The Karma for Cara Excellence in Nursing Award was created to honor and recognize the love, support, and compassion nurses give and the sacrifices they make on behalf of their patients. On January 7, 2015, we honored Harold Hardinger at the UMMC Shock Trauma Center.
1. What inspired you to become a nurse?
I was inspired to become a nurse after serving in the Navy as a hospital corpsman. The experience in the service gave me a background to build on. I served during the Vietnam War. Seeing many war injuries, I felt the calling to help them as a corpsman. When I got out of the Navy I had no idea what I was going to do. Jobs were hard to find, so my sister and aunt are nurses, suggested I apply to be a technician in the ICU at our local hospital. I decided and was encouraged by nurses to go to college and become a nurse. So I attended Allegheny Community College to get my AA degree. After I worked a year, I moved to Baltimore and become a nurse at Shock-Trauma, and got my B.S.N in nursing.
2. What is the most rewarding part about your job?
I would have to say that the feeling of making a difference in patients and staff life at the trauma center. After 40 years of working at the trauma center, I feel I have been rewarded with many memories of caring for patients. Some got better and others the outcome not so great. But a satisfying feeling knowing that you save a life and help teach residents about trauma. To be a part of watching fellow nurses grow and medical students become residents, fellows and attendings over all these years. What a reward to able to help patients get better and to be a part of growing and learning of staff.
3. What did receiving the Excellence in Nursing Award mean to you?
Receiving the excellence award was a shock and a surprise!!! I know many others could have received this award, but it stamped the reality of what I do at the trauma center. I know I help staff and patients, but in thinking about it I look back and see what differences I made in people’s life. Some of the most rewarding parts of my job is patients and residents thanking me for being there. This award just made it more real. Also, having a daughter named Cara alsso really touch me.
4. What message do you want to share to aspiring nurses?
The message I would give other nurses, treat your patients as you want to be treated A smile, a kindness, caring attitude goes a long way. People say I have not change over time: “You still have a smile and light caring personality.” Perception is a huge factor, treat others well and you will go far. Also reach for goals in nursing and continue to learn and grow within your job. Life is very short, LIVE LARGE!!!