Sherry Lynn Jones studied to become a nurse at St. Clair County Community College.
She also found the inspiration there to become an author.
“Joyce Kluczyk Gregg (English professor) and Tom Obee (former Phi Theta Kappa advisor) permitted me to explore the experience and emotion of writing without the distractions and limitations of writing rules,” said Jones, who recently released her third book, Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic, Second Edition. “They looked for the depth and heart in stories and encouraged auctorial risks. My psychology prof, Alan Meno, provided another piece of the puzzle: ‘All Behavior Has Meaning,’ one of many Menoisms that encouraged looking at the why behind behaviors. I may not understand why people do what they do, but I know they have reasons for their behavior and that exploration finds its way into many of my stories.”
Jones, a native of Dearborn Heights who also lived in Croswell and Deckerville, attended SC4 from 1993-96, earning degrees in arts, general education, science and nursing.
She also earned a bachelor of science in management from the University of Phoenix, a Masters of Science in psychology and a Doctorate in Education from Walden University.
She spent much of her career as a trauma nurse in Detroit, and is currently faculty with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, CEO of Education Resource Strategies and an occupational health nurse for Ford Motor Company.
She said SC4 prepared her well for the world of nursing.
“Beyond the, ‘I Survived Nursing School’ sentiment is the sense of unity that my professors and peers provided,” Jones said. “I remember my clinical group (which they called The Brandymore 9), nursing students who came together and helped one another to overcome all obstacles. I took those lessons of mutual support and strength to every job and collaboration I’ve encountered.
“Mama taught me that nothing was impossible, SC4 taught me about strength in numbers and appreciating the different values, viewpoints, and contributions of others. I wear two hats, now: I am a nurse, I am a teacher. SC4 implanted the realization that nurses are teachers, and I do not have to leave one profession to enjoy the other. I can do both.”
While at SC4, she was also recognized with the Colwell Writing Award, which she said is the most cherished of her academic honors. Her writing skills, fostered through work with Patterns and by Gregg and Obee while at SC4, came to the forefront again as her nursing career progressed.
“I gathered thoughts on bits of paper, grew them into paragraphs and essays, and collected them into books,” she said. “It happened organically through journaling experiences on the road as a paramedic, and as a nurse in the ER and state prison. As a crisis interventionist, I tell emergency responders to write down thoughts and feelings about what they do and see. I learned that sharing through publications was helpful to other responders, blasting away the fallacy of uniqueness. Though responders don’t often verbalize our/their innermost thoughts, the books gave voice to those unspoken feelings, fears, joys, and humor responders share.”
Along with the first edition of Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic, Jones has also released More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie. She’s been published in several magazines and other books, including Now: Embracing the Present Moment by Rick Singer.
“Although I had always wanted to write a book, the size of the project was daunting,” Jones said. “I found that in concentrating on developing stories, the book wrote itself. My experience was probably unusual in that both publishers I approached liked the idea. One was local, so in the spirit of supporting the hometown team, Loving Healing Press in Ann Arbor became my publisher. Writing a dissertation was far more painful; I prefer my essay style of stream of consciousness rambling. My experience in the process of writing and publishing echo what every other published author will tell you: Write what you know, about that for which you have some level of passion. The process is far more seamless when you are not battling dragons.”
As Jones continues to grow in her career as a nurse and as an author, she continues to have fond memories of her time at SC4.
“There is something unique and special about SC4 that I hope students appreciate,” she said. “It has an almost palpable heartbeat, a soul. If you ask about which degree of the seven I hold I am most proud, I would have to say my nursing degree. Taking that degree and experience into a Detroit trauma center, I was more prepared than many of my cohorts. Having professors by your side to explain the hard stuff, encourage when you have weak moments, and celebrate small and large victories, is invaluable. My successes reflect the foundation set by SC4.”