JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 1, 2021) -- “For recognition of conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as neonatal intensive care unit charge and bedside nurse,” was the beginning of a nomination letter submitted by a grateful father and husband about a Brooke Army Medical Center nurse. If that didn’t get someone’s attention, the story that followed sure did.
Air Force Maj. Daniel “Frenchy” Bourgeois submitted the heartfelt letter about Jonathan Stevens, a BAMC neonatal intensive care unit clinical nurse, because of the care he provided to his wife and two sons. The letter led to Stevens receiving a DAISY Award, which is presented to nurses who provide extraordinary care to their patients.
Bourgeois Family Story
In 2018, Elisa Bourgeois gave birth to their first child, a baby boy who was three months premature.
“It was on that day we met this nurse and it was from that moment that he already made a huge impression on the wife and me,” Bourgeois said. “He entered the room where my wife was getting prepped for surgery and established that he was the charge nurse and was going to take care of us like we were family. His level of teamwork and leadership skills were poised and proactive amid the chaos of doctors, nurses, aides, students and the unending beeps and tones given off by various lifesaving machines.”
After giving birth, Elisa suffered from postpartum depression.
“His sense of compassion was right where it needed to be,” Bourgeois said. “He was able to drive away other nurses when she needed time alone and brought in specialists when she wanted someone to talk to.”
On several occasions, Stevens also helped Bourgeois better understand the conditions his premature son faced.
“He would come in early or stay late with me to look up answers or ask doctors about those specific conditions and the risks associated with the treatments,” Bourgeois said. “He would also do the same with my wife, teaching her about feeding, swaddling, and skin-to-skin techniques.”
In the months that followed, Stevens even made sure the couple took time for themselves.
“He would drag us out to see movies, take us to his favorite food hideouts and concerts to try to keep our spirits up. From saying comfortable words to just physically being there in silence if that's what we needed, he was there,” Bourgeois said.
After his discharge from the NICU, their son made repeated visits to the emergency department for complications with his nervous and gastrointestinal system. Once again, Stevens’ skill and compassion was needed. Because of their son’s fragile condition, Stevens was called upon to assist with blood draws and IVs.
Just over a year later, the couple’s second son arrived and Stevens was there to help with his delivery also.
“The process of staying in the NICU for a second 3-month stay was flawless thanks to the ceaseless, positive attention given by this nurse,” Bourgeois said. “His actions are above and beyond the call of duty and are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service.”
Stevens, a former Air Force medic, began his nursing career in 2007 working at Wilford Hall's neonatal ICU. When the mission moved to BAMC, so did he. With his 10 years of active-duty service, Stevens is entering his 25th year of government service this November.
“Initially, my choice to work at BAMC was logical as part of the joint service move, but I have been so impressed by this facility and the dedication of the people who work here,” Stevens said, “in particular, the NICU staff, the emergency department staff, where I have assisted with patients many times and have also been a patient, and, more recently, the medical and surgical ICU staff who were directly involved with caring for two of our NICU mothers.”
Army Col. Jody Brown, deputy commander for inpatient services, praised Stevens for his dedication to his patients.
“Mr. Stevens is an exceptionally caring and committed nurse who authentically demonstrates holistic nursing,” she said. “We are truly fortunate to have such an amazing nurse on the BAMC team.”
“This DAISY recognition means a great deal to me and is extremely humbling considering the company of outstanding nurses at BAMC,” Stevens said. “BAMC is truly a world-class facility and, in my opinion, there is no other hospital in San Antonio where I would want to work or receive medical care.”
The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by members of the family of Patrick Barnes. As they brainstormed what the DAISY Foundation would actually do, they kept coming back to the one positive thing they held on to during his eight-week illness: the extraordinary care he and they received from his nurses. To honor his legacy, the family created The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The initiative has since grown into a recognition program embraced by thousands of healthcare organizations around the world. BAMC presents two DAISY Awards per quarter.