Freeman Presents The DAISY Award to Extraordinary Nurse

Christopher Lee Recognized for Efforts in CVOR

(Joplin, MO) – Cardiovascular operating room (CVOR) nurses are an integral part of the team at the Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute. The CVOR team provides care for about one thousand patients each year. Christopher Lee, RN, is one of those nurses at Freeman Health System. On March 1, he was recognized with The DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses for going above and beyond, as well as for having a very caring attitude.

“Chris received multiple nominations for this award, and each spoke to his commitment to patients and teammates,” said Jeanee’ Kennedy, Freeman Chief Nursing Officer. “As a nurse in our cardiovascular operating room, Chris works hard, long hours caring for some of our most fragile patients. Chris is very deserving of this recognition, and Freeman is fortunate to have him on our CVOR team!”

Dr. Ray Vetsch, Freeman Cardiothoracic Surgeon has worked closely with Lee and said he demonstrates great leadership.

“Chris has immensely enhanced our team through the pandemic,” said Dr. Vetsch. “Chris is a selfless, hardworking team member who, as young as he is, has a clear situational awareness and the people skills to lead the patient flow in our operating room with clear attention to all details.”

Lee was nominated by his peers and was humble in his reaction to the honor.

“I appreciate everybody, and I think we have a good team altogether,” said Lee. “I just try to stay calm and treat everybody like I would want my family to be treated.”

The DAISY Award was created in 1999 in memory of J. Patrick Barnes by his family to say, “thank you”, to nurses who gave him skillful and compassionate care during his eight-week hospitalization.

“The DAISY Award program was developed with nurses, patients and families in mind,” said Kennedy. “This award program was developed by one grateful family as a way to recognize the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.”

Nurses are nominated by anyone connected to the organization — patients, family members, other nurses, physicians, other clinicians and staff — anyone who experiences or observes extraordinary compassionate care being provided by a nurse.

“This structure allows the program to go beyond a patient recognition program and become something that celebrates nurses for their exceptional care and their exceptional teamwork,” said Kennedy. “There is nothing quite like gathering nurses around to celebrate this award. Nominees and winners alike are always grateful for the kind words included in the nomination.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Chris,” said Freeman Chief Medical Officer and surgeon Dr. David Baker. Dr. Baker told Lee at the ceremony, “You are an excellent nurse. I know you are a huge patient advocate. The staff trusts you — depends on you — and you always come through. We appreciate you.”

Freeman Health System is among more than 5,000 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing committed to honoring nurses with The DAISY Award. Freeman has created a new wall to display recognitions of DAISY Award winners.

“Coming off of the last two years, it has never been more important to recognize and celebrate the exceptional work nurses do day in and day out,” said Kennedy. “We are proud to be part of the DAISY program and look forward to continuing to recognize our nurses in a big way!”

Each honoree receives a certificate that says, “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” They also receive The DAISY Award pin and a serpentine stone sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch,” hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The DAISY Award winner is also featured on a Spotlight page on The DAISY Foundation™ website, featuring a photo and telling the story of why the nurse was honored.

Nomination forms and drop boxes are located throughout all Freeman hospitals. A convenient QR code can be used to nominate a nurse, or nominations can be submitted online at

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Marketing & Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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