E.W. Sparrow honors Compassionate ICU Nurse with DAISY Award

Published: December 20, 2022

LANSING, MI – E.W. Sparrow Hospital nurse Della Uekert has been recognized with the DAISY Award for going above and beyond to deliver compassionate care for a patient suffering from COVID.

John Aleo, who had most of his pituitary gland removed nearly three years ago because of a tumor, was diagnosed with COVID this fall but wasn’t able to create enough adrenaline to fight the virus. As a result, he was placed on a ventilator at the hospital and formed a close bond with Della, who provided exceptional and comforting care in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU).

“Della, with her sweet voice and soft touch to his chest, would reassure John by telling him that he was in the hospital, in a safe place, she was his nurse, and she was taking good care of him,” said John’s wife, Pat Aleo. “He would very quickly respond to her voice. She was so reassuring, even to me, that I could go home and get a good night's rest knowing he was in excellent care.”

Della Uekert Daisy Award, Solo

E.W. Sparrow Hospital nurse Della Uekert displays her DAISY Award for outstanding nursing.

Della Uekert Daisy Award, Group Photo

E.W. Sparrow Hospital nurse Della Uekert (middle), poses with her DAISY Award, flanked by (from left) John and Pat Aleo. 

Della graduated from Lansing Community College in May and now works with board-certified physicians to treat patients who are severely ill and require intensive, round-the-clock, and leading-edge care.  Della said she was drawn toward critical care during the pandemic because of the expertise of the respiratory therapists, doctors, and nurses who care for our patients.

 “I truly believe that being an ICU nurse is going to be one of the greatest privileges of my life and the ability of one of my patients to walk up to me and thank me for being his nurse will be something that I will never forget for the rest of my career,” she said.

Della received a certificate of recognition, a DAISY pin to wear at work, and beautiful serpentine stone sculpture carved by the artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The “Healer’s Touch” sculpture depicts the embracing relationship nurses have with their patients. 

“As a new nurse, just graduating in 2022, Della has shown caring, compassion, and excellence every day. This recognition is well deserved,” said Mashyl Cook, MICU Department Manager. 

The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary, compassionate, and skillful care given by nurses every day. Nurses are nominated by their patients and patients’ families. DAISY Award nominations are accepted at Sparrow throughout the year.

To learn more about the DAISY Award, go to Sparrow.org/DAISY.


Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization that includes hospitals in Lansing, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 Caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and Patient experience. For more information, visit Sparrow.org.