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Moraine Park Nursing Student Receives DAISY Award

Moraine Park Technical College Nursing student, Nicholas Santiago of Menominee Falls, received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students at the West Bend Campus Pinning Ceremony.

The award was created to recognize and celebrate nursing students for the above-and-beyond care and compassion shown to patients and their families. The DAISY Foundation hopes that this program will inspire and motivate students to provide the best clinical skills possible and to impact patients and families with human spirit and kindness.

Santiago was chosen through a blind selection process by Moraine Park’s DAISY committee. Nominations for the award can come from any patient, staff nurse, fellow students, faculty or member of the community that the student has positively impacted. Santiago received multiple nominations for the award–a testament to his character and dedication to the field. 

“I have had the pleasure of working with Nick in each of his four semesters in the nursing program,” MPTC nursing instructor, Julie Lepianka, said. “Throughout that time, Nick has been a dedicated student and role model to his peers. Beginning with Fundamentals, Nick often participated in classroom conversation, thus contributing to deepening learning. In Mental Health class, Nick volunteered for classroom role-playing exercises to teach others about difficult communication. In the clinical setting, Nick is a strong critical thinker with a compassionate bedside manner, providing patient-centered, compassionate care to those he serves.”

Santiago enrolled in Moraine Park’s Nursing program in spring 2021 and graduated in fall 2023. Before returning to school, he owned a marketing agency for 15 years. The decision to switch careers was sparked by a desire for change and a new challenge.

“My wife graduated from Moraine Park’s Nursing program eight years ago and always spoke so highly of the program,” Santiago said. “I have several other family members that work in health care, so it was really the people close to me that inspired me to enroll. Receiving the DAISY Award was a huge surprise, and it was really validating of the work I put into the program. I know I made the right decision in pursuing this career.”

Outside of his coursework, Santiago tutored other nursing students and held the position of Vice President of the Student Nursing Association (SNA) where he coordinated service learning opportunities and attended regular student senate meetings.

Soon after graduating from Moraine Park, Santiago passed his NCLEX and began working in the progressive care unit at the VA hospital in Milwaukee.

“I think my favorite part about being a nurse is my ability to affect an outcome,” Santiago said. “People come in not feeling well, and my job is to help them progress in their journey, which is very fulfilling. I enjoy the critical thinking and putting all the puzzle pieces together to give patients the best care possible.”

In the future, Santiago hopes to guide future generations of nursing students by returning to Moraine Park as an instructor.

Do you know a nursing student deserving of the DAISY Award? Nominate them today at morainepark.edu/DAISY.

February 8th, 2024by Emilie Thielen