A Passion for Providing Exceptional Patient Care

Infection Preventionist Calls NPMC “Home” for 38 Years

Barbara Chesshir, Infection Preventionist, has called National Park Medical Center home for 38 years. In her tenure with NPMC, she has served patients in several departments.

She grew up “an Air Force kid,” but has spent the majority of her life in Arkansas. She graduated from Fountain Lake and the nursing program at National Park College.

“I started in Med Surg while I was still in nursing school, and when I graduated and got married, I wanted to switch to a day shift,” Chesshir said. “I took a position as a staff nurse in ICU where I later became the nurse manager and did that for 12 years.”  

While raising her children, Chesshir wanted more time with them, so she moved to outpatient where she worked three days a week.

“Later I assisted with the start of the first Diabetic Foot Clinic in Hot Springs with Dr. Kleinhenz.  We started the Foot Clinic in our National Park Outpatient Unit,” she said. “I also managed branch offices for home health for a while. I’ve worked in case management, and have been in infection control here for 12 years. You can say I’ve done a little bit of everything here.”

She always knew she wanted to help and heal others, though she had set other career goals over the years. Nursing, however, was what she always came back to.

“I had lots of goals set for what I wanted to be when I grew up, and becoming a nurse was one thing I knew from a very young age I wanted to be,” she said. “At one time I wanted to be an attorney and run for president when I was old enough, but I stuck with nursing all these years. I’ve always loved nursing and taking care of patients — they are all truly precious to me.”

Aside from her patients, Chesshir loves the challenge that comes with each day. There is not a typical day in nursing, she said.

“Working in infection control and employee health, so many things can impact my schedule,” she said. “I may start the day with plans for chart review or education, but that can all easily change in a moment.”

It’s that challenge that drew her to infection prevention.

“It has been one of the most challenging/ever changing and never boring jobs I have ever had,” she said. “You have the opportunity to work with patients, physicians, employees, community, state and local agencies and National Agencies to improve Patient Care.”

One thing that won’t change for Chesshir is her passion for providing exceptional patient care, and care of her coworkers.

“I had an ER nurse point out how much I care about them, and that’s true for anyone here — they’re all special to me,” she said.   

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