Homecoming 2014: Our Time in History

BJH19605_StandaloneThe Barnes-Jewish College Alumni Association invites all alumni and students to the Our Time in History homecoming celebration on Friday, October 10 from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. The daylong celebration will take place at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College Duncan Campus site located at 4483 Duncan Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110.

We ask everyone who plans to attend homecoming to RSVP by October 1.

Homecoming Schedule of Events

8:30 a.m. – Lobby
Registration Opens

9 a.m. – Lobby and Plaza Auditorium
Memorial Celebration Breakfast
Begin the day with a memorial breakfast to celebrate members of the nursing school community we have lost. (Please email JCowell-Oates@bjc.org to share names of fellow classmates, faculty and/or staff members that you would like added to the memorial.)

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Lobby
Service Project
In celebration of St. Louis’ 250th birthday and Goldfarb’s history of community involvement, we are committed to helping reach The United Way of Greater St. Louis and stl250 goal of recruiting over 250,000 volunteers for service projects in 2014. Goldfarb will host an on-site service project open to all attendees.

10:30 – 11 a.m. – Plaza Auditorium
State of the College
Michael Bleich, PhD, RN, FAAN, president and Maxine Clark and Bob Fox dean at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, to update attendees on the state of the college.

11 – 11:30 a.m. – Plaza Auditorium
Research Department Update
Jean Davis, PhD, RN, Paul J. McKee senior associate dean for research and PhD program director at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, to update attendees on the research department developments.

12 p.m. – Lobby/Commons
Enjoy lunch with fellow attendees.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. – Plaza Auditorium
Nursing Humorist
Be entertained by the lighter side of nursing with comedian Patty Wooten, RN.

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. – Plaza Auditorium
Distinguished Alumni Awards
The Barnes-Jewish College Alumni Association is set to present the 2014 distinguished alumni award to Barbara Riegel, DNSc, RN, FAAN, FAHA and Marlene Rosenkoetter, PhD, RN, FAAN for their contributions to the advancement of the nursing profession.

3:30 p.m. – Lobby
A Look Back in History
See artifacts from throughout our history, including from a time capsule found in the old Jewish Hospital School of Nursing building.

4 – 6:30 p.m. – Lobby/Commons
Our Time in History Homecoming Celebration
Join students, alumni, faculty and staff for a homecoming celebration with food, fun and dancing.

*The event agenda is subject to change

To RSVP, please fill out the 2014 Homecoming RSVP form by October 1. For additional information, please contact June Cowell-Oates, director of alumni affairs and program officer, at JCowell-Oates@bjc.org.

Goldfarb School of Nursing installs three new leaders

By Joyce Romine

Recently installed Goldfarb School of Nursing chairs include, from left, Jean Davis, PhD, RN, Paul J. McKee Jr. Senior Associate Dean for Research; Gretchen Drinkard, PhD, RN, CNE, Jack Taylor Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; and Gail Rea, PhD, RN, CNE, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Endowed Chair for Advanced Nursing. | Photo by Tim Parker

Recently installed Goldfarb School of Nursing chairs include, from left, Jean Davis, PhD, RN, Paul J. McKee Jr. Senior Associate Dean for Research; Gretchen Drinkard, PhD, RN, CNE, Jack Taylor Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; and Gail Rea, PhD, RN, CNE, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Endowed Chair for Advanced Nursing. | Photo by Tim Parker

Three nurses have recently been installed in endowed chairs at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. The new chairs are:

– Jean Davis, PhD, RN, Paul J. McKee Jr. Senior Associate Dean for Research
– Gretchen Drinkard, PhD, RN, CNE, Jack Taylor Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
– Gail Rea, PhD, RN, CNE, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Endowed Chair for Advanced Nursing

“Through these endowments, our generous donors to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital have made an extraordinary investment in the Goldfarb School of Nursing,” says Michael Bleich, PhD, RN, Maxine Clark and Bob Fox Dean and Professor, and president of Barnes-Jewish College and Goldfarb School of Nursing. “We deeply appreciate their support that gives us the opportunity to recruit and retain top academic and research talent to serve the college and the community in a rapidly changing environment.

“The future of health care depends on our ability to bring the best and brightest into the health professions, particularly nurses,” Bleich adds. “The leadership positions at Goldfarb, expressed through these endowed chairs, will be the driving force behind attracting and educating the best students.”

The Barnes-Jewish Hospital Endowed Chair for Advanced Nursing is a newly created clinical endowed chair. Dr. Rea is the first to hold the chair.

“With breadth and depth of knowledge, each of the newly appointed chairs brings specific strengths in that they all have a solid commitment to making the next generation of nurses the best they can be,” Bleich says. “Dr. Davis has deep expertise in nursing science and will lead the college to exponential growth in research. Dr. Drinkard has extensive experience as both a nurse practitioner and a nurse educator to lead the academic enterprise. And Dr. Rea was a foremost leader in promoting evidence-based nursing practice, bridging science and practice. Together, they will play a significant role in leading nursing care into the future to benefit all patients.”

