Sharon Cox Cleveland graduated from BYU College of Nursing in 1970 with a BS in nursing. She and her husband, Russ, were married during her senior year. While he finished his degree at BYU, she began her nursing career at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. When Russ was deployed by the U.S. Navy to Viet Nam, Sharon lived with her parents in Sandy, Utah and worked as an RN at American Fork Hospital. On his return, the couple moved to Mission Viejo, California, where she was employed in the med-surg unit of Fountain Valley Hospital.
When Sharon and Russ adopted their first baby, Sharon became a full-time mother. They eventually adopted another girl and a boy.
Among many wonderful family experiences was a three-year stay in Cairo, Egypt. Russ was employed by Hughes Aircraft and participated in building an air defense system there. The children, 5th, 9th , and 10th graders, attended school at Cairo American College along with children from over 50 nationalities.
"Even though our stay in Egypt was a fabulous experience, it was wonderful to come home to Mission Viejo," commented Sharon.
A nursing re-entry program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (California) not only provided the way for Sharon to become a full-time RN once again, but it also qualified her to care for her grandson, who required pediatric home care following a six-month stay in the NICU. With continued expert care, he overcame birth complications and now enjoys a healthy, normal life.
Following her grandson’s recovery, Sharon began working in the PICU at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Several years later, she transferred to adult care and adult ICU. She is currently a CCRN.
The Clevelands enjoy being with their three children and seven grandchildren as well as visiting friends and family in Utah. They participated in 2009 BYU Homecoming activities, and Sharon stopped by the College of Nursing to help assemble Newborn Kits, an annual Homecoming service project sponsored by the College of Nursing Alumni Board.
Asked what she liked most about her profession, Sharon replied, "The best part of nursing is the interaction with patients and their families; feeling like I’m making a difference. It is a very hard, challenging, emotionally-draining profession, but very rewarding."