Southwell nurse awarded for ‘pedeatric plushies’ program

Destiny Garmon, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Tift Regional Medical Center...
Destiny Garmon, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC), recently launched a “Pediatric Plushies” program for children.(WALB)
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 12:19 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - A Southwell nurse was awarded for a cuddly initiative she started earlier in 2022.

Destiny Garmon, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC), recently launched a “Pediatric Plushies” program for children admitted to the emergency room at TRMC.

Garmon initially started the program in February of 2022 with $5 stuffed animals that she purchased herself. She said she made a basket, wrote an email to the staff and envisioned it to work like an exchange program.

“We quickly discovered that more pediatric patients came to the ER than we initially thought,” Garmon said. “I decided to hold a Facebook fundraiser for my birthday back in March to support this cause and was able to raise $705.”

After the funds were raised, Garmon was able to buy more stuffed animals at a lower cost, however, they took a while to arrive. Despite that, Garmon said she always made sure that a stuffed animal was available for pediatric patients that came through the ER doors.

“One of the strongest fears in children is fear of the unknown. We, as medical providers, can help to alleviate this fear through medical play, and stuffed animals are a great way to familiarize children with medical devices and procedures,” Garmon said.

In September, Garmon was awarded a DAISY Award for her efforts with the program. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses has been adopted by healthcare facilities around the world to celebrate nurses for their extraordinary care and compassion.

“We appreciate the hard work and effort that Destiny has put into this program,” Interim Director of the Emergency Department at TRMC, Amber Goodman said. “Her co-workers appreciate that it gives them the ability to positively impact their interaction with patients and have since continued to share in the fundraising campaign to ensure this continues. Destiny does many things for the department and is always looking for innovative ways to improve it. This is by far one of her biggest successes and a truly meaningful project that she takes great pride in. Seeing her recognized with a DAISY award for how much time and effort she has put into making sure that our young patients can have some of their anxiety and fears relieved through medical play is amazing.”

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, California, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.

The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

“Nurses like Destiny are the reason the DAISY Award was created,” Chief Nursing Officer for Southwell, Tonia Garrett said. “Destiny is a shining example of a nurse going above and beyond for her patients, and we are so proud to have her as a member of our team.”