To find a physician or for questions   903-596-DOCS

UT Health Jacksonville nurses receive DAISY Award for extraordinary care

Tyler, TX (June 21, 2018) Three UT Health Jacksonville nurses received DAISY Awards recently for extraordinary care. 

Debra Dunham, RN, with the medical/surgical unit was nominated by a patient after helping her get medications. The patient said, “I had been without my pharmacy insurance for almost a year. Debra went online and started checking on some help for me. She found numbers and printed out forms, which gave me the information I needed. Debra then found a list of companies that would help me. She didn’t have to do all of this research, but she did. Debra went above and beyond and showed me so much compassion and caring that night.” Dunham has been with the hospital system for six years.

Julie Strouse, RN, with the emergency department was nominated by a patient’s family. The family member said, “My Papaw came into the ER having chest pain, which later we found out he was having a heart attack. Julie took great care of him while being in the ER. My Papaw can’t see or hear that well so Julie wrote him a note. “You have a beautiful family.” My Papaw really liked Julie alot and he put that note in his pocket. Julie connected with him so well. Julie is caring and compassionate. Wish there were more nurses like her.” Strouse has been with the hospital for five years.


Mandy Pugh, RN, with the family birthplace, was nominated by a patient. “I cannot say enough good things about Mandy,” the patient stated. “I came into the hospital to be induced for labor. I wanted to try to deliver my baby without an epidural. Mandy was very supportive of my choice. I was in a lot of pain and only 5 centimeters dilated and rethinking the no epidural plan. Mandy sat on my bed and encouraged me. Mandy told me we could do whatever I wanted. Not too long after all of Mandy’s encouragement, I felt a lot of pressure and pain and the baby was ready to be born. I delivered my son without an epidural, as I had wanted to do. Mandy was calm and did an awesome job. My baby’s shoulders were stuck and Mandy was skilled enough to handle that scary situation, and my baby was delivered safely. Mandy is so awesome. Mandy helped me to have the birth I had planned on. My husband and I love her, and can’t thank Mandy enough for making my delivery experience so special. Later, Mandy also let my two daughters give their new baby brother a bath. That was special for them and allowed them to be a part of their baby brother’s birth. Mandy is the best nurse!” Pugh has been with the hospital for nine years.


The DAISY Award was created in 1999 by a family in the U.S. after experiencing kindness and compassion from nurses with their loved one, who was terminal and in the hospital. DAISY stands for disease attacking the immune system. Today, this program has been implemented in more than 1,900 healthcare facilities. Nurses are nominated by anyone who sees an extraordinary nurse and awarded by a hospital nursing committee that decides if they meet the criteria. The recipient receives a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a unique, hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, entitled, “A Healer’s Touch.”

About UT Health East Texas

Formed in 2018 through the combination of East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (ETMC) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UT Health Northeast), UT Health East Texas provides care to thousands of patients each year through an extensive regional network that includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 physician clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional rehabilitation facilities, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 45 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including a Level 1.

As a partner with The University of Texas System, UT Health East Texas is uniquely positioned to provide patients with access to leading-edge research and clinical therapies while training and educating the next generation of physicians and other health professionals. The nationally recognized UT System also includes UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, as well as three other major university medical centers located throughout the state. For more information visit