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Inspiring the next generation of nursing leaders

Former Gritman CNO creates advanced nursing scholarship

About the Sheryl M. (Washburn) and Buddy L. Carter Nursing Scholarship

  • Sheryl served as Gritman’s chief nursing officer from 2005-08 and 2013-17.
  • Annually supports nursing staff seeking advanced nursing degrees
  • Application deadline is 5 p.m. March 15, 2020

As part of our commitment to providing exceptional health care to the region, Gritman Medical Center and the Gritman Foundation support numerous scholarship awards that help lay the foundation for future health care leaders in our region.

Sheryl and Buddy Carter

Sheryl and Buddy Carter

Our newest is the Sheryl M. (Washburn) and Buddy L. Carter Nursing Scholarship for those seeking advanced nursing degrees. Sheryl served as our chief nursing officer from 2005-08 and 2013 until her retirement in 2017, mentoring countless nurses who developed into leaders and role models themselves.

Sheryl recently took some time to discuss the scholarship.

1. What is the inspiration behind the scholarship?
We want to give back for all of the encouragement and support that I experienced from mentors, colleagues, employers and so many others. When I was a nursing student, I could not have imagined having so many opportunities to touch people’s lives. Nor could I have imagined how my own life would be impacted by the patients I cared for, the nurses I worked with, the nursing students I taught, and the emerging nursing leaders I mentored. This scholarship is an opportunity to say, “thank you,” to pay it forward, to continue to play a part in developing nurses who continue to make a difference in the lives of their patients.

2. Why did you decide to establish a scholarship at Gritman?
I had the opportunity to serve as Gritman’s chief nursing officer from 2005-2008 and again from 2013-2017. I think the fact that I returned to Gritman when the opportunity presented itself speaks loudly about my feelings for the organization and the people there. Everyone realizes they have an important role as part of the health care team and they focus on making sure that patients and their families experience the best possible care, regardless of their circumstances, diagnosis or needs when they encounter the hospital environment. Every person and position in the organization understands their reason for being there is to serve the needs of others.

3. You’ve mentioned you have a passion for rural health care. Why is that?
After graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Idaho State University, I began my nursing career in a small hospital in Ashton, Idaho. When I moved to Sitka, Alaska, four years later, I again worked in small hospitals. During my graduate school years in Washington state, I worked in a large hospital and very quickly realized the value of small, rural hospital nursing. I think rural nurses are the best nurses anywhere. They have to know a lot about a lot! They care for their friends, neighbors and families and they are incredibly invested in their relationships with patients. Nursing in a rural setting isn’t just a job – it’s a lifestyle. It’s a mission! It’s a calling!

However, with the growing nursing shortage, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain adequate numbers of nurses in rural health care settings. It is our hope that this scholarship will inspire the recipients to remain in rural health care and nursing.

4. What is your goal for the scholarship?
This scholarship is intended to specifically support nurses who are seeking an advanced nursing degree. Early in my career, I was afforded opportunities to expand my skills into nursing leadership roles. I quickly realized as a nurse leader, I was actually able to influence the care of every patient who sought care in my organization. As I worked with staff and other nurse leaders, I had the opportunity to make sure that all patients received the best nursing care possible. It was pure joy for me to see the novice nurse leaders whom I mentored and coached grow into inspirational leaders for the nurses and other staff members in their departments. Through this scholarship, it is my hope to be able to continue to develop inspiring and innovative nurse leaders.

Leave a legacy by advancing health care in our community. The Gritman Foundation can help you achieve your philanthropic goals. Go to gritman.org/foundation for more information.

To learn more about Gritman’s commitment to the community and the scholarships we support, go to gritman.org/scholarships.