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Washakie Medical Center nurse earns top honor in Wyoming

Sherrill Sorensen, Chief Nursing Officer at Washakie Medical Center  

WORLAND, Wyo. (Sept 27, 2012) – Sherrill Sorensen, chief nursing officer of Washakie Medical Center, recently received the highest nursing honor in the state of Wyoming – the Norman S. Holt Award for Nursing Excellence. The Wyoming Hospital Association honors one nurse in the state with the award each year.

“Sherrill has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, passion for the profession of nursing, and an unwavering compass always focused on the highest standards of care,” said Washakie Medical Center CEO Margie Molitor. “She exemplifies the leadership and dedication required in nursing today.”

Sorensen was awarded based upon criteria that included her concern for the profession and its improvement, creativity and innovation in nursing care, respect by peers, dedication to providing the highest quality of care possible, and compassion for patients and family members. She received the award during the Wyoming Hospital Association Annual Meeting and Convention Sept. 26 in Cheyenne.

“I have faced many situations where I think there is no way I can do this,” Sorensen said during her acceptance speech. “But what I have found along the way is that nurses ‘do this’ for those in our care. Somehow we have in us the ability to rise up, push away our fears and do the best we can for our patients.”

Sorensen recently completed a week-long mission trip to Africa, providing education and basic neonatal resuscitation equipment to midwives in Zambia. An active community member, she is a Chamber of Commerce director and a cub scout leader.

She is an active member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). She recently gave a presentation at the group’s national convention in Washington, D.C., which focused on providing safe obstetric care in a rural setting. This included an overview of the many-faceted approach Washakie Medical Center uses to train nurses and improve patient safety in a rural OB setting.

Sorensen played a large role in helping Washakie Medical Center become a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital, Molitor said.

“Sherrill never wants to move completely away from bedside nursing.  She loves to interact with patients,” Molitor said. “Patients and family members take top priority with her. She is often found visiting with patients in their rooms, taking care of their needs alongside their regular caregiver and interacting with family to alleviate concerns.”

Molitor shared an example that involved a patient who had no family or friends available to feed or check on his dog. Sorensen volunteered to care for the patient’s dog, and traveled to his home to feed, water and let the dog outside. This helped alleviate the patient’s stress and improved his outcome.

The award was established in 1983 by the Wyoming Hospital Association Board of Directors in honor and memory of Norm Holt, because of his tremendous understanding and active involvement with the nursing profession.

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