This year marks the 50th anniversary that Sharon Norman, RN, has been a priceless asset to the United Hospital Center pediatric nursing staff.
“I never became a nurse for the praise; I did it for the children and for the sense of achievement,” said Norman.
Sharon Norman has had the caregiving gene running through her since she was a little girl. “I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but a nurse,” said Norman. “I used to practice on animals, dolls, and even my sisters whenever they would get a cut or scrape.”
After graduating from St. Mary’s Nursing School in 1967, Norman hit the ground running with her devoted career in pediatrics. Over the years, she has seen it all. She recalls seeing all types of patients from kids coming back for repeat treatment to kids having surgeries or broken bones fixed.
Norman recollects a time when she cared for a child who had a broken elbow and had to hold the young girl’s arm so the doctor could position a pin to fix the break. Sometime after, the child encountered Norman again and excitedly cried, “That’s my nurse!” Norman said that it feels good to know that she might be impacting her patients as much as they impact her.
Not only has she dealt with a wide variety of patients from cancer to asthma to broken bones, but she has also watched her profession as a whole evolve and advance. Norman says that when she first started she had to prepare and sterilized things by hand. Today, the supplies already come prepackaged or sterilized.
During her career, she has watched technology slowly take its place in both medical techniques and something as basic as medical records. However, these changes have never slowed her down.
“I always try to keep an open mind. If I were ever faced with an obstacle, I would just remind myself to stay positive and be patient,” said Norman.
She said that her favorite part of the job by far was all of the wonderful children she encountered. “It was easy to get attached to them, especially the ones I would see repeatedly,” said Norman.
Through her warm smile, she recounted how in the evenings the nurses would pop popcorn and gather with the parents and patients for a movie before tucking them into bed. Some of her fondest memories consist of birthday parties and holidays for the pediatric patients.
Not only does Sharon Norman dedicate herself to the children during work hours, but she also volunteers her extra time as well. A long-time volunteer of Camp Catch Your Breath, a UHC summer program for asthmatic children, Norman goes above and beyond for these kids. “At camp, I am a nurse in the med room. When the kids get a cut or scrape, they’ll come see me,” explained Norman. “My favorite part about camp is watching the kids that return year-after-year grow up.”
Norman said that she could go on for ages about all the cherished memories she has made at UHC. In fact, a fellow colleague and she have considered writing a book about their careers. When asked what she would include in the book Norman said, “I have so many stories about the kids, the experiences, and the friendships I’ve built here. I would just tell my story and everything that made me who I am.”
Norman made it a point to note that the person she owes all of her success to was her mother. She considered her the best supporter, cheerleader, and friend. “She was always there for me. My mother would tell everyone she met that her daughter was a nurse and that she was so proud.”
However, Norman never did it for the glory. She notes that this milestone was an accomplishment for her and the pride she takes in her profession. When asked what advice she would offer to young nurses, she replied, “Just keep an open mind because you can learn something new every day. Nursing is such a rewarding profession and it gives you a chance to make an impact on someone’s life.”