Kailey Norcross, 25, recently earned a DAISY Award, an international recognition for nurses. She was nominated by the daughter of a patient. Submitted photo

LEWISTON – Only a year on the job as a registered nurse, Auburn native Kailey Norcross has already received international recognition for her “above-and-beyond compassionate care.”

“Kailey is absolutely everything that a nurse should be, plus more,” Shannon Sturgis, whose mother was hospitalized at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for several months, said in a letter nominating Norcross for a DAISY Award.

“On the days Kailey had my mom as one of her patients, I often found myself with a sense of comfort and relief just knowing that she was in Kailey’s care,” she said.

Norcross, 25, is just starting out in her career. Her current position as a nurse on the cardiac short stay unit at CMMC is her first nursing job.

“I feel like a sponge,” she said, “constantly soaking up new information.”

The DAISY Award is an international program recognizing top nurses established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at age 33 from complications of a blood disorder. Norcross said receiving the award was a surprise and a “complete honor.”


Auburn native Kailey Norcross, 25, said that she feels “like a sponge” in her first job as a registered nurse, “constantly soaking up new information.” Submitted photo

Why did you want to become a nurse? I wanted to be involved in a career where I could always be engaged and learning. Because I am relatively new, I feel like a sponge as I am constantly soaking up new information and concepts every day. I love that. I feel lucky to have found a career path that offers me a challenging, yet exciting environment.

What’s your favorite part of the job? The most challenging? My favorite part about the job is the people that I work with – patients and co-workers. My co-workers continue to go above and beyond to take the time to teach new skills and how to navigate through new situations. Their support and willingness to want me to succeed have given me the confidence to take charge and push me through even the hardest of days. I am very thankful for them.

The most challenging part about my job is having to unwind after a long day and being able to put it behind me. It is important for me to acknowledge when I’ve had a more challenging day, but also to be able to move on from it as well. My patients deserve for me to be the best nurse that I can be regardless of what may have happened the day before or an hour before. I always think about how I would care for a family member and how they deserve to be treated. This inspires me to put my best foot forward every day.

What did it mean to you to receive a DAISY Award? The DAISY Award is a complete honor to be recognized for. I was definitely surprised and a little bit overwhelmed at first because there are so many deserving people for this special award. The patient in which I took care of was kind, accepting and a little spunky (my favorite!) These quantities, among others, made her stand out in the days that I took care of her and made me look forward to coming into work. Patients like her make doing my job all the more enjoyable and leave me wanting to help the next person who comes along.

The past couple of years have been a tough time to work in health care. Outside of work, how do you relax and recharge?Spending time with my family and friends has been so important. They have been so supportive and amazing listeners. I also love going up to my family’s camp to spend some much-needed lake time, even if it’s just for a couple days! Kayaking on the lake and taking in the sweet mountain views (oftentimes with a book) is so relaxing for me.

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