Love What You Do
Sandy Osmond’s degree in nursing has driven her passion to help others
by Sara McCaskey (’14)
Sandy Osmond (’87) loves what she does. As the chief nursing officer (CNO) at St. Mark’s Hospital, she directs the delivery of patient care, treatment, and services for the entire 317-bed hospital.
Sandy has held many roles over the course of her 29-year career at St. Mark’s. She worked in medical-surgical nursing and labor and delivery before becoming the director of women’s services.
When the opportunity to become CNO presented itself three years ago, Sandy knew it would be a huge honor to oversee the care of the St. Mark’s patients. “We change family trees,” she says. “We cannot miss the mark in the care of our patients. There are no do-overs.”
Sandy’s passion for nursing started when she was only 14 years old. To keep her out of trouble, her mom made her volunteer as a candy striper. She was assigned to the obstetrics unit and loved watching the nurses work. “It planted a seed that maybe I would be a nurse,” she explains.
A few years later, Sandy’s mom underwent open-heart surgery. A few days after, she went into cardiac arrest. Sandy recalls sitting in the waiting room with her family, not knowing if her mom would make it. She remembers one nurse in particular who worked tirelessly to save her mom, but also found time to check in with the family and make sure they were holding up. “He saved my mom’s life,” she said. “I decided that day that I was going to make a difference in peoples’ lives like he did for us.”
The next day, she went to Westminster to enroll in the nursing program. Sandy credits Westminster for giving her the tools she needed to provide top-quality care for her patients, saying her advisor taught her to “trust my eyes and trust my gut.”
She uses those skills today to mentor nurses. “If you look at St. Mark’s Hospital today,” she says, “somewhere between seven and nine babies are going to take their first breath, and three or four patients will take their last breath.”
“We get to help people with everything that happens between that first breath and that last breath. People will be told they have cancer. Loved ones will be told their family members aren’t going to get better. People will come to us in pain, and we will cure them. People come to us at the most vulnerable times in their lives, and we’re invited to be part of that.”
Sandy hopes to continue helping patients for many years to come and looks forward to returning to a more hands-on caregiving role in the future. “I’ll retire at the bedside,” she says, “because I’m more proud of my nursing degree than anything else.”
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.