Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Sherilyn Wollman

Sherilyn Wollman.jpgIt never occurred to Sherilyn Wollman that she’d be a nurse.

She wasn’t one of those kids who played with stethoscopes or brandished bandages with authority. In fact, a hospital seemed like a scary place when she was growing up.

She went into the military as an IS specialist and a young mother. When her tour of duty was up, she made plans to become an elementary teacher, which was a job she had always yearned to do.

But her sister at the time encouraged her to enroll in a class to become a certified nursing assistant and asked her to just try it.

“On my first day, it was where I knew I belonged,” she recalled. “It was that whole experience of being able to make a difference in someone’s life, even if you’re just touching someone for that one day when they really need help.”

She remembers the moment she decided she wanted to continue her education and become a nurse. A patient had come in, alone and restless and in the final stages of dying. Wollman and the nurse talked with her and reassured her. “It was deeply moving to be there with her during that transition, because it was clear she knew we were there for her. It made me look differently at everything I do.”

Over the course of many years, she continued working on her skills and career, eventually obtaining her masters of nursing.

Ultimately, Wollman was able to marry her goal of teaching with her passion for nursing by becoming a clinical educator and helping other staff members with skills development and career advancement. “I’m no longer at the bedside, but I feel like I am still making a difference in a different way,” said Wollman, who has been at TMC for 13 years. “What I’m able to provide helps them provide great care at the bedside.”

Wollman’s compassion comes in part from her upbringing: she was adopted by her grandparents when she was 8. “I learned a lot about giving to others by watching them,” she said. “I think the kindness I learned from them helped foster in me a desire to help other people.”

Wollman, who said she was shocked and humbled when she was recognized as a Fab 50 nurse, invests a lot of energy in supporting new graduate nurses. Her tips for novice nurses?

  • Continue developing your skills
  • Always seek educational opportunities
  • Find a mentor to share different perspectives and broaden horizons
  • Care for yourself so you can are for others

Her final piece of advice? Treat others with respect and listen. “Everyone has something to teach.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Sherilyn on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

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