Sparrow Hospital nurse receives prestigious DAISY Award

Sparrow Hospital nurse Catherine Velaquez (center) displays her DAISY award for outstanding nursing. She’s joined by Unit Manager Leslie Rush (left) and Chief Nursing Officer Amy Brown (right).

Published: July 15, 2021

LANSING, MI – Sparrow Hospital’s Catherine Velaquez, RN, was honored with the prestigious DAISY Award for the extraordinary care she provided to a patient who was facing the end of his life and wanted to be baptized.

Velaquez took the time to honor this patient’s last request and arranged for his baptism with assistance from Sparrow’s Pastoral Care. She then spent time with the patient reading letters written by family members. Catherine has been a Sparrow Hospital nurse for four years, having spent the past year delivering exceptional care in Sparrow’s Medical Stepdown Unit.

“Catherine is a truly amazing nurse and demonstrates Sparrow’s ICARE values daily,” said Unit Manager Leslie Rush, BSN, RN, CMSRN.

Sparrow has the highest respect for our caregivers and we value the work they do every day to care for patients and families. That’s one reason Sparrow is the employer of choice in Mid-Michigan.

“Catherine showed leadership and compassion towards her patient and that is what makes Sparrow nurses so great, said Sparrow Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Amy Brown, MSN, RN, NE-BC. “She didn’t ask permission to do the right thing for her patient, she just did it.  What she did for her patient is one of the best things a nurse can do; she cared for the whole patient, ensuring not only his physical needs were met but also his emotional needs. Catherine is a wonderful asset to our nursing team.”

The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary, compassionate and skillful care given to nurses every day.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The DAISY Award is a national program created in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died in 1999 of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, or ITP, at age 33. His family was overwhelmed by the skillful and compassionate nurses who cared for him, and the DAISY Foundation and Award were created as an expression of their gratitude.

Catherine Velasquez - Daisy Award

Velaquez received a certificate, a DAISY pin, a beautiful stone sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The sculpture depicts the embracing relationship nurses have with their patients.

For more information about the DAISY award at Sparrow, go to


Sparrow Health System is Mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia, and St. Johns, as well as Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, and the Michigan Athletic Club. 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