We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Emma Sheets ’23
Student, 3-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program
From a young age, Emma Sheet ’23 has been passionate about helping and caring for others, and first aspired to become a teacher. Later, when her interest shifted to nursing, she dove right into learning – researching basic nursing information and skills and creating presentations with quizzes at the end to test her knowledge. Emma attended the Introduction to Healthcare class at Lancaster County Career and Technology Center during her junior year at Solanco High School, learning more basic knowledge of the health care profession and the duties of a nurse. In her senior year, she became a full-time dual enrollment student at PA College and completed nearly 20 credits toward her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Emma has loved the hands-on learning she’s experienced in her clinical placements so far and shares: “I have been very fortunate to have amazing clinical instructors. I have grown so much since my first day at the hospital last spring, and I can credit that to my instructors who have encouraged me along the way, even when I was nervous or did not feel confident. I am excited to see how I will continue to grow through the coming semesters, and then in my nursing career.” She continues: “I want my patients to feel that they can trust me as I care for them, and that they can feel comfortable and safe under my supervision. I love to conversate and get to know more about my patients instead of just putting all of my focus on their diagnosis and treatments.” After earning her BSN, it’s Emma’s goal to become either a Certified School Nurse or a nurse educator. “I think I would thrive in a school environment since I have a love for teaching, learning and nursing,” she adds.
It means a lot to Emma to be a first-generation college student. She explains: “I feel like I am investing in my future by becoming a nurse and creating an opportunity for myself that will support me throughout my life. It makes me feel very accomplished that I am pursuing a degree in a very challenging field of study that will impact the lives of many people. My family has been very supportive and encouraging to me, and they are excited to have the first college graduate and the first nurse in the family!”
Emma lives with her family in Peach Bottom, PA. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and working with her side business in photography.
Sherry Martin ’17 ’98, MSN, RN-BC
Interim Nurse Manager, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital
Neither of her parents attended high school, so for Sherry Martin, attending college felt like “shooting for the moon.” Yet, this two-time alumna has since thrived in her academic and professional career. After graduating from the then Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing (now PA College) with her nursing diploma in 1998, Sherry spent twenty rewarding years as a cardiac nurse. In 2017, she graduated from our MSN – Education program, continuing her work at the bedside while also becoming a clinical instructor for our ASN program. “This was a great experience and helped to hone my coaching/teaching skills,” she notes. Currently, Sherry is the interim nurse manager on 6 East/6 West, a cardiac/telemetry floor at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital, where she served as assistant manager for the last three years. In this role, she organizes her day to round with patients, mentor staff, monitor patient quality indicators, onboard new staff and recognize the unit and staff for their accomplishments.
Recently, Sherry was nominated by one of her nurses and won the Nursing Administration Leader/Manager Award from Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania. In fact, Sherry calls Florence Nightingale her health care hero and shares: “she made a difference when no one else thought that she could. She made a huge impact by doing what she knew well, working hard and not giving up. The health care system is being stretched beyond capacity these days by a pandemic and health care disparities. This is when we need to join together and do what we know well, work hard and not give up until we turn the tide.”
When asked what advice she would give today’s PA College students, Sherry offers: “Health care is an exciting world with many opportunities. Give yourself time to saturate your learning in many fields and roles. Say yes and join a new committee or project; you won’t regret the experience you gain. Help one another, build each other up and pay it forward. No gift of time or sharing is too small to make a difference.” For her own part, Sherry tries to make the world a better place by demonstrating compassion to patients and supporting her staff with encouragement and positivity. “Grace needs to abound for all,” she adds. “Caring is sharing your time, skills and talents with those around you to try and make it better for everyone.”
In her free time, Sherry enjoys cabin life, hiking, gardening and decorating. She also recently started to grow cut flowers at her rural Lancaster County home and would like to also learn flower arranging. In addition to benefiting her own physical and mental wellbeing, Sherry enjoys bringing flowers to church events or brightening someone’s day. She also serves on the school board for a local private school. Sherry adds: “I’m very thankful for my understanding husband and four children, who have supported me in my profession and education. I enjoy watching my children grow into contributing adults and am their biggest fan whether it is a sporting event, concert or school activity.”
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!