The CCI DAISY Nurse Leader Award for Extraordinary Nurses


The DAISY Award is an international recognition program which was started in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Pat’s family experienced the difference his nurses made in his care through their clinical excellence and outstanding compassionate care. The DAISY Award was created so that his family could express their gratitude to nurses and so that other patients, families, and staff members could have an opportunity to do the same.

Beginning in 2024, CCI will offer a discount to all DAISY Award recipients who are looking to become certified or renew their current CCI certification. Read this letter from our CEO for more information on receiving this benefit.

The DAISY Nurse Leader Award for Extraordinary Nurses-CCI is a branch of the DAISY Award and reflects the Competency and Credentialing Institute's (CCI's) most prestigious clinical leadership recognition.  It is managed by the Recognition Committee of CCI's Board of Directors and is presented at AORN Global Surgical Conference and Expo each Spring.

Key Dates for 2024 Application Cycle:

  • Nominations Open:      January 1             
  • Nominations Close:      January 27         
  • Winner Notified:           Early-Mid February
  • Award Presented:         At AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo in March

Share your story about how a perioperative nurse leader impacted the delivery of perioperative nursing practice through their volunteerism with the Competency & Credentialing Institute and/or clinical work!  All RNs with current CCI certifications who have also volunteered with CCI are eligible.

Your Nomination Should Reflect the Following Selection Criteria:

  • Promotes a shared vision and enthusiasm to achieve better patient outcomes through exemplary perioperative nursing practice.
  • Promotes continuous professional development and certification excellence.
  • Acts as a role model for attributes of trust, mutual respect, and ethical behavior.
  • Personifies compassionate nursing care, empathy and caring in action.
  • Promotes and enhances the image of nursing within the organization, the community, and the profession.
  • Recognized as a mentor to CCI staff and/or volunteers.
  • Accessible, available, and responsive to the needs of CCI staff, volunteers, and those we serve.
  • Encourages critical thinking and problem-solving for individuals and teams to promote CCI's vision.

The DAISY Award-Partner-Logo_INTER

Please visit to learn more about Pat's story and how The DAISY Award recognizes Extraordinary Nurses.

Fill out the form below to be notified of the next cycle of nominations

Past CCI DAISY Award Recipients


Elaine _ Daisy

Elaine Geroski


Elaine led CCI through growth and changes over the past several years. She stepped up to fill gaps to help bridge transitions to be smooth for staff and clients. She took the lead in the selection process for the new CEO, ensuring that all governance and staff, as well as partners, had their voices counted in the decision. Elaine has done all this with dignity, respect, and grace.

I met Elaine several years back while volunteering for the CSSM test development group. We became fast friends, but more importantly, she was so passionate about certification and developing well-rounded OR staff. Through the years Elaine has continued to volunteer with CCI and will conclude her term as President in March. She has brought the organization through a difficult time and has done it with grace. On her professional side, Elaine has worked tirelessly to teach surgical technicians and nurses alike. She continues to be a strong proponent of certification and patient safety. I am grateful to have volunteered with such an outstanding leader.

Through her remarkable service on various CCI working groups, committees, the Board of Directors, and as a Board Officer since 2018, Ms. Elaine Geroski is a role model for volunteerism and leadership across the perioperative nursing community. A nurse’s nurse, she is an extraordinary leader and recognized advocate for a vision of collaboration and sharing that has made the perioperative community stronger over the last few years. Elaine demonstrates relentless commitment, unparalleled collaboration, and a posture of humility that is enhanced by her unbounded enthusiasm for bettering individuals and teams while always serving as an advocate and champion for her patients and their safety.

Ms. Elaine Geroski holds multiple credentials, professional and academic, in nursing and leadership, role models continuous professional development, and certification excellence through her engagement, insight, and leadership across a full spectrum of CCI, AORN, and local affiliations. Elaine has proven herself a relentless advocate and tireless mentor to CCI staff, volunteers, and the perioperative community through her sound judgment and leadership during challenges and opportunities afforded to the organization, its partners, and stakeholders.

