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Monday, July 23, 2012

St. Francis Health nurses offer extraordinary compassion in difficult situations

INDIANAPOLIS – Two registered nurses at Franciscan St. Francis Health have been praised by peers for above-and-beyond the call in care giving.

To that end, registered nurses Julie Comer and Janis Dwyer-Curtiss have been named the June 2012 recipients of the hospital’s DAISY Awards.

Comer, who works in the intensive care unit at the Mooresville campus, was nominated by a colleague for the extraordinary end-of-life gift she gave to one of her patients. She was caring for a terminally ill patient whose wife was taken for emergency surgery to another nearby hospital. The patient requested to see his wife.

Sensing urgency, as her patient become sicker and more restless, she coordinated efforts to get the wife released to her husband’s bedside. An “I love you” was exchanged and the patient died minutes later.

“I praise Julie for being such a great, caring nurse and helping give her patient such a great end-of-life gift,” wrote co-worker Melinda Quarles, RN.

Dwyer-Curtiss was nominated by a co-worker as well. Both attended a Nurses’ Week seminar presentation last spring given by motivational speaker Josh Bleill. The nurse took his message close to heart that day, returning to work and providing support to a patient.

During the seminar, she learned that Bleill was an Iraq War combat amputee who now works for the Indianapolis Colts. She received a signed copy of his book, One Step at a Time: A Young Marine's Story of Courage, Hope, and a New Life in the NFL.

After returning to her unit, she was caring for a patient who was facing an amputation. She comforted the patient and their family to help ease their fears and anxiety – and to pass along a message she had learned from Bleill’s book   “… It is the little things that make the difference and how much the nurse meant to me.”

“Janis provided comfort to this patient and his family in their time of need. It was a spiritual occurrence for all,” wrote her co-worker.

The DAISY Award was established by the DAISY Foundation in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at 33 an auto-immune disease. His family was so impressed by the clinical skills, caring and compassion of the nurses who cared for him that they created this national award to say “thank you” to nurses everywhere. For more information, go to

To learn more about nursing careers and programs at Franciscan St. Francis Health, go to