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Book Review: Shining The Light On All The Right


Celebrating the Art of Nursing Around the World
by Mark and Bonnie Barnes with Jim Eber

In 1999, Mark and Bonnie Barnes were a few years into their later-in-life marriage, winding down their high-powered advertising careers and looking forward to an easygoing retirement in California’s Sonoma Valley.

Twenty years later, they would take the stage at the ANCC National Magnet Conference, a choir literally singing their praises, for their role in creating what many consider the most significant honor a nurse can receive.

Shining the Light on All the Right tells the story of The DAISY Foundation through its co-founders, and how a cruel twist of fate sent them down a path that would transform the nursing profession on a global level.

The book tells the tale in chronological order, starting with a message no parent wants to hear. “Patrick is in the hospital.”

J. Patrick Barnes, Mark’s 33-year-old son, had fallen ill with the autoimmune disease idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP). After an eight-week bedside vigil, Patrick died at the same Seattle hospital where he was born. The family was devastated, and looking for a way to channel their grief.

“Pat had been gone for a week and left a gaping hole in our world we felt compelled to fill,” they write. “And so the emptiness that consumed us was joined by a question… a question that for us would define the work we would do for the rest of our lives.”

Now what do we do?”

Though the idea of a nurse recognition program came quickly (as did the name DAISY, standing for Diseases Attacking the Immune System), Bonnie and Mark struggled to shape it into something nurses would find meaningful. They came from the awards-choked world of advertising, and the two industries could not be more different. But the Barnes’ soon discovered a parallel that would become a Eureka moment. It’s not the prize that matters, it’s the recognition.

Shining the Light on All the Right is about a family’s quest to give nurses the meaningful recognition they deserve. It explains the origins of familiar DAISY traditions: the Cinnabons and sculptures, Kleenex tissues and Healer’s Touch statuettes. It also details the logistical and financial challenges involved in scaling their idea, borne in the rawest moments of grief, into an international operation.

Woven throughout are stories of DAISY honorees. An oncology team that arranged for 15 tons of snow to be trucked into a Southern California hospital garden, to fulfill a dying patient’s Christmas wish. A nurse who gave a homeless man a shave and a haircut after he died, so his estranged parents would see him as he was, not who he had become. Another nurse who gave a patient the shoes off his feet, and one who carries “thank you” cards to give to patients in the military.

DAISY is all about recognition, and the final 20 pages are devoted to “shining a light on people who have helped make DAISY right.” The authors thank by name some of the many who helped make the program possible, ending with “our Patrick,” whose death inspired the birth of a program that’s become a shining symbol of nursing at its finest.


Celebrating the Art of Nursing Around the World
by Mark and Bonnie Barnes with Jim Eber
Scooter Publishing (2020) $19.95

Available in hardcover at or Discount available for bulk orders of more than six. All proceeds go to the DAISY Foundation.


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