On Monday, July 19, seven Blount Memorial Hospital employees were presented scholarships to continue their education in the field of nursing as part of the hospital’s Sonya Newman Large Nursing Development Scholarship.
This year’s recipients are Tami Cooper, Danielle Emert, Hannah Garrison, Megan Huffstetler, Kendall Shinlever, Kori Storm and Macy Waters. Shinlever and Waters were unable to attend Monday’s presentation. Each received a scholarship check and a certificate recognizing their achievement.
Cooper is a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and site coordinator at Blount Memorial, and has been with the hospital since 1993. She is currently in the registered nursing program at Roane State Community College.
Emert is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Blount Memorial, and joined the hospital in 2020. She is pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing degree at Lee University.
Garrison joined the hospital in 2019 and currently works as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and respiratory biologic coordinator. She is pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing degree in nursing at East Tennessee State University.
Huffstetler, a six-year employee, works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and ward clerk, and is currently enrolled in the licensed practical nurse (LPN) program at Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
Shinlever is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Blount Memorial and has been at the hospital since 2019. She is pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing degree at Carson-Newman University.
Storm joined Blount Memorial in 2018, and currently works as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She is enrolled in Pellissippi State Community College’s nursing program.
Waters has been with the hospital since 2019, and currently serves as an emergency department technician and certified nursing assistant (CNA). She’s enrolled in the RN-BSN program at Lincoln Memorial University.
The scholarship was created in 2020 by Blount Memorial chief medical officer Dr. Harold Naramore to mark the accomplishments and contributions of the hospital’s former chief nursing officer, Sonya Newman Large. Large retired last year after more than 30 years at Blount Memorial, but was on-hand for Monday’s scholarship presentation, along with Naramore.
“Education and career development never really end for nurses,” Large said. “There are always new opportunities, and those opportunities can provide room to grow and enhance our ability to care for our patients in the best ways possible. I’m so happy this scholarship can continue to help provide those opportunities for these recipients,” she added.
Emert says getting this scholarship helps her financially as she enters into her junior year at Lee University. “I have wanted to be a nurse or a doctor for my entire life. I’m getting my bachelor of science in nursing, and then going for my RN. After a few years, I’ll go for my nurse practitioner because that’s my end goal. I just love everything about it, and I love helping people,” Emert explained.
For Cooper, a 29-year Blount Memorial employee and mother of two, this scholarship is a big help with a lifelong goal. “I’m finally getting to finish what I started in getting my RN,” Cooper said. “It’s been a long road. This helps financially with everything there is to going to school – all the things financial aid doesn’t cover. Originally, I started to be a RN, and I went to LPN school with the goal of going back. But, then life happened and I got sidetracked. So, finally it’s time for me. I want to finish what I started,” she said.
“It’s hard to overstate how critically important nurses are to the care we provide at Blount Memorial,” Naramore said. “Our hospital and our patients benefit from their skills and their efforts. This scholarship helps support the advancement of those skills, hopefully to the betterment of not only these individuals, but of the entire community,” he said.
The Sonya Newman Large Nursing Development Scholarship awards up to $5,000 annually to help nurses and aspiring nurses achieve their education and career goals. It is open to any Blount Memorial employee who has worked at the hospital for a minimum of one year; 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. Applications are awarded based on need, but also at the applicant’s stated reasons for wanting to be in the nursing field. Awards are for one year only, but recipients can reapply each year. Large, herself, is among those who review applications.