For four years, the UCLA School of Nursing faculty and students have honored outstanding members of our exceptional faculty with the Daisy Faculty Award.  We are proud to shine a spotlight on these individuals who have made a positive difference in our students’ lives as they prepare to make a difference in the lives of so many others.

This year, the faculty member selected for inspirational teaching that motivates students and serves as a role model for professional nursing is John Lazar:  John was nominated by members of the MECN class of 2018.  Dr. John Lazar is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the UCLA School of Nursing, teaching in both the Master’s Entry Clinical Nurse program and Advanced Practice program. He joined the school in 2015.  He holds an MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Phoenix  and a Doctor of Philosophy focusing on nursing research and nursing education from Azusa Pacific University . He has taught for over a decade in traditional, hybrid, and online undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. He is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and practices clinically in retail health care. His nursing background includes pediatrics, neonatal and pediatric critical care, nursing management, and primary care for pediatric and adult populations.

Here’s what some of the students had to say:

As an educator, Dr. Lazar is able to present information to his students in an organized, interesting and efficient manner. It’s clear that he’s proficient in all aspects of medical surgical nursing and seamlessly incorporates his own experiences on the floor with material from the book. More importantly, he takes the time to prepare his class for examinations in depth and works closely with the students afterwards, with reviews and follow-up sessions, to ensure full comprehension. His teaching methods go above and beyond the call of duty for a professor, and it’s very motivating to learn under a teacher who displays faith in his students. His expectations are realistic, but he challenges his students to learn, ask and answer questions, get involved and put their knowledge into practice.

Dr. Lazar is an all-around excellent educator. There is no question that his students are his top priority.  Dr. Lazar truly embodies the character and intellect of the nursing profession. I very much appreciate the humility and kindness he has shown to me and our MECN 2018 cohort.

As a Professor, Dr. Lazar presents our lecture material in an understandable, clear manner while bringing in real life experiences to better improve our comprehension of topics we have yet to see. Not only is Dr. Lazar an excellent educator, but his character goes beyond the call of his position, as he tries to make our learning experience better, so we can one day work as nurses and advocate for our own patients.

Dr. Lazar is a caring professor who is very generous with his time and has been an inspirational figure for all of us in the program. His wit and organizational skills contribute greatly to his refined, engaging, and lively lectures. Attending his lectures is a valuable learning experience. It is a pleasure to come to class and learn from him not only because of the quality of his presentations, but because he treats us kindly and with respect.

The DAISY-in-training awards 

The recipients of the Daisy-in-Training award are prelicensure students who have demonstrated the skills to provide the best clinical care possible and treat patients and families with human spirit and kindness, two tremendous assets to the art of nursing and healing.  We asked faculty mentors and clinical preceptors to nominate students who:

  • Demonstrate commitment to compassionate care of patients and families
  • Connect meaningfully with patients and families by being respectful and building trust
  • Advocate strongly for safe, high-quality care for patients and their families
  • Act in a manner that is consistent with the UCLA values

The two students who were selected were Thais Mega, a 4th year Bachelor of Science student and Emma Lowerison, a 2nd year MECN student.

Thais Mega

As a nursing student Thais truly represents the best of the best through her kind spirit and her dedication to the nursing profession.  The quality of her work in the classroom is comprehensive with an eye on what matters most to the patient’s health and safety while also keeping the context or big picture in mind. She shows unwavering interest in people's wellbeing and compassionate empathy for those who struggle. Given the opportunity, Thais will dedicate herself to learning whatever new tasks are required. She cares deeply about the quality of her work and the relationships she establishes.

Thais was an effective leader during group work as well – using good communication skills to encourage broad participation from other students while also listening carefully to multiple perspectives. She easily won the respect of her peers with her equanimity, pleasant demeanor, reflective insights, committed work ethic, and dependability. During her years at UCLA, she co-founded a student-run organization called Wellness in Nursing (WIN). This group recognizes that nursing is a demanding profession and encourages nursing students to engage in activities that care for the whole self. Thais was also elected President of the student organization, Nursing Students at UCLA.

With her patients Thais demonstrated strong critical thinking skills and attention to detail. She has a professional maturity far beyond what is usually seen in a nursing student. In coping with the complexity of patients with multiple biopsychosocial comorbidities and high acuities, Thais was consistently singled out for complements by her patients, their families, and the staff nurse with whom she worked. Thais was consistently well prepared and attentive in her efforts to provide the best care for her patients. With empathy and integrity, Thais challenged herself to grow beyond her comfort level and she always met those challenges with a holistic approach.   In summary, Thais is reliable, curious, kind, intelligent, industrious, detail-oriented, and resourceful. She is passionate about nursing and committed to her patients and her chosen profession.

Emma Lowerison

Emma is a talented, dedicated and kind student leader and her personal integrity and respect for her patients and her teammates truly exemplify the best of the best in nursing.  Emma’s nursing care during her Med Surg C rotation at the VA demonstrated her ability to provide evidence based and compassionate nursing care for very difficult patients while working as a collaborative member of the health care team.

During her immersion at CHLA Emma demonstrated her ability to perform well in a high-intensity setting with a calm, nurturing spirit.  She handled both the art and science of nursing with ease. She saw some very intense patient situations and she was extremely proactive, quality driven, and compassionate in her approach. Her CNL project on Educating Pediatric Intensive Care Nurses on the Significance of Writing Nursing Progress Notes was warmly received by the Clinical and Education Managers on the unit, who were excited about the results and increased staff compliance.

During her public health rotation Emma demonstrated her organizational and leadership skills as she took leadership of the group’s project at Venice Family Clinic.  Emma did an amazing job of collecting all the information gathered by her fellow students and organizing it into a beautiful informational booklet.  She was always courteous and respectful of her classmates, while using her kind and gentle spirit to keep the project moving smoothly forward in a timely manner.

In summary, Emma is an excellent nursing student who truly represents the UCLA School of nursing values of integrity, respect, teamwork, excellence and diversity.  I am excited to soon be able to welcome her as a colleague in the nursing profession.