Brandau Receives DAISY Award at Tomah VAMC - Tomah VA Medical Center
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Tomah VA Medical Center


Brandau Receives DAISY Award at Tomah VAMC

Smith, Brandau and Acting Medical Center Director Karen Long

Smith, Brandau and Acting Medical Center Director Karen Long.

By Derrick Smith, Public Affairs Specialist
Monday, May 13, 2019

Marine Corps Veteran Melvin Smith admits he doesn’t open to people very quickly. While attending a program at the Tomah VA Medical Center, Smith met a nurse who helped him with that obstacle.

Alexis Brandau was that nurse.

“I was very moved, moved to tears when I heard what Melvin had to say. Any time you hear you made a difference in someone life, especially as a nurse, it means a lot. It makes what you do worth it every day. Melvin was an exceptional patient and told me from one of his first days that he felt so moved by how I made him feel coming into the program,” shared Brandau.

The breakthrough is one of the reasons Smith nominated Nurse Brandau for the DAISY Award.

“She is very worthy of this,” added the Marine from Milwaukee. “I selected her because of her compassion towards all the Vets. It stood out to me.”

Smith stated the quality of care has been excellent at the Tomah VAMC.

Brandau participated in the Nursing VALOR Program as a student at Viterbo University and later joined the nursing staff at Tomah.  The VALOR Program provides the student with an opportunity to develop competence in a nursing specialty area and to learn VA policies and procedures.

“I was a VALOR student in the long-term care, and I have been here for two years. I am honored to be able to be a nurse. I am very touched. It’s just a special thing to have your patients recognized that and appreciate what we are doing here,” said Brandau.

Her future goals are to destigmatize mental health within the Veteran population and a return to school to become a nurse practitioner. 

Brandau believes each successful Veteran is a highlight for nurses. 

“When Veterans leave our program and say that we made a difference, we helped them overcome what they were going through, I think every experience you have with a patient like that is the best sort of experience.”


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