Motivated, Educated, Connected
A nurse followed her dream to care for babies
Sheralyn Hartline always wanted to be a doctor. Lucky for Cook Children's, she discovered that her true calling was to become a nurse. She pursued her dream one step, one certification, one degree at a time and always while working a full-time job.
After becoming a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), Sheralyn's first nursing job was at All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth. While she loved the connections she made working on the oncology floor, she couldn't bear the loss that came with it. When Sheralyn moved to the newborn nursery, she knew that she was (almost) where she belonged.
The babies instantly stole her heart and, when a position opened up in Baylor's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Sheralyn knew the next step in her career was not going to come easily. The position was for a registered nurse, a degree that she hadn't earned yet, but that didn't stop her. She reached out to the hiring manager and pled her case. Sheralyn wanted to prove that she could be an incredible NICU nurse — and that's exactly what she did.
"I was young and eager, and I wanted to learn all the things. I had been an agency nurse for adult nursing and I knew what I did not want to do, so that propelled me to prove myself each and every day while I was (in the newborn nursery) with the babies," said Sheralyn. "I worked there for about two years, doing things that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do elsewhere."
In the summer of 2001, Sheralyn was working on her bachelor's degree at Tarleton State University when she was hired for a 12-week placement in Cook Children's Level IV NICU in Fort Worth. Just before graduation, she accepted a full-time position here and was finally where she belonged.
Within two years, Sheralyn transitioned into a manager role, where she continued to learn and grow. In 2012, we built a new all-single-room NICU, and Sheralyn played an integral role in its design and transition of patients from the old unit to the new one. Soon after, she became the director of NICU, where she continued to help patients and families.
"I think my biggest impact is, and will continue to be, leading teams that continue to elevate the quality of care for children and families, ultimately improving their outcomes in life." recalled Sheralyn. "My doctoral project was postpartum depression in NICU mothers. We do that now with our NICU, our care providers. It's really, really important, and the fact that we have clinical therapists in the NICU is amazing. That does not happen very often, and we have two!"
Sheralyn always wanted the NICU to feel heard. She encouraged them to speak up and ask questions, because it could only benefit the patients. Every Monday, they met as a team to discuss which families on the unit had unmet needs, and they developed a plan on how they could provide the best patient experience possible.
Sheralyn has spent more than two decades caring for babies, comforting parents and mentoring and empowering her staff members. She has left an incredible mark on our NICU, and everyone who has walked through its doors. Now, she will do the same for families and staff members in her new role as our assistant vice president of Nursing and Patient Care at Cook Children's Medical Center in Prosper.
Fun fact: Sheralyn earned two more degrees, all while working full time in our NICU. She now holds a master's degree in leadership management from Walden University and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Texas Tech University. So, in the end, she became a doctor after all.
Your generosity does not go unnoticed by others. It is emulated by those who realize its value to the community. It is revered by those who care for our patients because it enables them to do what they do best. And it is appreciated by every patient and every family who benefits from it.
Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.