The award came inscribed with a definition of the word “hero” – “A person of distinguished courage or ability; admired for brave deeds and noble qualities.”

It wasn’t a recognition that 2001 graduate Andrea Miller expected, but when nominations began coming in for the Nevada Regional Medical Center’s annual Hero Awards, she was the clear majority vote-winner in the Clinical Leader of the Year category.

Miller says her initial interest was in becoming an ultrasound technician, but circumstances directed her to enroll in Missouri Southern’s respiratory therapy program instead.

“I really think that’s where God wanted me to be,” she said. “I enjoyed my time at Missouri Southern. All of my instructors were great. I had a good relationship with them and still do.”

As a student, she worked in the respiratory therapy department at St. John’s Regional Medical Center (now Mercy). Later, she was hired by the hospital in her hometown of Nevada.

Today, she serves as the director of NRMC’s Cardiopulmonary Department.

“Our department is open 24-7,” said Miller. “I manage 13 people on my staff, and also manage the sleep lab and pulmonary rehab center.”

The department runs the hospital’s pulmonary clinic and is preparing to start offering home sleep testing for their patients, she said.

Miller received one of the five 2018 NRMC Hero Awards during the hospital foundation’s annual gala fundraiser on Nov. 3. Nominations from her colleagues called her a “team player who values her patients and staff,” and commended her for “always striving to offer the latest and greatest services to help Nevada residents and our patients.”

“It was an honor to receive the award,” said Miller. “I feel like I struggle daily to find the right balance as a manager, and sometimes I feel like I let my co-workers down. But I have such a good support staff.”