101121 LVMC Daisy Award

Lompoc Valley Medical Center Comprehensive Care Center registered nurse Brenda Damasco holds up her DAISY Award certificate that recognizes extraordinary care.

Comprehensive Care Center registered nurse Brenda Damasco was recently named Lompoc Valley Medical Center's recipient of The DAISY Award, an international award that recognizes the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care provided to patients and families every day.

An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, the DAISY Foundation was formed by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died from an autoimmune disease in 1999 at the age of 33. The award was inspired by the care Barnes received in the final weeks of his life. 

Damasco was nominated by a former Comprehensive Care Center patient recovering from a difficult surgery followed by a complicated healing process, a hospital spokeswoman said, noting that the patient reported Damaso "was kind-hearted, compassionate and attentive."

“The most recent recovery was the most painful and had quite a few setbacks, but you always comforted me with your smile and your caring heart,” the patient wrote in a letter. “You could always get me back to my positive self.”

As her nurse, the patient said Damasco made sure she was comfortable, administered medications on time and checked on her often. 

“I appreciate you more than you could truly understand,” the woman wrote.

Damasco, who shares 3-year-old son RJ with her husband, Enrique, began her health-care career at Lompoc Valley Medical Center's Skilled Nursing Facility as a licensed vocational nurse 15 years ago. She became a registered nurse in 2015 and also worked for 10 years in urgent care at the former Sansum Clinic.

“It’s so selective and prestigious,” Damasco said of the award. “I’m just honored, so honored, to be a part of this.”

As for the patient who nominated her, Damasco said she formed a strong bond with the woman, and the patient will always have a “special place in my heart.”

“When she was having a rough start in the mornings, we’d do a little pep talk and say, ‘Everything’s going to be OK,’ and she was,” Damasco recalled.

Damasco said she was drawn to health care because her grandfather, Sebastian, always wanted to have a nurse in the family because of the prestige.

“I grew up watching the nurses in Mexico with their white dresses and hats and they would come into our community,” she remembered. “They got so much respect and people listened to them. They helped the community so much that I always looked up to them. I was probably 6, and I remember saying, ‘I want to be like that.’ It always guided me.”

Damasco received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a sculpture called "A Healer’s Touch," hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

More information about the award is available at daisyfoundation.org. To nominate a nurse at LVMC, Lompoc Health or the Comprehensive Care Center, see the nomination form at lompocvmc.com, under the Resources tab and Patient Feedback link.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.