Labor and delivery nurse Anahi Fontanos was named the July recipient of Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.
The registered nurse was recognized during a surprise ceremony by members of the healthcare district’s leadership team and Daisy Nomination Committee, which includes a wide range of clinical and non-clinical staff.
“Anahi has the heart of a nurse. She loves her patients and it shows. She is so deserving of recognition,” stated the nomination.
On the nomination form, a co-worker called her a “true listener” to her patients.
According to the Lompoc hospital, Ms. Fontanos recently took care of a woman who experienced a fetal loss. She sat with the distraught patient and comforted her.
“The patient was so appreciative of her time and comfort,” the nomination noted.
The prestigious international award is part of The DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care provided to patients and families every day, according to the news release.
Ms. Fontanos’ nomination included the story of how she went “above and beyond” in her job to help a patient who was struggling financially and had only recently moved to the U.S.
The expectant couple had no insurance established yet and were paying for their twice-weekly appointments with cash. After the delivery, Ms. Fontanos spent time learning about the patient and the family’s other children.
“Anahi asked if she could donate supplies, clothes, toys and her own baby swing to this needy couple,” the nomination noted.
Ms. Fontanos met the family at discharge and loaded their car with supplies and toys for all the children.
“The family was overjoyed and very emotional, thanking Anahi for her generosity,” the nomination said.
An eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and mother of three children, Ms. Fontanos earned her bachelor’s in nursing from Arizona State University and received her nursing license in 2016. She began work last November at Lompoc Valley Medical Center.
Ms. Fontanos entered the medical field while serving in the military. She achieved the rank of staff sergeant. Her husband is currently on active duty at Vandenberg Space Force Base.
“It wasn’t until my mom got sick with breast cancer and I saw first-hand what the nurses really were doing for my mom that it made me want to go to school (for nursing),” she said.
Ms. Fontanos recalled the care and the compassion that the nurses showed her mother Liliana Pelayo, who died at the age of 42 after her battle with cancer. She said the care the nurses show her mother is “something I’ll never be able to thank them enough for,”
While working in the military, Ms. Fontanos worked in a labor and delivery unit.
“I just completely fell in love with the bond the mom and baby have, and everything that has to do with it,” explained Ms. Fontanos, who gave birth to her most recent baby a year ago at the Lompoc hospital. “Just seeing the teamwork that everybody had here made me want to apply here and work here.”
She praised her supervisor, co-workers and patients.
“Melinda (DeHoyos) is the most incredible boss. She’s always in the front lines with us,” Ms. Fontanos said. “In any situation, she’s always so supportive. I couldn’t ask for a better team. The environment (is) everything I could possibly ask for. The patients are amazing. The providers are amazing. I have nothing but good things to say.”
The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation was established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes by members of his family and honors nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. Patrick Barnes died in 1999 at the age of 33 from complications caused by ITP, or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, an auto-immune disease.
DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The foundation was inspired by the care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill.
Lompoc Valley Medical Center nominations are reviewed by an internal committee of representatives from nursing, non-nursing and non-clinical departments.
In addition to a certificate, Ms. Fontanos received a DAISY Award pin and a sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.