Four Blount Memorial Hospital employees were presented $1,250 each to help support their nursing education and career development, thanks to a scholarship created in honor of the hospital’s retiring Chief Nursing Officer, Sonya Newman Large.
Recipients Kasey McIntosh, Ashley Riddle, Candace Deadrick and Sarah Weinsheimer were each presented a scholarship check, certificate and bouquet of flowers by Large on Friday, Sept. 25 in the hospital’s Garden of Life.
McIntosh, a five-year employee, currently works in the Blount Memorial Physicians Group as a medical assistant and is in the registered nursing program at Pellissippi State Community College.
Riddle, also a five-year employee, is a patient care technician and ward clark at the hospital, and she will use the scholarship funds to support her as she completes the bachelor of science in nursing program at South College.
Deadrick, another five-year employee, already is a registered nurse, who serves in a charge nurse role at the Transitional Care Center at MorningView Village. She is enrolled in the RN-BSN program at Lincoln Memorial University, currently.
And, Weisenheimer, who has been with Blount Memorial for just more than a year and is a registered nurse on the hospital’s 5-south floor, also is working to complete the RN-BSN program, but through Western Governors University.
Joining Large for the presentation is the hospital’s soon-to-be chief nursing officer Joseph Newsome and chief medical officer Dr. Harold Naramore. Naramore created the Sonya Newman Large Nursing Development Scholarship in honor of Large’s retirement.
“When Sonya announced her retirement, I knew I wanted to honor her in a way that continues to give back and support the profession she poured her entire nursing career into,” he said. “She started her career caring for patients at the bedside, and she’s ending it ensuring patient care as a hospital leader.”
He also spoke of the strong relationship that he’s had with Large since coming to the hospital more than 10 years ago. “I got to know her very quickly,” he said. “When I came to Blount Memorial, her predecessor had just announced his departure, and she was quickly promoted to her current position. The two of us faced, right off the bat, a Joint Commission survey two weeks after her stepping into the new role.”
Naramore laughed and said the two didn’t know each other too well, but quickly realized that working together, they made a good team. “We saw that we work well together, just as doctors and nurses should – and do at Blount Memorial – to most positively impact patient care.”
Large has been touched by the $5,000 gift, which will be renewed each year, emphasizing the importance of growing new nurses and helping them achieve their career goals – and seeing Blount Memorial continue to do great things.
“I started my career as a nurse at Blount Memorial in 1983, and through the years, I’ve encountered many opportunities to further my own education and grow within the profession,” she said. “Blount Memorial also is the only place I’ve ever worked – it’s my home, and it always will be. I’m honored that as part of my legacy here, the opportunities and financial support for developing new nurses or encouraging our veteran nurses move themselves forward will continue.”
The scholarship itself is open to any employee who has worked for a minimum of one year at Blount Memorial; who is in good standing; who is enrolled in or has an acceptance letter to a licensed practical nursing, registered nursing or bachelor of science in nursing program. Those who meet the criteria submit an application, which Large says she will continue to help review beyond her retirement. The application looks at need, but also at the reasons the applicant wants to be in the nursing field.
“Nurses are more than caregivers,” Large said. “And, I’m a strong believer that career development is never officially completed in the nursing profession. There’s always an opportunity for nurses to learn and refine skills that can positively impact the delivery of health care.”
Naramore couldn’t agree more. “I want those interested in moving up the nursing career ladder to know that, I, and our physicians support and encourage their hard work. The nurse and physician relationship is extremely vital, and I’ve been honored to be a part of a really great nurse-physician relationship with Sonya.
“I’m going to miss her tremendously, but as our hospital CEO has said as we’ve watched this day draw near. ‘She’s leaving us in good hands, and she’s done a lot to further nursing services while serving as our chief nursing officer. She’s been a good friend to me, and she’s given of herself more than anyone will ever know.”