Retiree leaves legacy of successful nurses

by Chris Quirk


Karen Bess

In a venerable nursing and teaching career spanning 48 years, there’s little that Karen Bess hasn’t seen, sometimes more than once. 

“It’s interesting when something from the past — like the concept of group testing that we did in the 70s, for instance — comes back into the curriculum as it has recently, although in a different way,” Bess says. 

Bess will retire from Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College April 30. 

After receiving her diploma from the former Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in 1967 and taking the two-day paper-and-pencil Missouri State Board of Nursing exam for her registered nurse license, she began her career at the former Jewish Hospital as a staff nurse on the obstetrical unit. Over the next eight years, Bess worked there as nurse, head nurse and administrator, earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Louis University on a full scholarship. She began her teaching career in 1974 at Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. 


Karen Millican (Bess) in 1967

Though apprehensive at first, Bess warmed to teaching almost immediately. “My parents were both teachers, but I didn’t think I wanted to do it,” she says. “It was that era where lots of people didn’t like teachers as it wasn’t very cool, but once I started, I loved it. It was exciting.” 

As an instructor, and later assistant professor, Bess taught obstetrical and women’s health courses for 40 years. 

Throughout Bess’ teaching career, she often held concurrent clinical appointments and continued her education with a master’s degree in education and later, a master’s degree in nursing. Bess credits the education degree with helping her to expand the breadth of her work in the classroom. “We learned a great deal about the theories of education,” she says. “The instruction in curriculum development was also useful in terms of putting together courses and syllabi, preparing exams and clarifying objectives.” 

Bess’ students took advantage of her vast knowledge of nursing and teaching skills over the years. Mary Kay Michael, a former student who now works as a nurse in the special care nursery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, recalls the supportive aspects of Bess’ teaching style. “She was always very kind and caring, willing to help you when you needed it, and ready to listen at any time,” Michael says. 


Karen Millican (Bess) talks with fellow nursing students at the former Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in 1967. | Courtesy photo

Bess says she worked to make students feel comfortable. “Many of them don’t have a lot of experience with infants,” she says. “It’s important for them to see what it’s like doing family-centered care.” 

The school will miss the way Bess taught and treated her students, her colleagues say. “I’ve had the privilege of knowing Karen for the past nine years,” says Gail Rea, Goldfarb associate dean of undergraduate programs. “Karen’s desire is that every student be successful. She takes interest in the students’ lives and personal accomplishments. Karen has freely shared her expertise and love for nursing with me, for which I will forever be grateful. She is one of the kindest people I know.” 

It’s not just colleagues and students who’ve been influenced by Bess’ expertise and love for nursing. Her daughter, Robin Welch, is a registered nurse in the OR at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital. 

Bess is nostalgic about her lasting career at BJH and Goldfarb. “This is the only job that I ever really had, working and teaching at this hospital,” Bess says. “The people I know here have been like a family. I met my husband here; both of us worked here together for many years. I feel like I belong in that hospital, I’ve spent so much time there. That’s what I’m going to miss when I retire.” 

Vice dean of finance and administration also retiring


Tom Edler

Tom Edler, vice dean of finance and administration at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, is set to retire in May after 34 years of service on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital campus. 

Starting his career in the accounting department as the director of budgets and Medicare cost reporting at BJH, Edler has seen a lot of change throughout the hospital and the college. “One of my first tasks was to convert the budget process from a paper-and-pencil process to a computerized process,” Edler recalls. He spent 18 years working in various clinical departments throughout the hospital until joining the college in 1998. “The college has been constantly changing while I’ve been here. It has grown in student enrollment, as well as new programs and also a new building. It’s been fast-paced and exciting.” 

His colleagues say Edler has been a major contributor to the growth and success of the college. “I’ve worked with Tom for more than 14 years,” says Wade Lehde, Goldfarb information systems director. “His dedication to students, faculty and staff provided significant contributions to the college through times of transition and growth. Tom has been a true leader, doing his part to make the college what it is today, and his presence will be sorely missed. His sense of humor always provided release — seemingly at just the right time — and his knowledge of how to masterfully navigate through the BJH/BJC systems to acquire the resources the college needed has been extremely important to the college’s success.” 

“During my years with the hospital and college, I have been fortunate to work with a number of highly talented and committed individuals,” Edler says. “These are the people who make this hospital and this college great. They go above and beyond for the patients, for the students or for their colleagues. They are what I will miss most, but I know they will continue to take good care of my hospital and my college.” 

Join in celebrating Karen Bess’ and Tom Edler’s careers, 3:30-5:30 p.m. April 22, with a presentation at 3:45 p.m., in the lobby of Goldfarb Hall at Goldfarb School of Nursing. RSVP for the celebration by emailing GSON-RSVP@bjc.org.

