ER Wait Time: 32 minutes | If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

An emergency room nurse at Saint Michael’s Medical Center was honored with the DAISY Foundation’s Daisy Award, which honors the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.

Elizabeth Varghese of Woodbridge, who has worked as a nurse at Saint Michael’s for the last 12 years, was described by colleagues as caring, skilled, passionate and a team player.

“She has always gone above and beyond her duty within the emergency room,” said Nikita Bharatia, a physician who works in the Emergency Department. “She strives towards providing great patient care and is always willing to assist her fellow nurses. I have witnessed first-hand her moving from room-to-room offering a helping hand for any tasks yet fulfilled. She is unselfish and unwavering. Her mere presence within the ER exudes an aura of joy, comfort and hope.”

Dr. Sam Mathews, an attending who also works in the Emergency Department, said Varghese is professional and well composed.

“Elizabeth is efficient and displays solid communication skills with both patients and physicians,” Mathews said. “Whenever I begin a shift and know Elizabeth is working, I look forward to the remaining 12 hours knowing she will be working to the best of her ability.”

Varghese attended nursing school in India and came to the United States on a visa sponsored by Saint Michael’s. She originally worked as an oncology nurse, but switched to the emergency room.

“I feel very proud to be a nurse,” Varghese said. “Nursing is my passion. It’s is more than a profession. I love my work.”

The DAISY (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation was started in Glen Allen, Calif., by family members of J. Patrick Barnes, who died from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.

As a way of thanking Barnes’s nurses, his family established the award program.

The DAISY Award ceremony, held before colleagues, honored Varghese with the “Extraordinary Nurse” certificate, which reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.”

Varghese also received a DAISY Award pin, a hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture, entitled “A Healer’s Touch,” and of course, daisies.

To read more about the DAISY award, please visit

The Emergency Department Saint Michael’s has among the lowest wait times in the Greater Newark area and recently opened a Fast Track unit for patients who have minor injuries or illnesses. Saint Michael’s was purchased in May 2016 by Prime Healthcare, which has invested more than $20 million to upgrade and modernize the hospital.