For Sharon Meier Harker, her passion is helping people

For more than four decades, Sharon Meier Harker has dedicated her professional and personal life to helping others.  Simply put, it’s part of who she is.

“My passion is working with people,” Sharon said. “I like caring for people.  God made us to connect with people and help them.”

Sharon arrived at what is now Norton King’s Daughters’ Health in June 1978.  She started on the third floor, working nights.  Eventually, she moved to days and onto the surgery team before finding her home in medical imaging (radiology) in October 2005.  For the past 19 years, she has helped patients and providers schedule a wide range of imaging appointments.

“I actually went to a nursing home for a little while before I started to get some training,” Sharon recalled. “I loved working with the people there, especially the older people.  I knew I wanted to help others, so I applied at the hospital and started working.”

Family is important to Sharon, too.  During her early years, she worked fewer hours to have time at home with her two sons, Eddie and Jerald.  Now, she is a grandmother to five with the youngest a precious three years of age.

“Spending time with family is something l love to do,” Sharon said.  “I love to cook, travel and hike with my husband, Kurt.”

Together, they spend a lot of time in Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains.  Bucket list trips include Alaska, Yellowstone National Park and the Holy Land.

In the meantime, Sharon now spends four days a week listening to and helping patients navigate what can often be a complex process of scheduling exams.  Imaging tests are often very specific with a wide range of variations.  Everything has to align, and sometimes it takes a little time.  Walking patients through that process is one of her favorite tasks.

“I love talking on the phone with people, listening to them,” Sharon said. “Many times – especially older patients – don’t have anyone to talk to.  They want someone to help explain things and hear their concerns.  When I can help them feel comfortable, there is nothing more I would rather be doing.”

Interestingly, Sharon connects so well with patients on the phone that they often want to meet her in person when they come in for their appointment.  She is happy to oblige whenever she can, even meeting them at the hospital’s main entrance to help get them where they need to go.

In all, Sharon said she handles about 50 calls a day, working directly with patients and also physician and providers located at Norton KDH and beyond.

When someone has worked at an organization for nearly 46 years, change is inevitable.  Sharon witnessed several expansions at the former hospital in downtown Madison, including the opening of the new emergency room in 1995 and the new Downtown Medical Building in 2001.  She was also part of moving to the new hilltop hospital campus in 2013.

Through it all, Sharon has remained true to herself and her passion for helping others.  Her calm and friendly demeanor welcomes everyone she encounters.

“My passion is helping people,” Sharon said. “That is very rewarding.  I like helping people in my community. Helping my community be a better place.”

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