Pulaski, VA, July, 2015 – LewisGale Hospital Pulaski is pleased to announce that Melissa Sheppard, R.N., was selected as the first quarter winner of the 2015 DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The award recognizes nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patients’ families.

From an early age Melissa knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare.

“I grew up on a family owned and operated dairy doctoring all the animals,” she said. “It was my passion and it continues to be my passion.”

By the age of 16 Melissa had become a certified Nursing Assistant. She would go on to become a Registered Nurse and an EMT. She was so passionate about helping those in need that she joined two local rescue squads. This experience lead her to pursue a career in emergency nursing. She currently serves as the Clinical Coordinator in the Emergency Department.

“Melissa’s compassion for patients is evident every day,” said Linda Shepherd, Chief Nursing Officer. “For her it’s more than just a job, it’s a calling to serve. She is a shining example of the caliber of nurses you will find at our hospital.”

One ER patient was so touched by the care she received from Melissa that she nominated her for the DAISY Award.

“I had a lump in breast and I came to the ER to get it checked,” wrote the patient on the nomination form. “She made me feel comfortable and showed me how to do a monthly breast exam on myself. This was very helpful since breast cancer runs in my family. She was very kind and always smiled. When I see someone smile it makes me smile.”

At 26 years old, Melissa has a long career ahead of her and she is excited about the future and pursuing her Bachelor’s degree this year.

“My mother once told me, ‘If you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life’ and she was right,” said Melissa.

Each quarter, LewisGale Regional Health System picks, from among the numerous nominations it receives, a new nurse at each of its four hospitals to recognize with the award.

The Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses was established by the Daisy Foundation, a not-for-profit, based in Glen Ellen, California. The foundation was started by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at the age of 33 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Patrick and his family received from nurses inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patients’ families. Today, there are more than 1,400 healthcare facilities around the country honoring their nurses with the DAISY Award.