O'Rourke Receives Daisy Award for Exceptional Patient Care

May 2, 2024

Contact: Tim Kershner, Timothy.Kershner@MaineHealth.org / 603-356-5461 ext. 2198
or Carrie Burkett, carrie.burkett@mainehealth.org / 603-356-5461 x2264

Katie O’Rourke, RN (Registered Nurse), started her shift on April 10 at Memorial Hospital as she does any day. She learned about her patients from the nightshift and created a mental list of  the sort of care her patients would need that day. 

What she did not realize was that a group of her biggest fans were gathering in an empty room nearby to surprise her with a Daisy Award, a special recognition for exceptional nurses at MaineHealth. Her colleagues, family members, and the family of Rich Laracy, a former patient, waited for her behind a curtain. 

Two nurses, smiling and holding hands in a patient room
Shauna Ross, RN, Director of Nursing of Memorial's Medical Surgical Department (left) leads Katie O'Rourke, RN, (right) into a medical surgical room as she is surprised with a Daisy Award. (Memorial Hospital courtesy photo)

Laracy had Parkinson’s Disease. His wife, Kathleen Laracy, was able to care for him at home. He was dependent on her for everything, but it meant a great deal to them both that he was able to live out these years at home. They had their routine, but in early March, Laracy took a turn and began to decline. 

His wife and adult children took him to the emergency room, and the providers found his urinary tract infection had progressed to sepsis. The Laracy family knew that at his age, in his condition, this might be the end. Laracy had an advance directive that specified he did not want any life prolonging treatment. 

Laracy was admitted to Memorial’s Medical Surgical floor where he would spend his last two days surrounded by his family. It was the compassionate care that each care team member at Memorial provided along the way that made this patient and his family’s experience a meaningful and loving farewell.  

After settling into his new room, Laracy continued to decline. With each interaction, the family was moved by the care and attention given not only to their dad, but to themselves. “Every person we encountered was so gracious,” said Mary Hanson, Laracy’s daughter. “Bringing the hospitality cart for anything we needed. Giving us a timeline so we could get our family members abroad on the phone to say goodbye. I felt very connected because we all know so many people who work there. We felt embraced by everyone, the feeling of community came through so strong.”

Hanson explained that, although their nurse, Katie O’Rourke, is not a hospice nurse, she made it a “very beautiful experience. From the get-go, Katie was amazing. She made us feel comfortable and told us what to expect that day.” 

Tom Laracy, one of Laracy’s sons, appreciated O’Rourke’s empathy and compassion. “Katie did everything to see that not only the patient was taken care of, but also the family that he left behind. As busy as I’m sure she was, she never let us feel like we needed to wait for anything. My family will be forever grateful for Katie.”

Tom noticed a poster in his father’s room describing the Daisy Awards to recognize nurses. His siblings continued to remark about the incredible care everyone took to ensure they were okay, particularly O’Rourke. They all thought it fitting to nominate her for this award. 

“Our nurses don’t always get the recognition they deserve, and the Daisy Awards are a great way to do this,” explained Molly Greenwood, Clinical Education Manager. “Every nurse who is nominated by their patients receives a pin. Our nursing leadership team chooses a winner each quarter.”

Group of adults standing together holding a "Daisy Award" banner
(From left) Mike Laracy, Mary Hanson, Kathleen Laracy, Katie O'Rourke, Rich Laracy Jr., Julie Laracy. (Memorial Hospital courtesy photo)

O’Rourke was surprised with the honor of a Daisy Award and presented with a banner and a glass award. “It was an incredibly sweet and memorable surprise to receive The Daisy Award,” said O’Rourke, “But it meant even more to me that the nomination came from the Laracy Family.  That day was a very emotional day for me, as I have been in their shoes several times before with my own family and our personal battle with Parkinson's Disease... It was truly an honor to care for Mr. Laracy and his beautiful family during his last moments.”

“Being authentic and communicating and helping the family to know what to expect-that’s something Katie did really well,” Greenwood said. “It’s what all nurses do honestly, and the Daisy Awards give us an opportunity to recognize that. It’s a special way to honor our nurses.”

Memorial Hospital and other MaineHealth locations encourage patients and their families to share their experiences. Patients can share their feedback by completing a patient survey after their visit. To nominate a nurse for exceptional care, visit memorialhospitalnh.org/daisy and fill out the online form.


About Memorial Hospital

Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Memorial Hospital is also home to The Merriman House nursing home, which provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. For more information, www.memorialhospitalnh.org or call 603-356-5461.