Sherrell Mims is a local registered nurse, evangelist, author and – above all – an encourager.
Mims started the International COVID-19 Nurses Prayer Association, a public Facebook group designed to encourage health care professionals, less than a month after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic.
“I know for a fact prayer is the key to a lot of things,” Mims said.
She has been in the field for more than 22 years and worked with patients in the ER, surgery, dialysis and other areas. Mims currently focuses on psychiatry at Fort Wayne's branch of Avenues Recovery Center on Fairfield Avenue.
Mims developed a passion for helping those in need when she was just 11 years old after a medical incident involving her dad.
“I saw him have a seizure one day and felt in my heart that I wanted to be a nurse,” Mims said. “I am a caregiver for life.”
Working with contract agencies, Mims spent time last year traveling between Michigan and Indiana to care for COVID-19 patients. But she decided to quarantine in the summer, setting nursing aside for two months.
In October, Mims began working locally as a psychiatric nurse. A typical work week consists of 12-hour shifts three days a week at Avenues Recovery Center while also keeping up with nurses on Facebook through the page she started in March 2020.
“It was in my heart to start this,” said Mims, whose prayer group has more than 300 members.
She began by tagging people she already knew on Facebook and the page's membership grew.
Mims hopes to coordinate a Zoom call soon so all the nurses can see one another's faces and encourage one another. She hopes to do more with the group.
“The teamwork makes the dream work,” said Mims, who added that nurses on the page have also been encouraging to her during the pandemic.
While working with patients, Mims wears the typical scrubs for nurses, gloves, a face mask and also a face shield as an extra precaution.
Mims plans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when Johnson & Johnson makes its one-dose vaccine available, but she is doing research on any side effects linked to the vaccine. Her plan is to resume travel nursing by June or July.
During a February interview, Mims said her biggest concern was keeping the virus from spreading, and she believes everyone can play a role.
“Please stay at home for our safety and yours,” Mims said. “We are taking care of your loved ones, so you don't have to.”