Patricia (Steen) Eckart and Captain Jeremy Nelson were named 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awardees at this year’s homecoming luncheon. Though these awardees differ in the number of years spent in their chosen professions, both have exhibited a commitment to nursing education, research and service.
Patricia (Steen) Eckart, RN
Eckart is a member of the Barnes Hospital School of Nursing inaugural class, graduating in 1958. During her career, she held a number of leadership positions, always exhibiting a strong awareness of human need and a passion for public service.
After graduation, and after taking some time to start a family, Eckart was appointed nursing director for a 100-bed, geriatric, skilled-nursing facility in West Covina, California. She was then recruited to run the nursing department for a multiple-facility medical center nearby, a position that prepared her to assume responsibility for discharge planning and utilization at Intercommunity Medical Center (ICM), a 275-bed acute-care hospital in Covina. She eventually became director of patient services at ICM. In 1989, when the hospice movement took hold, Eckart was instrumental in developing ICM’s hospice unit, which was then the second freestanding, hospital-based hospice unit in the United States.
Throughout her career, Eckart has been active in serving her community in a variety of ways, including working at homeless shelters, and putting her nursing and managerial skills to work for nonprofit organizations and others organizations in need. After retiring and moving to Arkansas, Eckart was recruited to serve as a special advocate to abused and neglected children, representing their welfare in the court system. For the past 10 years, Eckart and her husband have worked with Laborers for Christ, traveling across the country with this group that builds churches, schools and daycare centers for communities in need. Eckart, who keeps her RN license up to date, provides nursing care to the workers and others onsite. She also works with the Kiwanis Club to provide Christmas gifts for children in foster care each year.
Eckart has received numerous recognitions for her public service. She was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club and won the Governor’s Volunteer Excellence Award for her service to the citizens of Arkansas.
See how Eckart’s passion for the nursing profession, and for helping those in need, earned the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Captain Jeremy Nelson, BSN, RN
Nelson graduated from Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College in 2012. And as he noted at the time, he didn’t think he would become a nurse—or join the Air Force. But he’s done both and is now a flight nurse and medical crew director (MCD) in the Air Force’s elite Aeromedical Evacuation Group. This crew transports the sick and wounded from battlefields and remote locations to medical centers, where they can receive the next level of lifesaving care.
After completing his commissioned officer’s training for the Air Force, Nelson first worked as a clinical nurse at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and then at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey during that country’s recent turbulence.
Nelson was a key player in his assignments at both locations. During his time at Langley, he was responsible for optimizing patient outcomes and maximizing the hospital’s resources as a data analyst, and was later assigned to the post-anesthesia care unit. He also used his talents as a teacher by working as an instructor for base personnel, teaching emergency life-support techniques. While working as a clinical nurse and continuing to teach, Nelson also served as the liaison for other NATO personnel posted at the base in Turkey.
Currently, Nelson is in the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill., a prestigious position that required demanding training. Aeromedical-evacuation crew members work on retrofitted transport planes that have little margin for error in the event of medical or aircraft emergencies. Despite the sometimes extreme circumstances that come with these airlift operations, patients have a remarkable 98.9 percent survivability rate once they enter the care of Air Force aeromedical-evacuation nurses.
See how Nelson’s passion and intelligence earned him a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.
About the Distinguished Alumni Award
The annual award was created to commemorate graduates who have made outstanding contributions to nursing and community during their professional careers. The award also knowledges the life journeys of the awardees, and it recognizes extraordinary dedication and commitment to nursing service, research and education.
Candidates for the Distinguished Alumni Award are nominated by members of the Goldfarb community. Nominees must be living graduates of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College or a legacy school and must meet other specific criteria. In addition, nominees’ careers should reflect excellence in the discipline of nursing and participation in professional and community activities.
Visit the Distinguished Alumni Award page to learn more, see full criteria and nominate an exceptional nurse for next year’s award.