Nurses’ Awards Presented at Cole Memorial

Updated on August 28, 2023

Cole Memorial announced their semi-annual DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses during Cole Memorial’s Nurses’ Week celebration. The Hospital participates in the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the exceptional efforts nurses perform every day.

Nurse Patricia Knowles of Cole Memorial’s Skilled Nursing & Rehab Unit was nominated by her following peers: Certified Nurses’ Aides Lucas Turner and Stacie Lentz.

“Patty goes above and beyond to help her residents in the Skilled Nursing & Rehab Unit,” said Emily Bunnell, chief nurse at Cole Memorial. “It was nice to have co-workers nominate her and to share their positive comments. Congratulations to Patty and all of our award nominees!”

Both nomination forms echoed the same story: Not only does Patty help other employees, but extends her caring and compassion to the residents of Cole as well. Once, she bought a resident her favorite pudding just to put a smile on the resident’s face and to assist with taking her medications.

Pictured from the right: Cole Memorial’s Chief Nurse Emily Bunnell, RN, with DAISY award winner Patricia Knowles, LPN, and nominator Lucas Turner, CNA

Cassandra Fessenden, RN, was also nominated for the DAISY award and recognized for her caring practice. The patient who nominated Fessenden, wrote, “Cassie always took the time to explain everything to me and made sure that I understood my treatment plan.”

Carolyn Ventresca was also recognized during the ceremony and received the Nurse of Distinction award. Ventresca goes above and beyond for the residents on Cole’s Skilled Nursing and Rehab, even taking one resident out to dinner once a month to “cheer her up.”

A nurse is selected semi-annually by Cole Memorial’s Nursing Quality Council to receive The DAISY Award. The honoree receives a certificate commending her or him for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.” The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.”

Cassandra Fessenden, RN, DAISY award nominee with Emily Bunnell

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.  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.  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.

One day while Pat was in the hospital, he asked his family to bring him a Cinnabon® cinnamon roll plus enough for all the nurses in his unit. With the help of Cinnabon’s parent company, FOCUS Brands, The DAISY Foundation carries on this tradition by serving Cinnabons to all the nurses in the Award recipient’s unit in thanks for everything they do for their patients and families.

Said Bonnie Barnes, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation, “When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do.  The kind of work the nurses at Cole Memorial are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

Patients, visitors, employees and providers may nominate a Cole Memorial registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) for the next DAISY Award. Please contact Steva Miller at 814-274-1295 for details. For more information about careers at Cole Memorial, visit

Carolyn Ventresca, Cole Memorial’s Nurse of Distinction award recipient

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