was on a ventilator and totally sedated. The way they informed and educated us eased our minds. They truly helped us through the darkest hours of our lives, with soft voices of hope and strong loving hugs that to this day, we still feel.

"Just days after he died, we began talking about what we would do to help fill the giant hole in our hearts that Pat’s passing had left. Tena came up with the acronym, DAISY, standing for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, and we filed our papers to become a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. As we discussed what to do in Patrick’s memory, we knew that first and foremost, we needed to say thank you for the gifts nurses give their patients and families every day, just as we had experienced.

"We created The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses and piloted the program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, whose nurses cared for Patrick during the last weeks of his life. Our goal was to ensure that nurses know how deserving they are of our society's profound respect for the education, training, brainpower, and skill they put into their work, and especially for the caring with which they deliver their care. At the time we started the program, we could not have anticipated that The DAISY Award would come to be regarded as a strategic tool for nurse recruitment and retention and would be adopted by healthcare facilities all over the U.S. and beyond."

Our participants’ administrators tell us that as a recognition program, The DAISY Award is "inspirational," "a great morale booster," "an excellent tool for nurse retention," "a way to develop role models." They find it so meaningful that many have created their own DAISY Award displays in their lobbies, banners for their nurses' stations, scrapbooks of recipients, feature presentations at their National Nurses Week ceremonies, and permanent plaques. Realistically, we cannot project the effect The DAISY Award can have on the worrisome nursing shortage. However, it is apparent that our effort at expressing personal, heartfelt appreciation to nurses for the important difference they make in all the lives they touch is having a powerful effect.

Today, we are proud to honor Nurses wherever they practice, in whatever role they serve, and throughout their careers- from Nursing Student through lifetime achievement.

DAISY Award Winners


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April 2022: Kelly Hagestuen - Labor & Delivery

This nurse is the definition of a compassionate and caring nurse. She has absolutely set the bar for high expectations. I could have never imagined my labor experience without her.

I came in for labor of fetal demise in 2013 at 18 weeks. She Was there for every second and cried along with us. In fact, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room that day. She prayed with us, laughed with us, and cried with us. She later sent a sympathy letter to my home, making my thoughts of her that much higher. The comfort she provided was very unexpected.

In 2021 I was back again in the OB department for another fetal demise delivery at 16 weeks. When I arrived in the morning, I was greeted by emphatic hugs. Kelly and the entire team of nurses and doctors that day had a clear understanding of all we have been through. I later learned that his was supposed to be Kelly’s day off and when she saw me on the schedule the day prior, she picked up another shift because she knew she wanted to be there for me. 8 years later!!! How amazing is that? I have never met such a caring nurse in all of my experiences, anywhere. She said when my husband and I come back for a healthy delivery, she better not miss it because she wanted to share the joy since she was there for all the pain

She has set a standard of care that I hope all our nurses can meet.

CRMC implemented the DAISY award this year and Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse Kelly Hagestuen was the first recipient. Others nurses nominated for the award this quarter were:  Rachel Aulie, RN; Rita Bare, RN; Laura Berhow, LPN; Shania Bjerkness, RN; Shirley Borg, LPN; Richard Conway, RN; Dawn Hicok, LPN; Laura Hoffard, CMA; Nicole Karelis, RN; Melanie Knosalla, RN; Ben Mooers, LPN; Lisa Mooers, LPN; Darcy Otto, RN; Angela Rieber, RN; Jodi Summers-Riese, LPN; Darcy Rowan, RN; Christine Roy, RN; Nicole Russell, RN; Teresa Shafer, RN; Honi Strange, RN; Kennedee Walczak, RN; and Bonnie Wermter, LPN.


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August 2022: Dena Pribbenow - LPN

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Licensed Practical Nurse Dena Pribbenow of Brainerd was recently honored with the organization’s DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses in recognition of her compassionate care of an elderly woman with a complex medical history.

Colleagues of Pribbenow and the patient’s two daughters gathered in the Internal Medicine Clinic August 1 for a ceremony presenting her with the prestigious award.

Because of the patient’s recent decline in health, she and her family needed extra guidance, attention, and support from professionals. Pribbenow went above and beyond as a professional nurse with her compassionate words and actions. She was not only there for the patient in her most difficult moments but also for family members as they decided what the next best steps were for their mom.

The nominator wrote, “At times my sister and I   would cry to Dena coming to reality with the changing of our mom and the next steps we had to take. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit with us or have a phone conversation as things arose. Dena brought hope and a new perspective to our family when we needed it the most. At one of my mom's last appointments, she was at her worst. My mom was exhausted. We were exhausted. Dr. Bostrom just finished with a draining appointment and in came Dena at the end. It could have been a very awkward  moment,  but Dena took the initiative, and care, to confront my mom. She gave my mom the pep talk that she NEEDED to hear at that moment! Dena spoke with pep, sympathy, and understanding. Dena's impromptu go get em' speech changed my mom's perspective, and because of that,  it has relieved the  unwanted  stress in our family. Our family looks forward to continuing to work with Dena and Dr. Bostrom. They make a fantastic team!”

Pribbenow, who has been a member of CRMC’s staff for 10 years, worked as a Medical Transcriptionist for seven years before becoming a nurse. She earned her nursing degree at Central Lakes College in Staples.

