Honoring Excellence: Ron Eldridge and the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing

It turns out daisies aren’t so ordinary after all. For the UF Health The Villages Hospital, a DAISY Award is given quarterly to an outstanding nurse nominated by a patient, patient’s family, or colleague for going above and beyond in caring for others. The DAISY Award is a national recognition associated with the DAISY Foundation, a non-profit organization honoring excellence in the nursing profession.  

Lake-Sumter State College’s nursing school graduate, Ron Eldridge, is the most recent award-winning nurse for his exceptional care, noted by a family who was touched by his extra efforts during their time in the intensive care unit of UF Health The Villages Hospital. Eldridge is a former US Marine aviation ordinance personnel. After serving, he endured tragedy when his cousin was involved in a fatal car crash. Throughout the caregiving process for his cousin before their passing, he felt a strong disconnect in the communication he and his family received from the medical staff. This inspired Eldridge to go into nursing to make a difference to suffering families desperate for clear communication about their loved ones.  

Once at Lake-Sumter State College, Eldridge received his first certification to become an LPN. Still, with the persistent encouragement from Dr. Christine Ramos, director of associate science of nursing at LSSC, he strove to receive further nursing education to eventually become an ICU nurse after graduating in 2022.  

“Dr. Ramos is the most amazing person ever. I was an LPN for a while before coming over to the next level with the help of Dr. Ramos inspiring and holding the students accountable,” Eldridge said. “Dr. Ramos always went the extra mile. I still reach out to Dr. Ramos to this day.” 

While at LSSC, Eldridge also was a leader amongst students; Cassandra Valdes is very thankful for Ron’s mentorship and knowledge while partnered in a healthcare facility during their time at LSSC. “Unsurprisingly, he won the DAISY Award out of all the great nurses nominated throughout our hospital,” Valdes said. “I’m proud of his accomplishments, and even more proud to be in a program (LSSC) that produces this high standard of quality nurses.” 

The family that nominated Eldridge had a relative in a severe car crash and suffered brain damage. They pleaded to Eldridge that they needed to see a doctor soon. Eldridge expedited the process to make a doctor available to visit their room. Not stopping there, Eldridge explained in depth all the medications and monitor readings to the family and how these relate to the patient’s injuries. Eldridge says he takes the extra time to make sure the families know the medical situation because of how he felt during his cousin’s passing.  

“Sometimes negative things that happen in your life change you, but you can learn from those and come out better and treat everyone, especially the patients, like family,” Eldridge said. “You’ll see the patients as family instead of something different.”