“It’s intensive care and a very challenging environment, but I like to push myself,” Wood said, adding that many of the floor’s patients have life-threatening heart and lung problems or are recovering from open heart surgery.
Wood graduated from Grand Valley’s Kirkhof College of Nursing in April with a 3.9 grade point average. Her grades and outstanding community service led Wood to be nominated, then selected, as Student Nurse of the Year by the Detroit Media Partnership, the organization that manages the business operations of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Wood, a native of DeWitt, said it’s difficult for some nursing students to be active in campus organizations because of their intensive course and clinical schedules. She was active in the KCON Student Nurse Association, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, Panhellenic Council, and was named 2006 Homecoming Regent.
She was offered the job at Harper’s cardiothoracic unit before graduating from school. “I knew I would enjoy the high stress and high pressure of working on that floor,” Wood said. “I didn’t have type of rotation during school, but was placed in the ICU at Spectrum and loved it.”
Her interest in pursuing nursing as a career started in high school after the death of a close friend. “The nurses who talked with me and helped me during that time impacted my life. I didn’t even know their names, but they really helped me,” she said. “I knew then I wanted to be a nurse.”
She can compare notes with her husband, Tom, also a Grand Valley graduate. Tom is a nurse in the emergency room at St. John Providence Hospital in Southfield. Heather said they entered nursing school at the same time.
“I started tutoring him as an undergraduate, then we fell in love,” she said.