You would be hard pressed to walk into a hospital, nursing home, supportive living facility, or any other medical service provider in Southern Illinois and most of Western Kentucky and not find a graduate of Vienna High School’s nursing program.
Former Vienna High School student Sherie Smith has been named the new nursing instructor/school nurse for this program following the retirement of Mrs. JoEllen Reichert who has served in this role for the last 28 years.
Mrs. Smith brings the experience of a real life practitioner to the students.
As a Johnson County native she is a graduate of Vienna High School and a successful alumnus of its nursing program. Mrs. Smith shared, “It is very exciting to be able to come back home and have the opportunity to train the next generation of medical professionals from Vienna.”
Following her years as a student at VHS Smith went on to complete her RN credentials at Shawnee Community College with work on her BSN at McKendree University.
Smith has had 19 years of an exemplary nursing career which includes service as surgery manager at Massac Hospital, moving on to Lourdes Hospital as the clinical supervisor over same day surgery and manager over the Pain Management Center, followed by service at Union County Hospital as the director of the medical/surgical floor.
Smith explained her interest in education, “The concepts that were taught to me in my high school nursing classes have provided a foundation that has enabled me to give the best care possible to my patients. The importance of good nursing instructors has impacted my career in a very positive way and I hope to have that same influence on my students.”
Superintendent Joshua W. Stafford said, “The responsibilities of all instructors in our district are great. When you add on top of that providing medical care to students that have conditions ranging from seizures and heart conditions to asthma and diabetes the responsibilities just increase, hence, the importance of finding the right person to be our nurse. The high school is also known for a long tradition of excellence in the nursing program. We have produced hundreds of nurses and I know that Mrs. Smith will lead our program with integrity, giving students every opportunity to prepare for successful medical careers.”
Vienna students have been noted for their superior success in their medical careers post high school. For numerous years nursing students at the high school have evidenced this success in their exceptional performance on the Illinois Department of Public Health CNA State Test with a 100% pass rate.
Mrs. Reichert stated, “I am excited and confident that Mrs. Smith is going to be able to continue the quality of instruction and quality of care in meeting the needs of our students at VHS. She brings with her years of outstanding experience which will be an asset and enable her to maintain the standard of excellence that our school has held.”
Mrs. Smith was officially employed by the board of education on Monday, July 27.