Alumna Values Personal Attention She Received From Faculty in Gardner-Webb Hunt School of Nursing

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Sara Lewis Piercy Has Leadership Position in Hospital Clinical Decision Unit

A photo of Sara Piercy, who has three nursing degrees from GWUSara Lewis Piercy, of Shelby, N.C., grew up knowing she would follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. She has a passion to care for people, but also a curiosity and an awe of how the body’s systems function.

She has three nursing degrees from Gardner-Webb: an Associate of Science in Nursing (2011), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2012), and a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner (2015). She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Frontier Nursing University. She is the lead Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) on the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU) at Atrium Health Cleveland in Shelby and holds a position with the hospitalist group.

Sara shares about how her GWU experience helped her become a dedicated and caring nursing leader.

Q: What are your job responsibilities?

Sara: I see patients in the emergency department who need to be placed in the hospital, develop a plan of care, enter orders for their hospitalization including any further testing or treatments. As the lead Nurse Practitioner on the CDU, I complete the ACP schedule, act as a liaison between the other ACPs and the physicians, assist with development of protocols, and perform quality improvement audits and projects.

Q: Why did you want to go become a NP?

Sara: I had a deep desire to understand how the body worked. As a nurse, I worked in the hospital floating between the cardiac floor and the intensive care unit. I understood how to do my job, but I wanted a deeper understanding of why. Again, the desire for deeper understanding of the body and why we did what we did to patients drove my desire to return to school to become a nurse practitioner.

Q: What did you value most about your Gardner-Webb experience?

Sara: In the smaller classrooms, I got to know my professors really well and felt like they genuinely cared about me and my success. These smaller classrooms allowed me to befriend so many of my classmates, as well. I spent most of my days and nights with my study group of about 10 people for the better part of two years. We had many laughs and cries, jokes, funny ways to remember the content, trips, nights out, nights in, and many more memories. I still talk to many of them to this day, eight years later.

Q: How did Gardner-Webb’s Christian community impact you?

Sara: Nursing school is completely nerve-wracking. I can very vividly remember the worry I felt before every exam, however those nerves were almost always calmed thanks to the incredible Christian faculty and staff of the Hunt School of Nursing. On tests days, the secretary for the school of nursing came into our class and prayed over us.

Q: How did the HSON faculty prepare you for continuing your education and your career?

Sara: To this day I remember certain stories (and even a song or two) that we learned in class that help me remember what needs to be done in clinical scenarios. Never will I forget the song about what to do if someone’s blood sugar is high or low, and I still sing that song to myself in those clinical situations. Physical Assessment class benefited me the most in both my associate’s and Family Nurse Practitioner programs. Knowing what is normal for an assessment is so important. The smallest abnormality could be the difference between a bad or a good outcome for a patient, and it may be a nurse or nurse practitioner to pick up on those abnormalities and change the clinical course for a patient.

Learn more about the Hunt School of Nursing.