Coming from a family of healthcare professionals, and with a creative mind all her own, it’s no surprise that pediatric nurse Amanda De La Torre is a double DAISY Honoree, receiving The DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses (The DAISY Award) in June 2017 and again in March 2020.
The first time she was nominated, Amanda was working in the Pediatric ICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. One of the pediatric patients she was caring for was diagnosed with a very rare disease. She only lived to be around six or seven months old. Amanda took it upon herself to commemorate the girl’s brief life for her family.
It just made me so sad that she wasn’t going to celebrate all the holidays. She wasn’t going to celebrate her first birthday or anything…In between tasks, I was [taking her] footprints and handprints and decorating them to look like a ballerina tutu, or paint[ing] her footprints to look like Disney princesses. I did one for all the holidays that I knew the family celebrated so that she could be with them at every single holiday for the rest of their lives even though she’s not there physically. — Amanda De La Torre
This kindness and compassion earned Amanda her first DAISY Award nomination. At the time of her second nomination, she was a pediatric nurse taking care of a family that was traveling from Indiana when their son got sick in Orlando, Florida.
They were really impacted by the care that our team gave them. He got better and, in fact, they went home and they even still come back for follow-up services…all the way to Florida because that’s how much they loved the care that we gave them. — Amanda De La Torre
We recently caught up with Amanda to learn more about her DAISY nomination and nursing career.
What does it mean to you to be a DAISY Honoree?
Amanda felt the DAISY Award was a reminder that not only does she make an impact on the lives of her patients and their families, but they impact her life as well.
To be a DAISY Honoree, it’s a powerful reminder, a reminder of what I love to do has made a big impact on my family and the families that I take care of. Because I always say that your child, they’re my patient, but you’re my patient, too. I’m going to take care of all of you. — Amanda De La Torre
She’s honored to be recognized for doing something she loves. The entire experience, she says, is both humbling and leaves her full of gratitude.
Why did you become a pediatric nurse?
With a family full of nurses and healthcare professionals, including two parents who are OR nurses, a physical therapist brother, and a sister who went through nursing school at the same time as Amanda did, it seems Amanda was cut out for this path.
She started school studying piano performance, minoring in chemistry, but felt that the combination wasn’t truly fulfilling. Her sister brought up an interest in nursing school and Amanda decided to attend as well. Her education and early career eventually led her to working in the Pediatric ICU, where she’s found her passion as a pediatric nurse.
The kids, their resilience and their strength is…they’re the bravest human beings I’ve ever met in my life, ever. I’m truly grateful that I went the nursing route. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t in nursing. This is part of me now. — Amanda De La Torre
Amanda hasn’t abandoned her love of music and the arts. Instead, as a painter and piano player, she tries to incorporate creativity into her work.
I can’t sing. I wish I could sing, but I could talk about music with my patients and, of course, we do paintings. I’ve saved all of my patients’ drawings and paintings for me. — Amanda De La Torre
As illustrated by her first DAISY Award nomination, Amanda’s creative spirit has benefited both herself as a pediatric nurse and her pediatric patients.
What is your favorite part of being a pediatric nurse?
The work she does drives Amanda each day, but so does the teamwork and relationships she’s established with her colleagues.
The things that we do in PICU are so hard and you have a bond and your relationship with your colleagues is just like none other. That’s probably my favorite part about what I do, too, other than, of course, taking care of my patients and building relationships. But, honestly, coming to work and being with the people that you consider family is my favorite, too. — Amanda De La Torre
Above all else, Amanda believes a nursing career is not something you can do all by yourself. She emphasizes the importance of lending a helping hand to other students and other nurses.
Help each other, always help each other. I feel in nursing school…the strongest bonds you’ll ever make are with your fellow nursing students. I don’t think you could get through nursing school (and you can’t do nursing) without working as a team, building each other up, helping each other out. — Amanda De La Torre
Teamwork and collaboration are key to making an impact as a nurse, and Amanda is glad to be a part of the field.
What do you wish people knew about the nursing field?
As someone on the frontlines of healthcare, Amanda emphasizes the value of common courtesy and patience, from patients and providers alike.
I just hope people understand that “please” and “thank you” go a super long way for us. That we love what we do. Things take time and things take time for a reason, I think. I think in this day and age, we’re so used to “now” — we want it now, we’re going to get it now. But nursing is a very delicate, dedicated skill. — Amanda De La Torre
Amanda’s answers paint a picture of a nurse who is a compassionate caretaker, well-versed in her field as a pediatric nurse, and grateful for the experiences and recognition bestowed upon her by her patients and their families. It’s no surprise that she is a two-time DAISY Honoree for life. We congratulate Amanda again, and thank her for a wonderful interview.
About The DAISY Award
The DAISY Award is a recognition program run by the non-profit organization The DAISY Foundation™ (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem), which seeks to honor nurses at any stage of their careers, in any role, and in any setting.
This includes student awards, team awards, nurse leader awards, lifetime achievement awards, and even awards honoring those nurses specifically addressing social determinants of health. All of this is done in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died from complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in 1999 but received exceptional nursing care during his illness.
For more on The DAISY Award, please visit The DAISY Foundation’s website. Nominations can be submitted at the healthcare facility or via www.DAISYfoundation.org using Get Well’s best practice rounding tool, Rounds+. To make a nomination for a specific nurse who has provided compassionate care, complete the online nomination form today.
To read more about past DAISY Honorees, view our spotlight on nurse Christina Lane, Recognizing a Compassionate Advocate for Patients.