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Caring in the Face of a Pandemic

Lourdes Cody and Dr. Delene Volkert, assistant professors in the Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) at UWG, were recently awarded the prestigious DAISY Award. Each was nominated by students who wanted to recognize the exemplary caring and compassion Cody and Volkert have shown.

For years, nurses have been the unsung heroes in hospitals. But COVID-19 has opened the eyes of the public to see what nursing truly is.

These are the words of Lourdes Cody, assistant professor in the Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) at the University of West Georgia and one of this year’s recipients of the DAISY Award.

Cody and Dr. Delene Volkert, assistant professor in THSSON, were awarded the prestigious DAISY Award recently. Each was nominated by students who wanted to recognize the exemplary caring and compassion Cody and Volkert have shown.

The award is presented by the DAISY Foundation to recognize nurses who are not only dedicated to their students but who also exemplify compassionate care – one of the cornerstones of THSSON’s mission statement.

In the face of the pandemic, hospitals cannot allow visitors for their patients, creating an additional bedside role that nurses must step into many times.

“Hospitalized patients are often frightened and unsure,” Volkert said. “This fear and uncertainty has increased exponentially during the pandemic.”

Typically, a patient’s family will fill the role of comfort-giver and advocate for their family member. But since hospitals can’t allow visitors, these additional roles fall on the nurses. 

“This is yet another reason why showing true humanity and caring for our patients is crucial,” Volkert added. “As the DAISY Award is an explicit recognition of showing caring, I am deeply touched I was selected.”

Cody once reached out to a student who was having a hard time controlling emotions during their clinical time together. She assisted the student in gaining composure and confidence, therefore allowing the student to complete the assignment and provide compassionate care to the patient.

“Sooner or later, all nurses will deal with death and dying,” Cody explained. “We all push through our personal feelings to get the job done – and none of us receive an award for this part of our job.”

When reading her nomination, Cody was moved by seeing what she did from the student’s perspective. 

“What I saw as part of my job, she saw as a gift,” Cody said. “Nurses provide comfort, love and medical care regardless of how they are feeling.”

Volkert has not worked bedside in a number of years but still loves to see all the great things her former students are doing. While not providing direct care, she feels like she’s had the opportunity to touch lives through the wonderful students with whom she’s worked.

“They have really stepped in and filled their roles with grace,” she added. 

Now, more than ever, Cody is proud to be part of the team that is shaping the future of healthcare – and commends the students who still want to be nurses. 

“The work that the administrators and staff do to support the THSSON faculty is paramount,” she concluded. “It does take a village to help mold and teach each young nurse. All of our nursing faculty are deserving of their own awards. I am proud to be on a team of many.”

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Sheryl Marlar
Sheryl Marlar has been a member of University Communications and Marketing since 1998, when she joined the team as an office manager. In 2013, she moved into the position of communications specialist, where she managed the university social media accounts in addition to covering various campus events and writing feature stories for our website. In 2017 her focus as a writer changed to cover UWG's Tanner Health System School of Nursing and the College of Social Sciences. In addition, she continues to cover various events on campus and serves as a back-up for the social media strategist.