Other nominees for the award included nurses Maridel Anderson, Mark Asmus, Pamela Beebe, Jennifer Breidenbach, Pam Bye, Angie Cobb, Sarah Daniels, Nikki Davidson, Kim Emerson, Dan Flier, Carman Henningson, Kelly Kommer, Dana Larson, Laurie Murphy, Trisha Mykkanen, Ashley Otto, Elizabeth Robinson, Rhonda Swehla, Courtney Thull, Andrea Vogt, and Mitchell Yager.


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October 2022: Jessica Mudgett – Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner

Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner Jessica Mudgett, APRN, of Pillager was honored with the organization’s DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses in recognition of her empathetic and compassionate care of a patient. She was nominated by a couple who have been around many nurses, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals at multiple hospitals and medical facilities over the years and were impressed with Mudgett’s approach which far exceeded their expectations. They said she provided the absolute best care they have ever seen. The nominators wrote, “Jessie advocated far more than our expectations. In fact, how she took the time to explain the entire situation with compassion and empathy is amazing. She was my voice when I felt that I wasn’t being truly heard and not only advocated, but expected I receive the best care possible. Her exemplary service goes far beyond expectations and requirements. Jessie is obviously in the right profession; she is an exemplary example of her profession. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” A member of CRMC’s medical staff since 2018, Mudgett earned a Bachelor’s degree in nursing at The College of St. Scholastica where she also studied toward a Doctorate in Nursing. She also holds an Associate degree in nursing from Central Lakes College and is a graduate of Brainerd High School. Prior to CRMC, she worked as a Tenant Care Coordinator at Lakewood Health System.

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January 2023: Jeenah Stern – Medical/Surgical Unit

Medical/Surgical Unit Registered Nurse Jeenah Stern of Emily was honored with the organization’s DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses in recognition of her empathetic and compassionate care of a patient. She was nominated by a couple who were appreciative of the exemplary personal care and attention she provided. 

“Jeenah was my primary nurse during my emergency hospitalization for a fall resulting in a hip fracture requiring surgery. She immediately made me feel safe and like I would be well cared for. Any concerns I had during my stay, she addressed immediately with her own medical knowledge, or she sought out whomever could address the concern if she did not have the answer. She was always positive, bubbly, and cheerful. Although she was wearing a mask, I would see the kindness and sparkle in her eyes. I knew I was in the care of the best of the best, a real “gem.” On a scale of 1-10, she’d be a 12!,” the patient who nominated her wrote.

The patient’s spouse was also appreciative:  “I felt a bit lost in the middle of this crisis and had to travel to be with my spouse. She made me feel immediately welcome and a part of the team. She attended to my comfort as well as my spouse. She is a lovely, caring, compassionate, and talented young woman, and we have felt so grateful for the help she gave us through this difficult time. She is definitely a role model for both the nursing profession and for humanity.”

A member of CRMC’s medical staff since 2018, Stern earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology at the College of St. Benedict and an Associate’s degree in nursing at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. She is a graduate of Crosby-Ironton High School.


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April 2023: Manja Holter – Medical/Surgical Unit

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Medical/Surgical Unit Registered Nurse Manja Holter of Remer was honored with the organization’s DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses in recognition of her empathetic and compassionate care of a patient. She was nominated by a couple who were appreciative of the exemplary personal care and attention she provided.

“Manja made every attempt possible to make sure that all of my wife’s needs were addressed and was always pushing for the best outcome of her care,” the patient’s spouse wrote. “She gave a very clear and concise explanation to the nurse who came on to take over her shift to make sure the goals for her care would continue as planned in order to recover in a quick and timely manner. She was also very personal with family and patient keeping them at the center of her attention. Thank you, Manja for your understanding with people who are very sick.”

A CRMC medical staff member since 2021, Holter earned her Associate degree in Nursing at Hibbing Community College. She also holds a Diploma in Practical Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Publishing. 



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August 2023: Jenn Mount – Critical Care Coordinator

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Critical Care Coordinator Jenn Mount, RN, of Aitkin, was honored on August 15 with the organization’s DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses in recognition of her outstanding care of a patient. She was nominated by a woman who appreciated the exemplary personal care and attention she provided her 93-year-old mother. 

“The concern, care, attention, guidance, and communication that mom received from Jenn Mount was outstanding. She not only took care of my mother, but she was attentive to our family as well. She was even concerned about the condition of the room, emptying the dirty clothes bin, wiping down the counters, and throwing out papers and used cups, etc., that had accumulated. Jenn was comforting during the time that my mother had her procedure, keeping us informed in a timely manner, which helped our nerves stay calm. She had a great sense of humor while maintaining a very professional and compassionate demeanor. I can leave knowing if there are any further complications, my mother is in great hands with the care you all provide.”

A member of CRMC’s medical staff since 2013, Mount was promoted to her coordinator position in 2018. She has 22 years of experience in healthcare, 17 of those years working as a Registered Nurse in Intensive Care Units and public health. Mount earned her nursing degree at the College St. Scholastica and is working toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.


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December 2023: Rhonda Swehla – Primary Care Clinic Nurse

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Nurse Rhonda Swehla of Deerwood was honored with the organization’s DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses for her outstanding patient care.

The patient who nominated Swehla for the award wrote, “Rhonda has cared for me and my four children since 2009. She always treats us like family and goes above and beyond her job duties. I know and trust that she will get back to me with any questions or concerns I might have in a timely manner. She makes going to the clinic as fun/easy as possible for young kids. I feel that the Daisy Award was made for nurses like her.”

A CRMC staff member for nearly five decades, Swehla has worked in the Crosby Primary Care Clinic since 1975. Co-workers describe her as extremely reliable, conscientious, and thoughtful. 

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