SDSU College of Nursing: producing Award-Winning Nurses

As a parent, there’s nothing scarier than your kid experiencing a medical emergency. It can bring some comfort, though, knowing that there are some incredible healthcare professionals in the Black Hills who are ready and capable to care for your families. Check out this story of an award-winning nurse who was trained by our friends at the SDSU College of Nursing.

The DAISY Award 

When Katie Harlow (class of 2014) learned that she was selected to receive the national DAISY Award, she was humbled and appreciative that someone took the time to say thank you.

The DAISY Foundation awards nurses who go above and beyond for their patients and community ⁠— it recognizes the outstanding professionalism and compassion that nurses bring to patients and families every day. The Daisy Foundation memorializes J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of an autoimmune disease. DAISY is an acronym: “diseases attacking the immune system.” Nurses in Rapid City are selected 12 times a year for this recognition. Nurses are also honored in Custer, Lead-Deadwood, Spearfish and Sturgis.

SDSU School of Nursing

Harlow didn’t start her college career pursuing a degree in nursing. It was only after she returned to the Black Hills that she developed an interest in that career.

“I had several people I knew in the community or had played sports with say, ‘If you want to get into nursing, you have to go to SDSU.’ So, luckily the Rapid City site was available,” she said. “I went and talked with people there and loved the small feel of the site.”

“On top of that, I thought it was awesome that we got to work in the hospital for clinicals in a community where we were planning on staying. On a personal level, I got to do my training and got to know my future co-workers as a student,” Harlow continued.

The DAISY Foundation honored Harlow in January 2022 at Monument Health.


Despite the fact Harlow’s father is a retired physician and other family members work in the medical field, nursing wasn’t on the top of her list as a career option. However, she’s glad that changed.

“When I started looking into the field of nursing, I felt like it fit my needs and my lifestyle. I’ve been an ICU nurse now for almost eight years,” she said. “I just love the ability to critically think through things and to be at the bedside with patients. But I also know that in the future if I ever decide I want to change my mind and do clinic nursing or bedside nursing of different sorts or even be a school nurse, I can do that. There are so many options with nursing.”


Harlow was walking with a manager when she turned a corner and everybody was screaming and clapping.

“I’m just super grateful. There are a lot of nurses in our hospital who do a really great job and go unrecognized. We don’t do it for the recognition, but it really is pretty awesome when somebody takes the time to say they really appreciate what you did and how you treated my family and things like that,” she said. “I just think nursing is such a great career because you really help people on different levels.”