Sparrow Nurse Recognized for Helping Nervous Youngster

Published: August 7, 2023

LANSING, MI – Monica Thelen, RN, has been recognized with the E.W. Sparrow Hospital DAISY Award for her outstanding and compassionate care of a young patient nervous about having an MRI.

The five-year-old boy needed to be sedated for several MRIs and Thelen, a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, went out of her way to make him feel safe and comfortable before his procedure. 

“She was so silly with him, joking around, pretending to race around corners as they pushed him through the halls, and making him laugh,” said the boy’s mom. “It was the first time I saw him smile since we got here.”

When the patient had breathing issues during the procedure, Thelen was also there to reassure the boy’s mother that it was common and that he was going to be OK. 

“I panicked internally as I watched a very calm staff bag him and help him start breathing again,” said the youngster’s mother. “Monica stepped in front of me to bring me back to earth. I will remember that in my most vulnerable and scary moment as a parent the compassion she showed me.”

Monica Thelen, RN - DAISY Award - August 2023

Nurse Monica Thelen of Sparrow’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit displays her DAISY Award.

Monica Thelen, RN - DAISY Award - Group Photo, August 2023

Sparrow DAISY Leader Award winner Monica Thelen (center) poses with her award, along with (from left) Amy Brown, Chief Nursing Officer, E.W. Sparrow Hospital, and PICU Manager Jennifer Komm, MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN-K. 

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

“It is an honor that I was able to turn a family's nightmare into something positive,” Thelen said. “It is important for me to establish a good relationship with not only the kids, but the parents as well. They are just as vulnerable and it’s important that they can trust who is taking care of their kid.”

Thelen 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 special “Healer’s Touch” sculpture, designed for leaders, depicts the relationship nursing managers have with their caregivers and embraces the relationship nurses have with their patients. 

“Monica is a calming presence to patients and families,” said PICU manager Jennifer Komm. “She is truly a valued member of our PICU team.” Nurses and nursing leaders are nominated for the award throughout the year by patients and patients’ families.

To learn more about the DAISY Award, go to


Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization that includes hospitals in Lansing, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrowis part of University of Michigan Health System. Through 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