Learning is a Way of Life - Mercy Medical Center

Learning is a Way of Life

Posted on: March 18, 2021

Sherry Zimmerman, Mercy ICU nurse for nearly 36 years, says embracing change is key to longevity in nursing.

In May, Sherry Zimmerman, RN, BSN, CCRN, will celebrate 36 years of nursing—the majority of them in critical care—at Mercy Hospital and, by this fall, expects to become a graduate for the third time. Although more than three decades separate her training at the Aultman School of Nursing from her current enrollment in the online master of science in nursing education at Western Governors University, learning has always played a major role in Sherry’s career.

She credits a now-retired ICU colleague and nursing mentor for motivating her. “When I first started at Mercy, I never imagined I’d continue with education,” says Sherry. “But I was so impressed by Barb Ponieski, RN, and I wanted to be just like her. A very knowledgeable nurse, she knew how to work with patients, families, physicians, and co-workers using an incredible amount of tact. She was my idol, and we completed our certifications together at Cuyahoga Community College.”

Sherry, who has maintained that critical care certification for 30 years, says her daughter, Rachel Anderson, RN, BSN, also inspired her. A 2014 graduate of Kent State University, Rachel works as part of Mercy’s float pool.

“When my daughter got her BSN, I decided to get my BSN, too,” Sherry says. “After I finished my degree online in 2018 through Chamberlain University in Chicago, I, in turn, encouraged my daughter to get her master’s degree with me. So, we’re on a crazy adventure together.”

Nursing Changes By the Minute

A long-time ICU preceptor, Sherry began working part-time at Stark State College as a clinical educator two years ago. She describes nursing as a life-enriching experience that advances by the minute and tells student nurses that to stay in the game, you must embrace the change. According to Sherry, safety, technology, and communication have evolved the most over the past 30 years.

“We have come a long way with safety and technology, including many checks and double checks,” she says. “We also engage in a lot more interdisciplinary communication, which has increased respect for nurses and given us the chance to play a bigger role in facilitating improved patient health.”

However, she notes clearer patient communication is often needed. She says, “We should never forget we’re caring for people and that they need us to explain things in ways they can understand.”

Nursing Demands Inner Strength

For Sherry, one of the most touching situations she’s dealt with as a nurse involved a 16-year-old boy critically injured in a car crash. The patient, who eventually died, and his older sister were about the same age as her own children at the time.

“I still think of him and his family,” says Sherry. “When you work in critical care, you must find inner strength. Some of the nurses I orient only stay a few months because constant exposure to death and dying makes you face your own mortality. I try to encourage everyone I train that maturity and experience on the job and in life will often help them develop that needed resilience.”

Once Sherry completes her master’s degree, she hopes to share all that she’s learned with other online nursing students.

Celebrating All Mercy Certified Nurses

In honor of Certified Nurses Day, March 19, Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital would like to recognize the unique contributions of all its certified nurses. Certification benefits patients and their families, validating that the nurses caring for them have demonstrated experience, knowledge, and skills in the complex specialties of critical or progressive care. Mercy Hospital celebrates certification as a means to ensure high standards of patient care and safety.

Christina Adams, CNP
Angela Albert, CNOR
Ann Almasy, CRNN
Matt Armstrong, CNP
Cathi Arnold, CCRN
Angeline Barbato, OCN
Emily Bartlett, CCRN
Loralee Bidlingmaier, Sane-A
Jen Brackman, CNRN
Lindsay Brasko, CNP
Kim Broadwater, CCRN
Kim Brown, OCN
Lavonne Bruno, CLC
Tonia Burley, CIC
Dawn Burns, CNP
Misty Camp, CNOR
Beth Canfield, CNS
Belinda Cipriano, CCRN
Gerald Clarke, CHEP
Allison Coates, CNP
Christy Coffey, CNP
Samantha Courtney, CLC
Karen Covington, Sane-A
Erin Crimaldi, Sane-A
Debra Cuenot, CAPA
Tammie Davis, CCRN
Melvina Dayalan, CCRN
Nick DiMauro, CNP
Noreen Dimmerling, CCM
Kim Dixon, CHFN
Jenny Doane, IBCLC
Jaymi Doerfler, OCN
Sheryl Dunkin, CRRN
Stacey Eberhart, CNOR
Angela Eggleston, CNOR
Misty Elder, WCC
Karen Fedorka, CNOR
Sara Fichter, CNP
Chris Fogarty, CNP
Jamee Foster, CNOR
Deborah Fox, COCN
Darla France, CNOR
Heather Fravel, CCRN
Laurie Galvan, CNM
Angela Garber, CEN
Mandy Geiser, RN-BC
Rachael Gill, CPAN
Kathleen Glasier, CNP
Nicole Gotchall, OCN
Lindsay Grace, CPAN
Cassie Greene, CNOR
Maria Griffin, CNP
Melissa Griffith, Sane-A
Tim Griffiths, CNP
Nicole Haines, OCN
Catharine Hoover, CEN
Shana Humberson, Sane -A
Amy Hunt, CNOR
Melanie Hunter, ACM
Sam Hutchinson, CCRN
Holly Inman, CNP
Susan Jensen, CNOR
Amanda Johnson, CNP
Dishon Kamwesa, CNP
Amanda Kapper, CNP
Joan Kaufman, OCN
Monica Kerchner, OCN
Dana Kimbrell, CNP
Camille Kinkaid, CNOR
Tracy Kirby, RN-BC
Kristin Kiser, CNOR
Kimberly Landsberger, WCC
Daniel Lane, NE-BC
Rachel Laskey, CRRN
Matt Leidel, CNP
Emily Leno, CNOR
Amanda Linz, CNOR
Mariah Long, CNP
Heather Martin, Sane-A
Tracey Majors, CPHQ
Amanda Miller, CNOR
Ivan Miller, CNP
Laura Miller, CCRN
Stacie Miller, CNP
Tricia Miller, CNOR
Tammy Monter, CCRN
Cody Moyer, CNP
Steve Meredith, CCRN
Aubrie Milburn, IBCLC
Christina Mills, CNP
David Morris, TCRN
Jolene Mullen, NE-BC
Brandon Neidert, CNP
Tracy Noling, CNP
Sue Nollan, CCRN
Marilee Okey, RNC-NIC
Chetna Patel, CNP
Laurie Peach, CNS
Stacie Phillips, CNOR
Rita Pickens, COHC
Joe Pisanello, ONC
Ann Polen, CHES
Sharon Price, CWS
Robert Raber, CNOR
Judy Randles, CRRN
Kathy Reed, CIC
Tiffany Reed, CNP
Teree Rice, CNP
Sandi Ritchey, OBC
Kristin Roberts, CNP
James Robertson, CEN
Holly Roddy, CNP
Kimberley Roe, IBCLC
Jessica Rohrig, CCRN
Kim Rowe, CNP
Jennifer Rummell, CNOR
Carla Schaal, CNP
Sarah Schemmel, Sane-A
Scott Schrock, CNOR
Linda Shilts, WCC
Denise Smith, CNOR
Laurie Stantz, CCRN
Hallei Stebbins, FNP-BC
Robert Stone, CNP
Kristin Temsic, CNOR
Patrice Tillapaw, CNOR
Tom Tonya, CNP
Barbara Underwood, CNOR
Tracey Ward, CNP
Victoria Watt, CNP
Jane Westfall, OCN
Jeff Wilhelm, CNP
Claudia Williams, CCRN
Rachael Wojtasik, CCRN
John Wood, CNP
Sherry Zimmerman, CCRN
Krista Zuppe, RN-BC
Stacy Zwick, CNOR

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