Staff Photo: Erin Evans. Sherrie Williams, a registered nurse in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit in the Surgical Service Department at Rockdale Medical Center, was named the hospital's Nurse of the Year on Monday. RMC Chief Nursing Officer Stuart Downs, left, along with RMC CEO Brian Dearing presented Williams with the award during a gathering at the hospital.
CONYERS -- Nursing was not Sherrie Williams' first career choice, but after 15 years in the profession, she was glad to find her niche helping others. This week, Rockdale Medical Center recognized Williams as the 2010 Nurse of the Year.
Williams works in RMC's Post Anesthesia Care Unit in the Surgical Service Department. She is a lifelong Rockdale County resident and graduated from Heritage High School.
She said that connection to the community has made her job all the more rewarding.
"I've lived in Rockdale County for 38 years, and I've been able to take care of people I grew up with -- friends, friends of friends, former teachers, children of friends or their grandparents," Williams said. "It is so important to give back to the community, and I feel I've been able to do that with this job. It's so rewarding when someone is asking for you and they would say, 'You went to school with my sister and she said you were working here."
Williams' work involves preparing patients for surgery and helping them recover afterward. She received her nursing degree in 1991, interned at Emory University Hospital and has been at RMC ever since.
"I've always been a B-C student and had to work very hard to make it," she said. "Growing up, people would say I would be a nurse or a veterinarian because I liked to fix things."
Williams began with a goal of receiving a business degree at Georgia State University. However, a visit to her father while he was a patient at RMC changed her mind. "I watched what they were doing and that made an impression on me," she said. "My father said, 'You can do this. Why aren't you doing this?'"
The Nurse of the Year Award is presented as part of RMC's celebration of National Nurses Week, which runs from May 6 to 12 each year and recognizes the contributions the nursing profession makes to the community.
As this year's winner, Williams received a plaque, voucher for a cruise and a reserved parking space for a year.
The hospital also recognized Jean Giambra as its Volunteer of the Year last week and named Surgical East Nurse Katie Hall the RMC Employee of the Year on Wednesday as part of National Hospital Week, which runs from May 9 to 15.
RMC will hold its annual Rockdale Idol competition Friday to wrap up National Hospital Week. Proceeds from the competition had gone to Rockdale Emergency Relief in years past. This year, funds raised will go toward a college fund for the children of Rockdale County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Mahaffey, who was killed in the line of duty Saturday.