Baptist Health celebrates nurses

Baptist Health Hardin Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Sharon Wright delivers sausage biscuirts last week as part of recognizing National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

Nurses at Baptist Health Hardin, and across the nation, are being recognized as part of National Nurses Week.

Each year, from May 6-12, as designated by the American Nursing Association, nurses are celebrated for their hardwork.

Baptist Health Hardin Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Sharon Wright said the American Nursing Association proclaimed 2020 the year of the nurse, but since they did not really get to celebrate nurses last year, because they were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the association extended that to this year and extended National Nurses Week to cover the entire month of May.

On Wednesday, Wright loaded her car down with sausage biscuits to deliver to nurses and other staff members in appreciation of their perseverance to help others have better health. Several luncheons and other fun activities also are planned for the nurses.

Wright said nursing is both an art and skill, and that all nurses are leaders.

“The nurse at the bedside is the leader of that care team and actually coordinates the care with all the other support members. … The nurse is the center spoke to that care continuum. The nurse is the person that makes sure you get admitted, but she is also coordinating your care and making sure wherever you go after you’re discharged that your care is coordinated,” Wright said.

Wright said COVID helped raise awareness in the community and across the nation on nurses’ leadership as they led the charge against the virus.

For instance, Wright was selected as the incident commander for the COVID response at Baptist Health Hardin. She, along with the other nurses and nurse leaders who report to her, oversaw organizing every activity related to COVID, from just taking care of patients, to making sure they had enough supplies, and to ensuring they were compliant with the local, state, and national regulations.

Rita Pardee, assistant vice president of surgical services, who played a large role in the COVID vaccine rollout, touted Wright’s leadership.

“The good thing about the nurse leaders here at Baptist Health Hardin is we are able to adapt to any situation. … It’s what we had to do sometimes on an hourly basis due to COVID because things were changing so fast,” Pardee said.

When the hospital first got the vaccine in December and started administering it to the public, Pardee said that’s when they began to see hope that there is an end in sight.

“People came to the clinic and said, this is the first time I’ve been out of my house in a year,” she said.

Wright said she thinks COVID allowed nursing to take center stage in directing the care and emergency response within the hospital, but “also allowed the world and our community to see the impact nurses have in the community.”

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1417 or

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