Evenson Receives DAISY Faculty Award for Excellence in Nursing Education

Connie Evenson, 2017 Augustana DAISY Faculty Award Recipient

Connie Evenson, assistant professor of nursing, leads a class inside the Froiland Science Complex. 

Connie Evenson, an assistant professor of nursing, is the inaugural recipient of the Augustana DAISY Faculty Award, an honor recognizing nursing faculty who provide exceptional instruction and inspiration for nursing students. 

The award was presented on Thursday, Dec. 7. Going forward, the nursing department will present one DAISY award each year, considering the following criteria: 

  • Excitement and enthusiasm for teaching, learning and nursing that inspires and motivates others to reach their full potential. 
  • A dedication and love for the art and science of professional nursing education. 
  • A commitment to excellence in nursing education, which extends beyond the classroom to improve patient outcomes. 
  • The embodiment of qualities and characteristics of a professional nurse.

In nominating Evenson for the award, nursing students and colleagues detailed the impact she has made in the lives of students, patients and families. 

“On Connie's first day in the classroom I knew she was a brilliant addition to our nursing family. Not only did she bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, Connie also brought passion and enthusiasm into the classroom. This made it incredibly easy to want to go to lecture, and easy to learn," one nominator wrote. "I will always appreciate how approachable, patient, kind and resourceful Connie was. I felt like I could go to her with questions about nursing and beyond. She makes everyone feel at ease and welcomes them in without hesitation. Connie helped prepare me to be the best nurse I could be, and for that I will be forever grateful.” 

Another student nominator called Evenson the definition of the "Augie Advantage."

“I am so grateful you came to Augie to share your knowledge and passion for nursing. I can assure you that I, as well as the rest of the nursing students who have had you as a professor, are better nurses because of you."

— Student Nominator
About Assistant Professor of Nursing Connie Evenson

An experienced nurse educator and clinician, Evenson earned her master's degree in nursing from the University of Missouri and is a certified nurse educator (CNE). Her clinical work experience includes critical care, pulmonary and pediatrics. She teaches courses on health assessment, pharmacotherapeutics and adult health. Prior to joining Augustana, Evenson served on the nursing faculty at the University of South Dakota where she worked for 19 years and received USD Nursing's Excellence in Teaching Award. 

About the DAISY Award

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

His father, Mark Barnes, said the experience allowed his family to see the best of nursing.

"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."

About the DAISY Faculty Award 

Over the years of running the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the DAISY Foundation came to learn that despite the many pressures on nursing faculty, they have a profound impact on the future practice of their students.

Many students talk about hearing a professor's or instructor's voice in the back of their heads even years after they have graduated. These dedicated nursing faculty members often do not receive appropriate recognition for the effect they have on their students, on patient care and on the professionalism of nursing.

The Faculty Award was created to recognize and celebrate the contributions faculty make to the future of nursing.