On December 13th, we celebrated the National Guard’s birthday, acknowledging the sacrifices of our past and present soldiers. Patricia “Faith” Nelson Eagles, hospice on-call registered nurse at Compassus, is a National Guard Veteran who shares how these two sides of her life have shaped who she is today.
How long have you been with Compassus?
I have now been with Compassus for the past 10 years in the (RN) on-call position.
What motivates you at work?
My motivation at work comes from years of disciplined demanding work and accepting challenges.
I am grateful that I was chosen to be in the Army National Guard for the variety of experiences and fundamentals I learned in my time.
Why did you join the National Guard?
I was selected after trying out for the 147th Army Band National Guard, a division of the Army National Guard, along with my high school best friend. We played in the Honors State band. We were the two youngest women selected for the band, joining straight out of high school.
I grew up in a small rural town in South Dakota and had never ventured far. I flew on an airplane for the first time to Fort McClellan, Alabama, for my basic training with the Army, as was the prerequisite. It was an unforgettable experience in boot camp where discipline was the key to everything we did.
Many of the skills I learned in basic training have been applicable to areas of my life and career. I completed the training and because of the bonus I got from joining the National Guard, I was able to pursue my four-year degree in nursing with my tuition paid. After completing my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at South Dakota State University, I was recruited by the Navy to be commissioned as a Lieutenant. My first Naval base station was Norfolk, Virginia. However, my fiancé at the time was stationed at the Navy Medical Center in Bethesda, so I chose to accept a GS11 (Captain) Charge nurse position at the Navy Medical Center. As a new graduate, I quickly learned how to delegate and oversee a busy surgical ward.
When my husband was discharged, we moved back to Missouri to be closer to family. For the next 40 years that followed, I worked in a supervisory or charge role position for a variety of clinical specialty areas. I am certain my experience in the military at such an early age gave me the discipline and confidence to succeed in my career.
Can you talk about yours and your family’s history with the military?
I have a strong family rooted in the military. My father was a Korean war veteran, and all my uncles were in the military. I have a younger brother who is a Lt. Colonel in the Army. All three of his children are also serving in the Army/Airforce, which I hope will have an influence on my grandchildren to join the military too.
In what way do you think Compassus supports our Veterans?
I feel Compassus serves our Veterans by offering tailored hospice services, participating in the local Honor Flight program, and honoring working Veteran team members at Compassus.
Patricia “Faith” Nelson Eagles, Hospice On-Call Registered Nurse, National Guard Veteran