(September 28, 2009)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073.

Centenary Grad Receives Excellence In Nursing Award

Heather Sharp
Heather Sharp '02

SHREVEPORT, La.- Heather Sharp '02 recently received the 2009 Excellence in Nursing Award in the small hospital category from the Good Samaritan Foundation of Texas and was honored at the 5th Annual Excellence in Nursing Awards Luncheon on Sept. 17. She was selected from among more than 100 nurses from Houston-area hospitals by a committee of respected nurses, and business and medical leaders.

She was also selected as the 2009 Clinical Excellence Award Winner - the top nursing award - at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital.

Sharp '02 earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Centenary College of Louisiana on an athletic scholarship playing softball for the Ladies, and an associate's degree in nursing from Lone Star College-North Harris.

A registered nurse in the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital in Humble, she's always had an interest in emergency medicine and loves the dynamics of the ER.

"You can have a patient with a toothache in one room and CPR in progress in the next," Sharp said. "You never know what your next patient will be. There are so many opportunities in the ER to touch, change, or save a life. I have a very strong faith and I know in my heart that this was God's plan for me. I am meant to be a nurse. This is my passion and there is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing."

"Graduating from nursing school at the top of my class was a great success to me. My first daughter was only 10 weeks old when I started the program. I was also the Student Nurses Association president. I was completely shocked and honored when I learned that I was the recipient of the Memorial Hermann Northeast Clinical Excellence Award for 2009. I was speechless when I received the call from Ellen Tuffly to inform me that I had won the Good Samaritan Foundation Nursing Excellence Award. I had no idea that I was even nominated by my superiors and didn't understand the magnitude of how awesome this award was. When I looked at the list of nominees I saw names of nurses who had influenced me in my career. They are the people that I look up to and hope to be like as I become more experienced. The selection committee for the GSF award is made of some of the most powerful and influential people in the medical community. I could never put into words how truly grateful, honored, and blessed I am to have been given this award. This is without a doubt the greatest success of my career. I imagine that when I'm old and retired, I will look back on this as the highlight of my career. This truly is one of my proudest moments of my life," Sharp said.

As a student at LSC-North Harris, Sharp had worked her final two semesters of clinical rotations at Northeast Medical Center.

"I loved the community hospital setting and the staff was so friendly and supportive of nursing students. Working in the ER at Northeast after graduation was my goal, but I knew that it wouldn't be easy getting directly into the ER as a graduate nurse. I was to the point of settling with my second choice when I got an offer from Northeast. I pulled my car over and cried with such relief because I had my heart set on working there," said Sharp.

Sharp said the most fulfilling aspect of her work is when she clocks out and drives home she knows she just spent the last 12 hours making a difference.

"I may not get a thank-you from a patient, no matter how hard I work, but I can leave feeling confident that I did my best to care for my patients," she said.

What she enjoys most about her work are the people she works with.

"Some of my strongest friendships have developed here. On the most physically demanding and most emotionally draining days, it's my co-workers who get me through. We have such an incredible team of nurses in our ER," Sharp said. "I can honestly say that when I am at work, I don't even think of it as a job. It is such a pleasure and a blessing that I can come here, make a difference doing what I love, and get paid for it."

Sharp was born and raised in Texas, leaving the state only to attended college. Before starting nursing school, Sharp was a volunteer at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands and plans to return to school in the near future for her Master's Degree.

"My girls are still young and I want to spend my time with them outside of work. I don't want my career or education to distract me from my family," she said, adding she could never have accomplished her successes in nursing without the support and inspiration of her husband.

Reprinted courtesy of The Tribune
Trilla Cook, reporter © ourtribune.com

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.