Adena Physicians & Staff

A dedicated career to health and service gets the recognition it deserves

News Image

In a filled ballroom Tuesday night at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, Adena Fayette Medical Center social worker Cheryl Royster heard her name called to an abundance of applause. It was at that moment she realized she was among the top five finalists for the Ohio Hospital Association’s Health Care Worker of the Year Award. 

The recognition dinner was part of OHA’s annual meeting being held this week and brought together the 74 award nominees from health systems and hospitals from across the state of Ohio. 

Presented annually since 1996, OHA’s Albert E. Dyckes Health Care Worker of the Year Award recognizes Ohio caregivers who personify a leader, motivates colleagues, influences others, provides valuable service and contributes, personifies the mission, vision and values of the organization, and has an impact in their community. Cheryl is the first Adena Health caregiver to be named a finalist for the award.

Although she didn’t win, Cheryl is truly honored by the recognition and finalist finish. She is quick to add too she’s not all that comfortable with the attention that comes with it.

“I just feel like I’m doing my job,” Cheryl says. 

The Washington Court House native has been a social worker for 50 years and was the first social worker hired at then Fayette County Memorial Hospital in 1977.

“In high school, I told my guidance counselor I wanted to do something to help people,” she says. “I batted around what that was, but in the end I felt social work was where I’m supposed to be and I never looked back.”

Cheryl says she enjoys making a difference for patients and families. “You have to put yourself in their place.” she says. “Hospitals can be intimidating. Helping facilitate a patient’s care and making sure they’re comfortable is important.”

That caring touch is extended through Cheryl’s efforts to help her coworkers and her community. She serves as the chair of the Adopt a Family program at AFMC and is also active on a number of hospital committees, including the employee engagement committee. She has co-chaired the annual community health fair for the past 33 years and serves on the boards of the Central Ohio Area Agency and the Fayette County Community Action Organization. Cheryl also serves on an advisory council for Miami Trace High School and works with Fayette County Public Health’s Children Offered Resources Early program. 

“If I can help, then why not?” Cheryl says. “Help and make a difference and you will be a better person for it. What you get in return is much more than what you give.”

After more than four decades, Cheryl continues to love her job and her coworkers, who she considers family. She also encourages others to consider a career in social work or health care. 

“Anyone who wants to make a difference should consider health care,” Cheryl says. “I hope they will also look at social work as the community’s needs are only getting greater.”