Denise Thoren: DAISY Award Winner

April 22, 2021
Denise Thoren

It was April 2019 and the day before Stephany Mason’s scheduled C-section. Her blood pressure was high, her broken leg was slowly healing and she had gestational diabetes.

“It was an awful pregnancy,” Mason says. “I found out I was pregnant on the operating table when I had surgery for my broken leg. I was really ridden with anxiety.”

Anxiety that began to fade when she received a call from Denise Thoren, a Middlesex Health registered nurse. Thoren, who reassured Mason that everything would be OK, even gave Mason her cell phone number and said to call if she had any questions.

When the big day arrived, Thoren met Mason in the Middlesex Hospital lobby and made her feel more at ease. “She rubbed my hair, and told me I was pretty,” Mason recalls, adding that Thoren also helped her better navigate giving birth and caring for a newborn while mending a broken leg.

In addition, Thoren, and other staff at Middlesex, even helped her decide between two baby names!


“She just has the most calming personality,” Mason says.

And, as it turns out, Thoren is also good in an emergency.

When Mason’s daughter, Rhaella, was born, her blood sugar was dangerously low. She was “floppy” and wasn’t nursing well, but Mason said Thoren knew what to do. Thoren brought Rhaella to Middlesex Health’s special care nursery and gave her formula and IV fluids with sugar.

“I’m sure it was just another day at work for her, but she definitely saved my baby’s life, and I’ll forever be grateful,” Mason says.

Rhaella is now almost 2 — the youngest of Mason’s four children. As she grows and hits certain milestones, Mason sends Thoren photos of her daughter and updates her on Rhaella’s progress. She also decided to recognize Thoren in a special way.

Mason was visiting when she learned about The DAISY Award, and she decided to nominate Thoren. The DAISY program is a nationwide program that offers patients and families the opportunity to recognize nurses for their outstanding care.

“She just went above and beyond,” Mason says of Thoren. “You can’t repay someone for saving your baby’s life. She needs to be recognized.”

Earlier this month, Middlesex Health named Thoren a DAISY Award winner, and she received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture, “A Healer’s Touch.”

"I'm extremely honored and humbled," Thoren says. "I really love my job — caring for parents and their newborn babies. Stephany was crying when we first met, because even though it's a happy time, most moms are scared. She had been through a lot during this pregnancy. My goal was to guide her through the surgery as smoothly as possible, and we ended up with a beautiful baby girl."

Thoren is just one member of Middlesex Health’s dedicated and compassionate nursing staff. Middlesex Health is continuously designated by the American Nurse Credentialing Center as a Magnet organization for nursing excellence.

Just like Mason, you can also nominate a nurse for The DAISY Award. You can do so by filling out a nomination form here.

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