JOPLIN, Mo. — Saving lives is no easy job – and now a Joplin hospital is reimagining a program to recognize nurses who do an excellent job of keeping their patients health.

It’s the Daisy Award at Freeman Health System. A monthly spotlight highlighting the crucial work their nurses do.

“I think we all get along and just try to do what’s best for our patients,” said Chris Lee, Daisy Award Winner.

But co-workers say Nurse Chris Lee’s commitment to his patients goes above and beyond. He’s this month’s winner of the Daisy Award.

“Chris has been described as hard working, reliable, independent, and a really smart thinker on his feet. So those are all the things we look for in the Daisy Award winner, is somebody who puts themselves before patients, who is there to support them in a lot of different ways, and is also clinically sound and fulfills the mission of nursing,” said Jeanee Kennedy, Freeman Chief Nursing OFC.

Freeman Health System has used the Daisy Award in the past to highlight excellent nurses. But officials say the pandemic has illustrated the need to make the recognition bigger and better.

“Over the last two years we really saw a need to make a big deal of recognizing our nurses so we reimagined our Daisy Program. designed a new wall, and came up with new ways to really celebrate our amazing nurses through this program,” added Kennedy.

As far as Chris Lee is concerned, he’s just doing the job the way he thinks it should be done.

“You know, I try to treat everyone the way I would want my family or myself treated – if I was in the hospital being treated,” said Lee.

The Daisy Award is a national program first created in 1999 to recognize outstanding nurses. It was later adopted at Freeman, but more recently had taken a lower priority during the coronavirus pandemic.

Freeman is relaunching the award and has dedicated a site in the hospital to honor those winners.

And they are encouraging patients to reach out and nominate their favorite nurses.