Hickory, NC Man Works to Advance Nursing

Hickory, NC Man Works to Advance Nursing

Hickory Daily Record

August 31, 2009

As a 15-year-old orderly at a Rutherford County hospital, Eddie Beard was impressed by the highly structured, nearly formalized interactions among nurses in crisp, white uniforms and doctors in immaculate lab coats.

“It was almost like a dance,” said Beard, now the 46-year-old senior vice president of patient services at Catawba Valley Medical Center.

“I fell in love with the hospital setting and felt honored to be even a small part of it.”

Beard said much has changed in hospitals and in the nursing profession during the last 31 years, but his love for both has only grown.

“I can’t think of anything else in the world that I’d rather be doing,” he said.

“I’m one of those fortunate people who got it right from the get-go.”

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A Forest City native, Beard moved to Hickory in 1981 to pursue a nursing degree at Lenoir-Rhyne College. He worked his way through Lenoir-Rhyne and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he received a master’s degree in nursing in 1990.

During those years, Beard worked at Frye Regional Medical Center as a staff nurse and nurse manager and in critical care at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

While pursuing his master’s degree, Beard asked Margery Adams, then vice president of patient services at Catawba Valley Medical Center, to be his preceptor for graduate school residency. Adams accepted.

The arrangement proved to be beneficial for both.

“We spent a semester working together, and Margery took me under her wing,” Beard said.

Adams hired Beard as associate vice president of patient services, and spent the next couple of years preparing him to step into her job upon her retirement.

Adams, who had spent two decades building the hospital’s nursing staff, wanted to see her work continued.

“I was impressed with Eddie from the start,” Adams said. “The whole time we worked together he seemed to understand my approach to nursing: You look after your nurses so they can look after the patients. Eddie understood that.”

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