Jo Ann McMillian Nurse of the Year

Nurse’s quick thinking leads to top honor

A nurse not only provides care to a patient, but can also change their life.

That is what Diana Graham, RN, recently did for a patient. To celebrate the end of Nurse’s Week, Graham was named Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Jo Ann McMillan Outstanding Nurse of the Year. Graham, who works at Spartanburg Medical Center — Mary Black Campus, was also honored with $500 for this nurse of the year recognition. The award was funded by the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Jo Ann McMillan Fund, named for Jo Ann McMillan who was a longtime nurse and former executive director of the Foundation.

“The Foundation is pleased to have this fund to support and honor the work of our healthcare system’s nurses, who do so much each day to serve the residents of our community,” said Shelly Sinclair, director of philanthropy with the Foundation.

Below is what a coworker wrote about Diana Graham:

This nurse is nominated to receive the DAISY award, because she went above and beyond as a patient advocate for a patient in the ICU. This nurse is Diana Graham.

This patient had been sick for several months. Diana was instrumental in collaborating with the interdisciplinary healthcare team to diagnose this patient with Myasthenia Gravis. She had recently cared for another patient with the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis and through her critical assessment and thinking skills, noted similarities with this patient. Other members of the healthcare team did not initially see these similarities, but she persisted until labs were ordered that confirmed this diagnosis.

This diagnosis resulted in a consultation with a neurologist and a transfer to another facility for additional care. The patient could not say enough about how much it meant to her and her family that this nurse cared for her and was able to help the medical team reach a diagnosis.

The patient went on to express how her nurse was a very caring and compassionate nurse. The patient felt that, Diana, through her persistence, saved her life. Even though, the patient doesn’t remember several weeks when she was in the ICU, her family relayed to her how this nurse not only cared for her, but also the entire family.

Diana also kept the family updated on the patient’s condition and answered any questions/concerns that they had about their loved one. The patient refers to Diana as her “angel.” Diana has worked at Spartanburg Medical Center — Mary Black Campus since February 1989, and she has worked in the ICU for over 20 years. As a result of this experience, the patient made Diana a handmade quilt and Christmas ornaments.

Congratulations to Diana Graham!

About the Jo Ann McMillan Fund

The Jo Ann McMillan Fund was named in honor of McMillan, who began her career as a bedside nurse and later served as the first executive director of Spartanburg Regional Foundation. The fund supports the DAISY Award program at Spartanburg Medical Center and  provides funding for an annual $500 award to an outstanding nurse at SRHS.

How can a nurse be nominated?

If you have received care that you want to brag about, send a letter or ask about DAISY nominations at the nursing unit or you can nominate online at

About the DAISY Foundation

The DAISY criteria awards are based on the nurse staffing within each hospital. Spartanburg Medical Center awards monthly, Pelham Medical Center and Post-Acute award quarterly, and Union Medical Center awards annually.

This is one initiative of The DAISY Foundation in service to the nursing profession.  Additionally, DAISY offers J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, The DAISY Faculty Award to honor inspiring faculty members in schools and colleges of nursing, and The DAISY in Training Award for nursing students. More information is available at