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Gabby Sutton Receives a DAISY Award

11/17/2022 9:38:27 AM - Abi Edwards

The College of Nursing at Brigham Young University partners with the DAISY Foundation to recognize nursing professors and students who show extraordinary compassion. After the death of Patrick Barnes at the age of 33 from complications of an autoimmune disease, the Barnes family decided to do something positive to honor him. They established DAISY–an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system–to thank the nurses who cared for him and recognize exceptional nurses worldwide.

This year, the College of Nursing presented the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students to Gabby Sutton!

In her nomination, Professor Dr. Katreena Merrill shared, “Gabby is a second-semester nursing student. She currently works as a medical assistant for Intermountain Healthcare and noticed that people with autism who present at her clinic have difficulties with the environment. She did a literature search and identified several autism-friendly interventions that can be done to help people with autism. She reached out to Boston Children’s, an autism-friendly initiative, and the University of Utah. Gabby spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy on her own time to get things moving in the right direction. She has taken time out of her busy schedule to complete a shadow experience with the autism clinic at the University of Utah. As a result of her efforts, Intermountain has developed a research team to support autism-friendly healthcare, and she has been hired as a research assistant. I have never seen someone so dedicated to an issue.”

Speaking about her dedication to creating positive changes in hospitals, Gabby said, “Throughout my medical career, I have noticed a disturbing trend that many individuals with special needs and sensory sensitivities do not receive the healthcare that they need. In short, our current healthcare system is simply not equipped with the tools to make the healthcare experiences of those with sensory needs a positive and productive experience. I have also seen how small interventions, such as dimming lights and providing sensory items for the visit, can enormously impact patient experiences and health outcomes. Seeing lives change through simple interventions fuels my desire to continue in this work even during difficult times. There is nothing more powerful to me than seeing the beauty that can result from small acts of compassion.”

Gabby continually educates those around her about providing autism-friendly care and creating inclusive environments. She is grateful to receive this award and says it brings her hope. “It signifies a voice for the vulnerable and instills in me a stronger desire to ensure that my life is dedicated to advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. It reminds me of the sacred potential we have in nursing to lift others and touch their lives during their most difficult times. It reminds me that being a nurse is not just about taking vital signs and assessing physical needs; it is about providing holistic care for the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of others. The daisy ward to me is a profound reminder that with patients, every moment matters, and how we react in each of these moments can truly make a difference in the lives of those in our care.”

The College of Nursing is proud to award Gabby Sutton the DAISY Award and is excited to see how her initiatives change hospital settings throughout the state and beyond.


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