On Thursday, July 27, Blount Memorial Hospital announced the seven recipients of the hospital’s Sonya Newman Large Nursing Development Scholarship for 2023 in a ceremony in the hospital’s Garden of Life.
This year’s recipients are Abbie Harbin, Tammy Davidson, Sean Trainor, Sydnie Wilburn, Samantha Earhart, Natividad Deutsch and Tammi Cooper. Each received a scholarship check and a certificate recognizing his or her achievement, though Cooper and Deutsch were not present at Thursday’s ceremony.
Harbin is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Blount Memorial, and joined the hospital in 2022. “I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” Harbin said. “I love this hospital and everyone I work with. It’s a great community,” she added. Harbin currently is enrolled in Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s licensed practical nurse (LPN) program.
Davidson works as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) on Blount Memorial’s 4-north floor. She joined the hospital in 2020 and is enrolled in the RN-BSN program at South College. “It’s great to know that you have a company that supports you in wanting to advance your career and that they stand behind you and support you,” she said.
Trainor joined Blount Memorial in 2021 and works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) on the hospital’s 4-south floor. He is enrolled in the BSN program at South College. “Without many of the scholarships I’ve gotten, I wouldn’t be able to go to the school I attend,” he said. “It really is helping me better myself and hopefully become a good nurse.”
Wilburn has been with Blount Memorial since 2020, and works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and ward clerk at Blount Memorial’s Transitional Care Center at MorningView Village. She is currently in the registered nursing program at Pellissippi State Community College.
Earhart started her career at Blount Memorial in 2015, currently works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and ward clerk on the hospital’s 4-north floor, and is enrolled in Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s licensed practical nurse (LPN) program. “I have worked here for almost eight years, and it truly has become a family for me,” she said. “I was born here, my parents have been here and my daughter was born here. Getting this scholarship to further my education and continue to grow here is just amazing.”
Deutsch has been with Blount Memorial for more than a decade, currently works as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and is enrolled in Jersey College’s registered nurse (RN) bridge program.
Cooper joined Blount Memorial in 1993 and works as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She is currently enrolled in the registered nursing (RN) program at Roane State Community College.
“Anything we can do as an organization to help our employees pursue their passion in nursing is advantageous both to the individual and to us as an organization,” said Blount Memorial chief nursing officer Joe Newsome. “Nursing is really hard. It’s a hard job. People drive by easier jobs every day to come here. For someone to choose a hard role, but one that’s meaningful and makes a difference that can positively affect hundreds of lives in our community is a passion worth driving for. If we can help someone pursue that passion and help that person give back to the community, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The scholarship was created in 2020 by Blount Memorial chief executive officer Dr. Harold Naramore to mark the accomplishments and contributions of the hospital’s former chief nursing officer, Sonya Newman Large, who retired in 2020 after 37 years at Blount Memorial. Large was on-hand to help present this year’s recipients with their scholarships.
"Blount Memorial has been so good to me,” Large said. “I wanted to let these recipients hear that from my perspective. We want good nurses. We want to advance our nurses and enhance their education. It’s really neat to read the recipients’ application essays, hear about what they’re going through and about their experiences at Blount Memorial,” she added.
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 based on 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.