In this episode Ron chats with Sharon Pearce, Co-Chair of the Commission for Nurse Reimbursement. Here she discusses how nursing compensation has changed since hospitals have cut costs in nursing, how to improve compensation for nursing while improving nursing ratios, how burnout in nursing has gotten worse since COVID-19, her podcast “Beyond the Mask”, the importance of the public supporting nurses, and more.
Sharon graduated from the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Hospital Nurse Anesthesia program in 1992. She resides in North Carolina and currently works 1099 as a CRNA. Professional service includes being a past President of the North Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She served three years on the AANA (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists) Public Relations (PR) committee and did Media Training for state associations in conjunction with the AANA Senior Director of Strategic Communications. Sharon was the producer of the AANA PR award-winning video, “The Best Kept Secret in Healthcare.” She chaired the Government Relations Committee of the AANA in 2009-2010 and has been a registered lobbyist for many years with legislative involvement for over 20 years. Board of Director service at the national level of the AANA has included Region 2 Director, Vice President, President-Elect, and President in 2014-2015. She was also inducted into the inaugural Fellows class of the AANA. Within the nursing community, she has served on the executive committee of the Nursing Organizational Alliance (NOA), which represents over 50 nursing organizations. Sharon also co-hosts a podcast, “Beyond the Mask,” which is one of the top 50 medical podcasts in the country and won the AANA PR award in 2021. She completed her DNP in Health Care Leadership, Systems & Policy at Yale University in 2021. She was in the inaugural class of Fellows in the AANA. She was inducted into FAAN in 2022. She is a highly sought after national and international speaker on advocacy, legislative involvement, and various clinical topics.
Sharon ran for the North Carolina State House of Representatives in 2016. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful in her bid. The anesthesiologists opened a super PAC and gave personal donations to her opponent in excess of a quarter of a million dollars.
Sharon now co-chairs the Commission on Nurse Reimbursement with Rebecca Love. The Commission has a lofty goal to change the way nursing is reimbursed for the valuable work nurses do.
In the civic arena, Sharon has been involved in the diabetic community for many years. She is the daughter of an insulin-dependent diabetic as well as the mother of an insulin-dependent diabetic. One of her twins was diagnosed at the age of five and has worn an insulin pump for nearly 22 years. She served on the board of directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Also, she started and chaired a Walk to Cure Diabetes in High Point North Carolina for four years, which raised nearly half a million dollars for diabetes research. Sharon has served on the Diabetes Advisory Council in North Carolina for 17 years.
Sharon has been married to Mike Pearce for 39 years. They have three grown children- Brett, and twins Michelle and Danielle. Her daughter Michelle is married to Grant Brekken, also a CRNA, keeping the profession in the family.