KCC Graduate Receives The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nursing Students


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KANKAKEE, IL – Kristi Yamaoka, a resident of Sheldon and a recent graduate of Kankakee Community College’s registered nursing program, has been honored with The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nursing Students. The prestigious award is part of The DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize and express gratitude to nurses for their exceptional care and compassion.

Yamaoka, who received nominations on two occasions during her time at KCC, was selected by a committee at the college. The award was presented to her at the Registered Nursing Program pinning ceremony held on May 12. Yamaoka was bestowed with a certificate, a DAISY Award pin, and a unique sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch,” which was hand-carved by artists from the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

One of Yamaoka’s nominations came from her second-semester clinical instructor, Mary Kyrouac, who was approached by an infectious disease physician. The physician had interacted with Yamaoka while she was caring for a patient. 

Kyrouac shared, “Kristi was caring for her patient when (the doctor) entered the room. He was speaking to the patient about their tests and progress. He soon began asking Kristi questions regarding the patient. She correctly answered his questions with confidence, some of which he was surprised she knew. The patient then told the physician how wonderful Kristi was and how attentive she was to their care and needs. It wasn’t until right before he approached me that he learned that she was a first-year nursing student and could not believe it. He thought she was already a nurse working on the floor. Kristi has a great passion for nursing and patient advocacy, and she will be a great nurse!”

Yamaoka’s second nomination came from a patient she had cared for during a later clinical rotation. The patient expressed their gratitude, stating, “She was very helpful to me with my medication after having an angioplasty. Kristi was kind and thoughtful of my concerns with my medications. She was very patient and understanding. She is going to be a phenomenal nurse.”

The DAISY Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, aims to recognize nurses who make a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families. The foundation was created by members of Barnes’ family following his passing from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), an auto-immune disease. The acronym “DAISY” stands for “Diseases Attacking the Immune System.”

Through its evidence-based approach, The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses seeks to honor and thank nurses for their exceptional contributions.

For more information about The DAISY Foundation and its programs, visit DAISYfoundation.org.


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