Aya team recognizes three DAISY Award winners at Petco Park 

September 20, 2022 | Clinician Stories , Events

As corporate team members at Aya Healthcare, we understand the incredible impact our clinicians make across the country — we live and breathe it every single day. However, it’s not every day an Aya employee’s family member is cared for by not just one, but THREE Aya travelers at different facilities.  

Summer, who has been with Aya for a year and a half and works to ensure the satisfaction of our hospital clients, nominated ICU RNs Seth Sweitzer, Erin McElroy and Cynthia Monroy Cortez for DAISY Awards because of the compassionate, knowledgeable, supportive care they provided her mom, Marie, when she went into the hospital earlier this year. The DAISY Award is an international recognition program awarded to nurses who exemplify excellence in patient care. “It has been a very scary and emotional journey and we’ve been blessed with an amazing medical team attending to her and ensuring she receives the absolute best care,” says Summer. “Over the past three months, several Aya travelers cared for my mom at critical points.”  

In addition to awarding these phenomenal travel nurses with a DAISY Award, the Aya team wanted to reunite them with Marie, Summer and other family members to celebrate. What started as a trip to Petco Park for a baseball game turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Seth, who was selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Padres game that day! He and fellow traveler, Erin, were able to visit the field before the game and snap photos behind home plate. Then, Seth successfully threw the first pitch to signal the official start of the game as fans throughout the stadium cheered him on.  

Following the pitch, Seth, Erin and Cynthia were reunited with their patient, Marie, and other family members they’d met over the course of caring for her. “This is a testament of the quality of nurses Aya hires,” noted Marie’s husband, Gerry. “And to put together an event like this for us, it’s just incredible.” Aya recruiters, members of our travel experience team and a leader from one of the facilities Marie was admitted to also joined in to celebrate this momentous occasion.  

There were many hugs and laughs throughout the afternoon, and the bond between the travelers, Marie and Summer’s entire family was palpable. The family is eternally grateful for the care these nurses provided their mom, and we’re incredibly proud to have these travelers on the Aya team. 

DAISY Award winners with patient

Find out why Summer nominated each of these extraordinary Aya ICU travel nurses for the Daisy Award: 

  • Seth: I met Seth around 6 a.m. after sleeping overnight in the CVICU waiting room. My mom had just been transferred over, as the medical team advised that this facility would have higher levels of care they could extend to her given her condition. It turned out to be a very scary night and perhaps, one of the most critical points in my mom’s journey. We were very close to losing her, and we waited for 9 hours overnight in the CVICU waiting room (after her transport) to just see her. Around 6 a.m. we were told that we could head into her room. We were exhausted, worried and had no idea what to expect when we walked in. We were told we would connect with her nurse, Seth. As we pulled back the curtain, Seth was standing there. He looked at me, his eyes gazed down at my sweatshirt, and he said, “I work for that company, too.” When we realized that we both worked for Aya, for some reason my emotions got the better of me and I started to cry. I immediately felt at ease knowing an extension of my work family was caring for my mom in her most critical times. Seth was by her side from the time she entered the facility around 9 p.m. until that very moment. Some very worrisome events occurred in those 9 hours after her transport, and I doubt Seth knew what was coming his way when he clocked in for his night shift that evening, but I’m so glad he did. He was compassionate, knowledgeable, skilled and made me, my brother and my dad feel very at ease in a stressful time.  


  • Erin: Erin played such a pivotal role in my mom’s journey as she was my mom’s day-shift nurse for a few days after she came off ECMO, the ventilator and the balloon pump. This was a major positive step in my mom’s journey. And, while seeing my mom come off these machines was exciting and gave us a great deal of hope, there were several issues and challenges that being on them for several days (which was necessary for my mom) had presented. Erin was responsive, communicative, nurturing, confident and earned our trust from the second we met her. We didn’t realize she was an Aya nurse right away. My Aya leader had a beautiful blanket and card sent to my mom’s room. Erin opened the card for my mom and read it out loud. It was signed “Aya family” and Erin said her first thoughts were, “Did my recruiter send my patient this blanket?” While I wouldn’t put is past our Aya recruiters to do something so sweet, we laughed because it was then that we realized we both worked for the same amazing company. Those first few days off the machines were perilous, at times. However, Erin helped to ensure my mom was heard and well cared for. My mom had been through so much as this point and with the realization of what had occurred and the current situation, she was likely quite overwhelmed. Coming out of sedation surrounded by IVs, hooked up to all kinds of wires, in an unknown place with few familiar faces. It is absolutely a lot to process. Yet, Erin was right there to support my mom in every way possible.  


  • Cynthia: After roughly 3 weeks, my mom was transferred out of the CVICU and into a step-down unit. Unfortunately, there were some setbacks, and my mom was transitioned back into the ICU. It was then that we met Cynthia, and wow – Cynthia surely made a positive impact on the single day shift that she cared for my mom. There was a warmth in her nursing style, but also a confidence that she brought to her communication and decision-making. She was so kind and gentle with my mom, and even got her to laugh a little. Cynthia also understood how difficult this road has been for us as family members and spent time chatting with us and making us feel at ease with her. Yes, we spoke in depth and detail about my mom. But she also expressed an interest in what my mom was like prior to being admitted to the hospital and showed a genuine interest when my dad spoke about their world travels and the travel plans they had made for the near future before my mom’s health setbacks.  

Aya Healthcare is proud to partner with the DAISY Foundation to recognize excellence in travel nursing. Learn more about how you can nominate a nurse who has played a significant role in patient care for you or your loved ones: http://www.ayahealthcare.com/the-daisy-award/  

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