Extraordinary Nurse Recognized at Centura Mercy Hospital

December 22, 2021

(DURANGO, COLO.) Karen Gerst, RN, Mercy Family Medicine, was recently honored with The DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's programs to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day. 

Two nominations were submitted to recognize Karen. The first read, “I have worked with Karen for over four years. In that time, she has stayed late to complete urgent patient care tasks. She has such a strong drive to care for our patients that she won’t go home until she feels every urgent need is safely addressed - often 12-hour days when others in her role clock out. She is ALWAYS willing to address patient and provider needs when asked – no matter how complex or how busy – she has always responded with the upmost professionalism and moved to accomplish the task quickly. She has superb clinical knowledge and serves at the top of her license to triage patients. Her instincts are always spot on. She is so detail oriented that she will never leave a stone unturned, a patient waiting at the pharmacy, a prior authorization on hold. She always goes to the next level to determine barriers in care for patients. She is patient first safety first at all times – scouring the desktop of entire clinics to pull out and deal with the most important tasks. There is no doubt in my mind she has saved many lives. If I could clone Karen and instill her work ethic and compassion for patients in every new nurse, the health care world would be a better place. Please know how amazing a nurse you have in Karen Gerst and I hope you will reward her by bestowing this award on her for her service to Mercy-Centura.”

A segment from the second stated, “There are so many stories of Karen going above and beyond for our patients in the clinic… She knows and cares for our patients and their families such that they are cared for like members of her own family.”

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, CA, and was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. 

Said Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, CEO and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation, "When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do. The kind of work the nurses at Mercy Hospital are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

“Karen has such a strong internal drive to care for our patients and support our providers and staff,” said Dr. Sarah Goodpastor, Medical Director, Mercy Primary Care clinics. “She has superb clinical knowledge, and her compassion is boundless.”

“I have no doubt she has saved numerous lives with her diligence and work ethic,” Dr. Goodpastor added. “She’s also just really fun to work with! We are so grateful to have her at Mercy Primary Care.” 

For a complete listing of health care organizations currently running the program, please go to DAISYfoundation.org.  In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to the nursing profession internationally in over 4,600 health care facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of direct care Nurses, Nurse-led Teams, Nurse Leaders, Nurses Advancing Health Equity, Nursing Faculty, Nursing Students, Lifetime Achievement in Nursing and through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, Medical Mission Grants their new Health Equity Grant program. More information is available at DAISYfoundation.org.



Mercy Hospital is an 82-bed acute care hospital in Durango, Colorado. As a non-profit hospital that is part of the Centura Health network, Mercy is committed to improving the health and wellness of the communities it serves in the Four Corners region. Visit the Mercy Hospital website for more information.


Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado, Utah and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through our 17 hospitals, two senior living communities, neighborhood health centers, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life® Colorado, our caregivers make the region’s best health care accessible. We’re on a mission to build flourishing communities and whole person care. We’re Centura Health, and we’re your dedicated health partner for life. For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit the Centura Health website.