Cheryl Nieuwsma: A Caring Attitude Leads to a Nursing Career | Special section

BARB PETERSON For the rostrum

Nursing is at the heart of nursing and Cheryl Nieuwsma realized at an early age that she had what it took.

“As a kid growing up on a farm, I loved taking care of our animals and babysitting the neighbours’ children. I was also always the one administering the vaccines when I worked cattle because I loved giving medicine, which made me think that nursing could be in my future,” said Nieuwsma.

Nieuwsma’s career path became even more apparent after a harrowing farming accident.

“As a junior in high school, I had an uncle who died in a farming accident. Seeing him lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life sealed the deal for me. That’s when I understood that being a nurse was my calling, I wanted to help others,” said Nieuwsma.

After graduating from high school, Nieuwsma enrolled in the University of Mary’s nursing program. She graduated in 2000 and has been caring for patients ever since.

“Being a nurse has been one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. I never had a nursing job that I didn’t like,” Nieuwsma said.

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Nieuwsma’s 22-year nursing career spanned different settings and roles.

“My career started as a pediatric nurse/NICU at St. A’s (now known as CHI St. Alexius Health). After three and a half years, I took a job at the Mid-Dakota Clinic, working in an OB/GYN clinic for five years, then transferred to an outpatient surgery center where I currently work,” a- she explained.

Nieuwsma, 44, is the nurse manager of Brightside Surgical in downtown Bismarck. The Ambulatory Surgery Center provides same-day surgical care to its patients. Nieuwsma was nominated by her colleague, Sammi Triplett, and selected by a panel of judges as the 2022 winner for the Bismarck Tribune’s “Nurses: The Heart of Health Care” awards ceremony.

“Cheryl is one of the best nurse managers out there,” Triplett said. “She is calm, collected and patient like a saint.”

Triplett adds that Nieuwsma is highly respected by her colleagues.

“She is essential for everything. There’s no situation she can’t handle,” Triplett said.

Nieuwsma’s caring attitude goes beyond her patients. She is also recognized as a caring and compassionate leader.

“I do my best to make sure patients are well cared for. I also defend and listen to the needs of a team of around 30 people. I think the key to being a successful manager is to stay calm, lead by example, keep a positive attitude and work alongside the team,” Nieuwsma said.

Triplett further praised Nieuwsma. “The care she provides to her patients is second to none and the care she provides to her staff is second to none. She will sacrifice her own work to ensure that employees can have the day off if needed, an hour off for an appointment, or have to leave early for the day. She is the key to the success of our department.

Nieuwsma prides itself on its relationships with its patients and colleagues.

“As a nurse, I have the privilege of helping people feel better, encouraging them or comforting them when needed. As a nurse manager, I also have the privilege of leading a high performing team,” said Nieuwsma.

Cheryl and her husband, Darek, live in Bismarck. The couple have three children, Lexi, 19, Hunter, 17, and Noah, 10. In his spare time, Nieuwsma enjoys walking, hiking, fishing, hunting, playing volleyball, watching the Cowboys play football, and spending time at the lake with his family and friends.

“As a nurse, I have the privilege of helping people feel better, encouraging them or comforting them when needed. As a nurse manager, I also have the privilege of leading a high-performing team.”

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