Sondra - Vanderbilt Trauma Center

Recognized by her colleagues

 (left to right) ROCU Charge Nurse Rene RN3; Sondra, BSN, RN; Pam, RN3; and Pat, RN3

Sondra is a seasoned trauma nurse and a valued member of our nursing team.  She is a recognized leader throughout the Medical Center who is highly regarded for her commitment to preventive measures for workplace violence.

Sondra began her work with workplace violence prevention after an increased risk for potentially violent patients had been identified.  She started with the “small things”, such as ensuring that only plastic utensils are allowed on the trauma unit and developed a checklist to use during shift to recognize potential weapons around the unit, such as scissors, IV poles, and stethoscopes.  From her action, a greater awareness and emphasis was placed on workplace violence across the institution and Sondra is now the chair of a campus-wide Workplace Violence Committee.   Sondra has presented her work at local, regional, national, and international meetings and conferences, taking her passion for preventing workplace violence beyond Vanderbilt.

Sondra is a strong patient advocate and serves as a mentor and coach to clinical staff.  She is a leader for our Vanderbilt Professional Nursing Practice Program (VPNPP)* and is responsible for interviewing candidates for advancement to RN 3 and 4.

In 2012, Sondra received the Rosamond Gabrielson Staff Nurse of the Year Award for her outstanding contributions to nursing practice at Vanderbilt.

Sondra's Story

I have always seemed to enjoy taking care of people.  I don't have anyone in my family that is in the Healthcare industry, but I grew up with a family that took care of their own and I helped my mother take care of my grandmother after she had a stroke, and that just gave me the inclination that I might want to do that some day as a job.  I don't have a great story of someone really infuencing me, just being around it and seeing what I could do to help someone.  The funny thing about it, is after I graduated from Nursing School, my mother pulled me aside because she wanted to show me something.  She had kept a drawing that I had done when I was in Kindergarten where our teacher had asked us to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I had drawn a Nurse.  I thought that was funny!

I really didn't face any obstacles to pursue my dreams.  I had a family that supported me and my ambitions to be a Nurse.  I was one of four children and my parents couldn't afford to pay my way through school, so I had to do it myself.  I worked all the way through school and between that and student loans, I was able to put myself through school.  I know my parents were very proud of my acheivement.  I am a Staff Nurse 4 on the Trauma Unit on 10 North.  At this moment and time, I am doing a job share position with Trauma and the Radiology Recovery Room.  I am in the Trauma unit one week and ROCU the next.  I do both ICU and Step down patient care.

Just knowing that I am helping someone get better and somedays literally saving their lives is my motivation to come to work every day.  I give them the best care I know how in order for them to have the best recovery possible.  I am on the VPNPP Central Committee that interviews nurses for advancement, a mentor in the Evidence-Based Nursing Practice Research Fellowship, and a BLS and ACLS instructor with the Resuscitation program.

I am the co-chair of the Workplace Violence Prevention Task Force here in the Medical Center where we are focused on making the Medical Center a safer place to work.  Violence is on the rise throughout the United States and it is now becoming an issue within healthcare facilities like ours, and we want to help staff prepare and prevent acts of violence while at work and give them the resources they need in order to do this.  I feel we need to protect ourselves in order to protect our patients.  I was also involved with helping TNA get the new legislation passed that increased the fine for assaults against healthcare personnel.  

People who know me know that I have starting doing some international traveling just over the past several years.  I have this older group of ladies from New Orleans that I have joined and become friends with and we do two international vacations a year!


Sondra, BSN, RN
Staff Nurse 4
Vanderbilt Trauma Unit


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