To the Editor:
In 1993, I knew I wanted to be a registered nurse (RN) and my health occupations teacher, Mrs. Hess, encouraged me to go to C.J. Harris Hospital and become a junior volunteer. That is where my story begins. I volunteered until I left for college. Since the junior volunteer days, I have worked here, for the federal government and Vanderbilt Medical Center. Harris has always been my home. I have been honored to serve my community as a junior volunteer, nurse aid 1, nurse extern, nurse aid 2, LPN, RN, clinical coordinator, house supervisor, and currently as the director of the Intensive Care Unit and Medical-Surgical Unit.
I speak for my staff and myself when I say to you that you can trust me with your life. I care for every single patient with every ounce of my being. I truly believe that you do not become a nurse, you are called to be a nurse. There is no greater honor than to serve your church, family, extended family and neighbors in their time of need. My family receives its medical care at Harris. I prefer to have care delivered to my family by people that live in my community and understand who we are. I stand by the care that we deliver to every single patient at Harris. I plan to raise my family in this community, send my kids to school in this community, receive our healthcare here, and I plan to work at Harris until I retire in many years to come.
Thank you to every patient I have had the honor and privilege of caring for. Without you there would be a hole in my soul. It warms my soul to hold your hand, give you a hug and manage your electrolytes. Thank you, Jackson County.
Heather Sheppard, RN
Director, ICU and Medical-Surgical Unit