Elaine has proven her unwavering commitment to her profession, the organization, and this community as she delivered excellence in collaboration and problem-solving while “steering the ship” as CCI President for an unprecedented third year. While tackling numerous sensitive business and personnel matters during the previous calendar year, she personified leadership while being accessible, available, and responsive. On a multitude of occasions, she set aside other significant responsibilities to prioritize the health of the organization, staff, and volunteers while always acting in the best interests of the organization and perioperative community.

Elaine dedicated numerous hours weekly, sometimes on a nearly full-time basis, ensuring the continuity of the organization and the success of the CCI team as Board President. She role-modeled the attributes of trust, respect, and ethical behavior while leading with humility and a posture of continuous collegiality during even the most challenging of circumstances.

Elaine is a national advocate for nursing, caring, and patient safety while tirelessly promoting and enhancing the role and image of perioperative nurses and our esteemed profession. She has served as an advocate within the organization, a diplomate advocating for a united voice and impact across the perioperative nursing community, and a role model for the role of nurse leaders seeking national impact.

Ms. Elaine Geroski betters everyone who comes in contact with her, and she betters every process with which she engages. 


Daisy 2

Josh Wymer


I have known Josh Wymer since he first volunteered with CCI as a CNOR Coach and his efforts with the True North Committee and Certification Council Working Group. Josh's contributions strengthened both the True North and CNOR Strong initiatives. As a CNOR Coach, he promoted professional development, clinical competence, and specialty certification across the country. With CNOR Strong, he led committee efforts to promote perioperative credentialing as a critical driver of professional development and clinical practice while highlighting facilities promoting the perioperative practice and credentialing excellence across their teams.

With Josh’s work as the first Chair of the Recertification Committee, I had an opportunity to work weekly and sometimes daily with Josh over two years as we recruited and trained volunteers to build CCI’s first points-based recertification library. His effort was vital to recruiting many motivated and contributing members who reshaped current clinical development resources to be more available, relevant, and reliable. Josh produced points activities totaling more than 1/3 of the total 1000-point recertification portfolio and had an immeasurable impact on the current and future recertification pathway for all CNOR nurses. These efforts increased the value of CCI’s credential and improved the ease of auditing the quality of perioperative education and clinical activities offered by the organization. It was a privilege to see him move up to the Board of Directors and benefit from his contributions which have included CCI Ambassador resources promoting the role of CCI and credentialing in perioperative clinical excellence.

Josh also led the development of the organization’s recognition program for staff, volunteers, and community partners serving the perioperative community and promoting perioperative best practices. His initiative developed collaboration with multiple national organizations that have greatly bolstered the support and recognition of the entire staff and volunteer perioperative nurses as well. Josh is widely recognized across the organization and the perioperative community as an enthusiastic champion of the profession and best practices. He is a role model for engagement and contributions that make all of us better, and he regularly invests his own time in individual perioperative nurses and community organizations in an effort to help them grow and be more effective in the delivery of safe patient care and better patient outcomes.

Josh walks the talk with many credentials and is a fellow of a couple of the most prestigious professional advocacy organizations in healthcare. His passion for excellence in perioperative nursing has taken him into other fields, but he has not lost sight of the bedside nurse and the patients who benefit when those nurses are engaged, recognized, supported, and championed. He is always accessible to the staff and volunteers and regularly participates in mentorship programs across the perioperative nursing and broader healthcare community. He is also a champion for developing others and includes junior nurses and those newest to the profession in presentation, writing, and recognition opportunities. Josh is uniquely gifted to recognize and value many perspectives, and he has made CCI’s staff and volunteers better through his collaboration and collective approach to decision-making and leadership. His endless energy, support of others in even the most trying circumstances, and desire to make himself and all of us better is the reason I am nominating him as someone who represents the very best in the qualities of a DAISY Nurse Leader.



Dawn Whiteside


The mission of CCI is to promote continuous professional development which drives safe quality patient care. We aspire to grow a community of certificants and lifelong learners for whom CCI is a catalyst and integral partner.

