Celebrating Stephanie Harr Nurse of the Year

Even though Stephanie Harr knew she had been nominated for Community Hospital's 2007 Nurse of the Year award, she was floored when given the top honor. "There is no problem, big or small, that Steph can't handle," says Terril Lowe, vice president of nursing at Community Hospital. "She has a wonderful, positive attitude that affects everyone around her. Nurses look to her as a role model for patience, empathy, and an upbeat attitude. Stephanie's nursing practice gives us all something to strive for." Still, Harr imagined there were others more deserving.

"This award is an incredibly big honor," says Harr, "and I feel very humbled by it. I really appreciate all the other nurses and feel like I'm in a great position to learn from all of them. I really love my job, love taking care of people who are sick, need help, and can't do for themselves. My greatest honor is to be able to help others in need."

Perhaps it was because her father was a doctor and her mother a nurse, or because she grew up around a lot of children and animals, or because she found herself enjoying the role of protecting and taking care of others that Harr had a feeling she should be a nurse.

By the time she was in her 20s, she was sure of it. But life circumstances put up roadblocks until, at age 40, she was accepted at the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing.

"I had a fantastic nursing program," says Harr. "We were all a little older, and most of us still work for Community Hospital. We became a completely supportive, close-knit group, kind of like the old school of nursing where everyone lived together.

"To do my work study at the hospital, I interviewed with Chris Hall (former director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Terrace West). I had lost my best friend to breast cancer in her 30s, so I had a compassion for that, and Chris was kind enough to hire me in that department. I was raised by incredibly compassionate, skilled nurses."

In receiving her award, Harr is only further inspired to continue learning, to keep helping others, and to live up to yet a higher standard of nursing care.
"Getting 'Nurse of the Year' does not make me feel like nurse of the year," she says. "It just makes me want to do my job. Nursing is a teamwork profession. We are all nurse of the year."