Meridian Star

April 1, 2013

Star of The Week: Sonja Chester

By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     You never know what your career path might be. Just ask Sonja Chester.

    While growing up in Lauderdale County, Chester aspired to be a pharmacist. But as she now willingly attests, God had different plans.

    "I never wanted to be a nurse," said the Northeast Lauderdale High School graduate in reference to her current post as host clinical liaison for Regency Hospital of Meridian.

     "As I grew up and having to deal with life choices, my life took a different direction. But by being obedient to God, I now have a very rewarding career that I enjoy."

    After graduating with an associate's degree in nursing from Meridian Community College in 2002, Chester began work at Regency as a floor nurse of the Med-Sug Unit. Six months later, she transferred to the hospital's High Observation Unit.

    In 2005, she took on the position of clinical liaison for Regency's North Mississippi area. After traveling marketing Regional Hospital for three years, Chester began her current position.

    "I love being able to talk with people and educate them everyday about our hospital, and the difference with health care and various facilities," she said.

    And though fulfilled in her current career, Chester isn't resting on her laurels. She is working on her bachelor of science degree in nursing at Mississippi University for Women and is scheduled to graduate in May. In the fall, Chester will begin work on her master of business administration degree at the University of South Alabama.

    "My goal is to one day move up with Regency Hospital and, hopefully, become the COO or CEO of one of their facilities," she said.

    As focused as she is with her career, Chester does allow herself at least one indulgence – shopping.

    "I literally have a shoe fetish and own approximately 250 pairs of shoes," she said, adding, "I always believed that you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear and the upkeep of them."

    The self-confessed shopaholic and shoe fanatic also has a secret passion that might surprise some: studying dinosaurs.

    "I take my children to dinosaur museums in each city we visit," said the single mother of three – De'Jah 16, Caleb 9, and Kaitlyn, 6.

    Spring is Chester's favorite time of the year and its recent arrival, she eagerly anticipates what the season has to offer.

    "I am looking forward to traveling and going to the beach with family and friends," she said. "I am also looking forward to cookouts and good ol' BBQ."

    And T-ball, which she has coached the last two years. She is a member of the Northeast Mississippi Youth Softball Organization.

    Chester's professional memberships include the American Nurses Association and the Mississippi Nurses Association.