ER encounter spurs blossoming nursing career

Sharbonneau's journey leads to bachelor's degree

Larry Sharbonneau’s nursing career was sparked by his encounter with a nurse in the Emergency Department.

Lying on an exam table with an injured foot, he squirmed every time the physician tried to examine him, because it tickled. Finally, a nurse came forward. “Mr. Sharbonneau,” she said, “how can you help us help you?”

That simple question – reflecting the essential role patients play in the care we provide – not only turned the encounter around, it started Sharbonneau thinking about becoming a nurse.

After he earned his LPN degree, he worked in a series of nursing homes, where he “learned a lot about history by stepping into the worlds of these people and hearing their stories.” Later, working at Gifford Memorial Hospital, Charbonneau took the advice of his colleagues and went back to school to earn his RN degree. One year later, he landed on McClure 5.

It’s been home ever since.

“I love the energy,” he says. “Every day you’re learning something. You see such a wide range of patients from diverse backgrounds, and it’s our job to address their concerns and support their decisions.”

Sharbonneau is on the brink of earning his four-year Bachelors in Nursing (BSN) degree. His RN-to-BSN journey has provided him with a broader understanding of his patients on McClure 5 and greater confidence in his training and skills.

While he’s been working full time and studying, he’s also been an integral part of our efforts to improve patient care and create more opportunities for our nurses through the evidence-based American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet program. Magnet hospitals satisfy criteria designed to measure the strength and quality of nursing and inter-professional care and outcomes. Sharbonneau is on a task force developing patient-centered reporting and co-chairs the Cardiovascular Service Line in our new Nursing Professional Governance structure.

“There’s so much opportunity here for nurses,” he says. “You feel empowered to learn and grow every day.”

Over the past two years, our focus has been on nursing quality and safety outcomes and creating structures in which nurses have a greater voice in decision-making. By putting in place a shared governance structure and encouraging advancements in nurse education, we are building a culture in which every aspect of our nurses’ careers are a key element in our success. ”

Kate FitzPatrick, DNP, RN, ACNP, Chief Nursing Officer

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