Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Nancy Raskas Agronin-Blonsky

Sep. 19, 2023 By: khadijahhenderson

<span>Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Nancy Raskas Agronin-Blonsky</span>

Nancy Raskas Agronin-Blonsky, RN, PA, Therapeutic Apheresis RN

Jewish Hospital School of Nursing 1964

From the day Nancy Raskas Agronin-Blonsky, RN, PA, Therapeutic Apheresis RN, graduated high school she was on a quest to learn more.

As a student at Washington University majoring in economics, she heard a plea on the radio for more nurses to address the shortage. Feeling tugged to help people, she inquired at Jewish Hospital School of Nursing (the legacy school of Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing), took an admissions test, and was offered a full-ride scholarship from the state of Missouri.

"I always had a desire to help others because I grew up caring for my mother," Nancy says.

She started her career as a labor and delivery nurse at the former Jewish Hospital. Soon, she became supervisor of a 200-bed hospital in Wisconsin. After she married, she moved frequently with her husband due to his job. "I was licensed as a nurse in seven states," Nancy says. "There was always a shortage of nurses so I always had a job. And wherever I was, I took courses."

These included computer courses, as well as Physician Assistant courses to support her role analyzing patients giving plasma. This education further benefited her career as her responsibilities become more complex as a therapeutic apheresis nurse.

Nancy credits her strong education for her career success. she says. "It's gives me satisfaction using my education and experience to help patients have better outcomes," she says. "I've been fortunate to touch nearly every area of nursing. What I enjoy most is helping others."

While Nancy retired as a "hands-on" nurse in 2001, she didn't stop helping people. For 15 years, she has been teaching a strengthening and balance class for senior adults. She became certified as a Matter of Balance coach and hosts classes on YouTube.

The list of her volunteer efforts is almost as long as her career roles. For example, she volunteers for a program that helps seniors age in place. As a breast cancer survivor, she also served on a local board of the American Cancer Society. Nancy has received numerous awards for her volunteer achievements.

"It's rewarding knowing I have a purpose—it drives me," she says. "And as I tell people in my classes, if you don't use it, you lose it.

In recent years, Nancy decided to leave a legacy and give back by establishing a nursing scholarship through The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "I've come full circle because I started my career with a scholarship," Nancy says.

Since she retired, she has continued being a patient advocate for friends and family. "Once a nurse, always a nurse," Nancy says. "My time in uniform is over but being a nurse never ends."


The Distinguished Alumni Award will be given during this year's Homecoming Celebration on Sept. 29.

Nominate a Distinguished Alumni here.