Dawn Whiteside has continually stressed teamwork and partnership in carrying out her complex duties in working with a diversity of partner organizations to fulfill the mission of CCI. She epitomizes lifelong learning in both her career and in establishing programs for our stakeholders. I can cite numerous examples of Dawn’s achievements in fulfilling the mission of CCI.

Dawn is an industry thought leader in nursing professional development. She played a key role in the collaboration with the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) to develop the portfolio-based credential NPDA-BC. She has led our efforts to expand our credentialing offerings in developing the Perioperative Educator (COM) Certificate of Mastery and the Perioperative Preceptor COM. These credentials will address long-term issues for perioperative nursing in providing specialist education and training based on current best evidence. To address perioperative staffing shortfalls and long-term recruiting issues she serves as adjunct faculty for the Edgewood College School of Nursing in Madison Wisconsin. Her efforts were integral in developing the NRS 480: Special Topics in Nursing and Health Care Pre-Licensure Perioperative Services Training Program. She is also a DNP student at this same college and exemplifies her personal commitment to lifelong learning.

Dawn’s technological prowess and willingness to learn have been instrumental in the startup of the CCI Learning Management System (LMS) a key component of the CCI Continuous Professional Development system supporting recertification for 6 credentials and 40000+ certificants. This LMS was built by the nursing team led by Dawn and she serves as the CCI super-user. This system provided credit for over 18000 learning activities in 2021: doubling the volume of 2020. She collaborates with the Recertification Committee to provide a system hosting more than 1000 points of no-cost professional development learning activities. In her LMS work, she has mentored and collaborated with the Credentialing Team to foster highly effective teamwork.

In addition to her primary duties, Dawn serves as a board member with ABNSC the accrediting body for many of our credentials. She has also worked closely with our partners SBMG and Beyond Clean to guide their development of microcredential/COM programs which have contributed to increased revenue for the organization. Her highly polished teamwork and communication skills have been instrumental in the startup and early success of these innovative programs. Dawn’s infectious enthusiasm and highly developed teambuilding skills have been instrumental in the recent growth of CCI and our credentialing offerings. She has done as much as any staff member to foster accountability amongst the staff and in maintaining a keen focus on the mission and vision of the organization.


Tabitha Kinlaw - Daisy Foundation Award

Tabitha Kinlaw


Through her remarkable service on various Board committees and as a Board Officer during 2020, Ms. Tabitha Kinlaw has proven an exemplary advocate for a shared vision, unbounded enthusiasm to achieve better patient outcomes through support to the perioperative community, and promoting exemplary perioperative nursing practice as a nationally recognized perioperative nurse educator.

Ms. Tabitha Kinlaw holds multiple credentials and role models continuous professional development and certification excellence through her engagement on several national boards and committees. Tabitha is universally acknowledged and appreciated as a mentor to CCI staff, volunteers, and the perioperative community through her sound judgment and leadership during challenges and opportunities afforded with the 2020 COVID experience. Tabitha delivered unwavering and invaluable assistance in guiding CCI staff through numerous sensitive business and personnel matters during the previous calendar year. She personifies being accessible, available, and responsive to the needs of CCI staff, volunteers, and the perioperative community. On multiple occasions, she dropped her other significant responsibilities to prioritize the health of CCI staff/volunteers and welfare of the organization and perioperative community. Tabitha dedicated numerous hours on a weekly basis ensuring the success of the CCI team as Board President and tirelessly contributed to item writing and other supportive efforts. Through the attributes of trust, mutual respect, and ethical behavior, Tabitha maintained a posture of continuous collegiality even in the most stressful and trying of conversations, including contentious moments that would test even the most caring and compassionate professional.

Tabitha tirelessly promotes and enhances the image of perioperative nursing and the nursing profession within CCI, across the perioperative nursing community, and to the whole of the nursing profession through national engagement with multiple organizations. Ms. Tabitha Kinlaw personifies the qualities of a true DAISY Nurse Leader.