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University Hospital Nurse Honored

Memba earns 'Daisy Award'

Nurse Clara Memba had an interesting end to an all-night shift at University Hospital Feb. 4.

While the Bloomfield resident expected to end her night with an 8:30 a.m. meeting focusing on patient satisfaction, she was instead presented with the prestigious nursing honor the Daisy Award.

Interim hospital President and Chief Executive Officer James R. Gonzalez and Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing OfficerTheresa Rejrat, were waiting with several of Memba’s colleagues at the “meeting” to present her with the award.

Memba nearly left the room in shock when she realized what was going on.

The hospital’s acting Medical-Surgical Director Jennifer Smith nominated Memba for the honor and praised her for providing the highest standards of care to patients and their families.

“I am truly honored, proud and blessed to have such a warm, sincere and compassionate nurse, Clara Memba, as part of the University Hospital family,” Smith said. “She has always provided the highest standards of care to patients and their families while displaying acts of kindness and empathy.” 

The Daisy Award is a national nursing excellence recognition program used by more than 1,200 hospitals across the country to recognize nurses who give compassionate bedside care and offer superlative care, day in and day out.  DAISY Award recipients are nominated by their peers, patients or families and selected by their peers. UMDNJ-The University Hospital presents the award to a total of six nurses annually on a bi-monthly basis.

“We are very lucky to have you here,” Gonzalez told Memba during the presentation.

Memba has been a nurse at UMDNJ-The University Hospital for nearly 10 years. She was nominated for the Daisy Award for her extraordinary care of and compassion for a dying patient who desperately wanted to visit family in Africa one last time but lacked the financial means to do so.

Memba worked with the patient’s friends and church to raise money to send the patient to Africa; the patient died shortly after arriving.

Memba said that seeing her father’s sickness made her want to pursue a life in medicine and healing. Until then, she was a police officer in her native Cameroon. Her father’s illness-related death inspired her to change careers to honor her father and to help heal the sick.

After coming to the United States 16 years ago, Memba earned a registered nurse degree from Bergen Community College. She is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Jersey City State University. 

“I try to do my job to the best of my ability every day that I step into this hospital,” she said through tears while accepting the award and talking about her father.

During the award presentation, Memba received a leather-bound DAISY Award certificate, a lapel pin, a unique hand‐carved stone sculpture from Zimbabwe entitled “A Healers Touch,” and a bouquet of daisies. In addition, she will be featured on the DAISY Award Foundation’s website. 

The Daisy Foundation was established in 2000 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at age 33 of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), an autoimmune disease. The Daisy Award – an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System – was designed by the Barnes family to honor and recognize the compassion and clinical skills of the nurses who cared for him.

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