Advance your learning and develop as a leader

ImageFor more than 50 years, nurse practitioners have provided high quality, cost efficient patient care, establishing themselves as an integral component of the health care team. Their roles continue evolve in response to societal influences; in particular, expanded access to health care, provider shortages, the aging population and the trend of cost containment.

To address this evolution in health care, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College offers the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) concentration, a master’s degree program for nurses with a minimum of two years’ recent critical care experience.

“Acute care nurse practitioners draw from their valuable experiences as bedside nurses and integrate the knowledge and skills acquired in their advanced nursing education into patient care,” says Beth Beyatte, director of the AGACNP program. “This is the next logical step for nurses interested in expanding their practice and maintaining close relationships with their patients by participating in the overall management of their illnesses.”

AGACNPs provide advanced nursing care in a variety of practice settings to adult and geriatric patients experiencing acute, critical, complex chronic health conditions. While many AGACNPs practice in hospitals in areas that include emergency departments, intensive care units and general patient care areas, they also work in specialty care, long-term acute care and ambulatory care settings. They are involved in all aspects of patient management, working collaboratively with physicians and other members of the health care team to stabilize patients, minimize complications and promote physical and psychological wellbeing.

Students in the Goldfarb AGACNP program gain hands-on clinical experience at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, one of the nation’s best hospitals. Unlike most schools, Goldfarb pre-arranges relationships with clinical sites and preceptors so students do not have to do this work on their own. “Preceptors and clinical sites can be a hot commodity for advanced practice nursing students. Securing them removes the responsibility from the students and allows them to concentrate on other aspects of their education. Our students learn from top-notch advanced practice nursing providers, physicians and other members of the health care team. I feel confident they are receiving the best nursing that medicine has to offer,” Beyatte says.

The 27-month sequential program includes small, face-to-face classes. Students establish a strong connection with faculty, who actively practice in the clinical setting. Specialty courses provide an in-depth review of system-specific health problems commonly seen in the acute care setting. They also offer students the opportunity to hone their skills in ECG and radiology interpretation and perform invasive procedures in Goldfarb’s technologically advanced simulation center.

Graduates of the program are prepared to assume the many responsibilities associated with the role of the AGACNP nurse and the demands of the patient population. “There are always opportunities for growth and leadership as an AGACNP,” Beyatte says. “The possibilities are endless.”

If you’re ready to advance your learning and develop as a leader in your field, apply for Goldfarb’s AGACNP program. Apply online at BarnesJewishCollege.edu/ApplyNow or contact the admissions office by phone at 314-454-7057 or by email at gson-admissions@bjc.org.

Student Focus: A Nurse First, an Airman Second

Second Lieutenant Jeremy Nelson (right) at his commissioning ceremony with Captain Alan Millais (left).

“I’m a people person,” explains recent Goldfarb School of Nursing grad Jeremy Nelson. “So I planned on going to school to be a teacher. I never thought I would become a nurse and certainly didn’t think I would join the Air Force.” And although many people wouldn’t put the words “nursing” and “Air Force” in the same sentence, Nelson does, because he felt God’s hand leading him to both.

Because both his parents were in the nursing field, Nelson knows about the passion and dedication this career requires. He learned more about the profession as friends became nurses, and his interest in nursing grew as they encouraged him to consider the career for himself. Finally, after time spent working in retail, Nelson decided he wanted to start helping people facing real problems, not retail problems. As a nurse, he knew he could use his people skills to significantly impact lives every day. So at the age of 29, with a wife and baby at home, Nelson enrolled at Goldfarb and took his first nursing class.

In that class, Nelson learned about a number of career options, including military nursing. Nelson says, “I thought to myself…well, that’s not going to happen. I have a wife, a baby, and I’m too old.” Still, the option of joining the military intrigued him. He looked through some brochures and talked to other Goldfarb students – some older than Nelson, one with three kids – who had chosen the military. During the same time frame, Nelson’s father-in-law suddenly passed away and was honored with a military funeral. With increased curiosity, Nelson reached out to his cousin-in-law, Alan Millais, a captain in the U.S. Air Force. “Alan really ignited my desire to join the military,” says Nelson “So many things were leading me that direction; I felt called to join.”

During his last term at Goldfarb, Nelson applied to the U.S. Air Force nursing program. Out of 250 applicants, only 50 were accepted. Nelson recalls how it felt when he received the acceptance phone call. “I said, ‘This is Jeremy Nelson,’ and the recruiter said, ‘You mean Lieutenant Jeremy Nelson.’ I was ecstatic!”

On October 27, at Goldfarb Hall during his commissioning ceremony, Nelson became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. This winter Nelson will report to commissioned officer training to start his six-year commitment. “I will be a nurse first and an airman second,” says Nelson.

Nelson looks forward to his time in the Air Force. He knows there will be numerous opportunities for him to learn and grow in the field of nursing and in personal character. He intends to seek an advanced nursing degree and ultimately hopes to earn a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. “It would be such an honor to teach others about serving people through nursing, but I never want to entirely leave the clinical setting.”