Goldfarb Grads Receive Excellence in Nursing Awards

May. 12, 2021 By: Goldfarb School of Nursing

Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing prepares well-educated, adaptable, inquisitive and compassionate nurses. That’s why we’re proud to recognize three of our graduates who were recipients of the 2021 St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing Awards. The Excellence in Nursing Awards included 60 finalists in 18 categories covering a range of practices and experience levels. These awards spotlight the remarkable efforts of nurses across the region, especially during the pandemic.

Celebrating Our Winners

Ryan Boyer, RN, BSN 2012

Goldfarb alumnus Ryan Boyer, RN, BSN 2012, was recognized with an Excellence in Nursing Award in the Medical-Surgical Nursing category.

Boyer is a clinical team leader in Mercy Hospital South’s medical telemetry department where his colleagues appreciate his ability to provide calm, knowledge and leadership in times of high-stress situations.

Throughout his career, he has tapped his strengths in communication and teamwork. He is driven by a commitment to always challenge himself to know more and do more.

COVID-19 created numerous scenarios where Boyer’s broad skills shined. “Whenever COVID got as bad as it could, it became a challenge for the nurses to see the things we were seeing and then still have to keep our heads up and push through,” Boyer says. “For a lot of nurses and myself, we’re all stronger for having to go through COVID.”

John Gransbach, RN, BSN 2012

With COVID-19 straining mental health resources, Goldfarb graduate John Gransbach, RN, BSN 2012, was celebrated as an award winner in the Neurology/Psychology/Behavioral Health category.

As a clinical nurse educator in the pediatric behavioral unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Gransbach’s nursing role includes teaching staff about de-escalation and empathetic communication.

Gransbach is recognized for his ability to “walk the walk” and for going above and beyond to set a high standard for team members. He believes in starting every shift with a mindful minute for more positive energy and functioning.

His strengths were more important than ever with the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. “With COVID-19, there’s been an increase in not only admissions but also with people experiencing different kinds of feelings like social isolation and economic uncertainty,” Gransbach says. “A lot of kids needs a routine, and when you break that routine, it’s really hard for them.”

Melissa Eagan, RN, BSN 2016

As an Excellence in Nursing Award winner in the Orthopedics category, Goldfarb alumna Melissa Eagan, RN, BSN 2016, brings compassion to her pediatric orthopedic nurse educator role at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. She also stretches her role as a nurse to become a patient advocate, counselor and cheerleader.

“Nursing is so much more than medicine,” Eagan says. “It’s also about connecting with patients and their families. I have an opportunity every day to change someone’s life. Something so small to me can mean the world for someone else.”

She demonstrates that philosophy as she meets with children and their families to talk through diagnosis and treatment plans, usually for injury and trauma. Eagan’s colleagues note Eagan’s professionalism and dedication as she takes time to thoroughly explain procedures to relieve a family’s anxiety and goes the extra mile to smooth the surgery process for a child.

Honoring Life-Changing Professionals

Goldfarb is also proud that seven of our graduates were nominated as finalists in St. Louis Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Awards. These finalists include:

Advanced Practice: 

Julia Huck, RN, MSN 2003, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Whitney Jones, RN, BSN 2013, BJC Health Care/Parkland Health Center

Intensive Care:

Michelle Mendosa, RN, BSN 2014, St. Louis Children’s Hospital


Denise Dickey, RN, MSN 2014, Washington University School of Medicine

Barbara Ricken, RN, BSN 2013, St. Louis Children’s Hospital 


Kim Cordia, MS, RN, BSN 1999; Washington University School of Medicine


Pamela Harris, RN, BSN 1999, Mercy Research

In addition, one of our Goldfarb faculty members, Pierre Smith, DNP, NP, was recognized as winner in the Administrator category. He also received a Perfect Score Award in recognition of his many accomplishments, including nearly 40 years building a nursing career in the military, long-term care facilities, hospital leadership roles, and education and research.

Preparing Nurses for Every Challenge

St. Louis Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Awards shine a light on the nursing profession and the vital, life-changing work nurses do. They also showcase the importance of a strong foundation in education and training.