Young Alumni Award Winner: Jonathan Friedman

Sep. 21, 2023 By: khadijahhenderson

<span>Young Alumni Award Winner: Jonathan Friedman</span>

Jonathan Friedman, BSN, RN, CCRN

Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing Class of 2020

Jonathan Friedman, BSN, RN, CCRN, gained valuable experience as an EMT and paramedic before answering the call to nursing.

Jon started college as a pre-med student. His dad and sister are both doctors and "that was all I knew," he says. "I liked science and I liked to help people."

His path was diverted his sophomore year of college when he saw a man fall and hit his face. While Jon had some basic first aid skills he learned in Boy Scouts, he felt helpless and was determined to know what to do to help an injured person in the future.

So he took an EMT class, graduated from Washington University, and went directly to EMT school. As he built experience, he became a critical care paramedic where he managed ventilation, medication infusions and mechanical circulatory support devices as patients were transported between hospitals and specialty ICUs.

"I enjoyed critical care transport," Jon explains. "It requires more thinking and less reacting and I like taking care of people."

He also became a paramedic instructor and then made a career turn into nursing. He chose Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing to launch his nursing career. "The name spoke for itself, plus the best doctors I knew were at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. It made sense. With tough academics, the College prepared me for the rigors of being a nurse."

As a self-described Type A personality who is driven and motivated, Jon continued working as a paramedic while he was in the College's Accelerated option.

After graduating in 2020, Jon began working in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit at Barnes-Jewish.

He believes his critical care paramedic experience has made him a better nurse. "Bringing a diverse career work background helps me think about things differently. And I'm cool under pressure. As a nurse, I'm not starting over—I'm adding to my skills."

Jon combines his clinical expertise with a love for teaching. He continues to teach paramedic courses in rural communities. Currently, he is an adjunct professor for a critical care and flight paramedic course focused on cardiology

"It's a wonderful opportunity to give back to a field that gave so much to me," Jon says. "I'm glad to pass on what I've learned to the next generation of EMTs."

While Jon admits nursing school was challenging, he is grateful he had mentors along the way. Now he is stepping up to mentor others. Jon has consistently been among the top three alumni mentors in the College's Mentor Collective Program.

"I'm glad to offer encouragement, emotional well-being support and professional job coaching," he says.

He's also a certified preceptor of new hire and new graduate nurses and is not ruling out a future in academics for nursing education.

Throughout his career, he has written several publications and given presentations. In July 2023, he was invited to present about a paper he wrote on acute trauma coagulation at a Combat Medical Care Conference in Germany. He accepted the invitation with his usual gusto and commitment to staying open to new opportunities. It's a career tip he often shares with nursing students.

"I've always been open to new ideas because you never know what might happen," he says.


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

Nominate a Young Alumni here.