Jan “Nursie” Stearns Wyatt, class of 1971, got her Keuka College nickname as a freshman – and it followed her throughout her years at the College. A proud nursing student, she served as vice president of the class for three years and was the leading scorer for the Women’s Basketball team (coached by Bruce Westerdahl) for four years. She organized, researched, and provided the testimony to the Board of Trustees for removing prohibitions and allowing students to have alcohol on campus. Topping off her senior year, she enlisted in the Navy and was the WAA Queen in the 1971 May Day Court.
Jan completed two years of active service as a Navy Nurse followed by 13 years of reserve duty with the U.S. Army Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel. Her public service career includes being the Chief Executive Officer of the National Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, which led to advanced certification programs for more than 70,000 nurses while helping children’s hospitals and nursing organizations improve education, research, and pediatric nursing practice to secure the future health and well-being of children and youth. In addition, Jan completed her Ph.D. in Health Education and taught at several universities and healthcare organizations, and has travelled worldwide as a speaker at nursing conferences.
What is inspiring about Dr. Jan is her creative and progressive ideals, which have promoted nursing practices benefitting children and their families at the level of Nurse Practitioner. These benefits came about through work at the executive level, improving many programs based upon research and their application to current medical practice. She has tirelessly worked to represent children and their families who receive improved services by health care organizations at the community and national levels.
It is so inspiring to have watched this woman work with families, communities, and national organizations, leaving a positive footprint for peers and colleagues to continue into the future. I, too, have been inspired by her positivity and success, and honored her spirit throughout my years as a member of the Class of 1973, and as her biological sister. Jan remains in close contact with her Nursing “sisters” from Keuka’s Class of 1971, gathering yearly to celebrate and discuss future nursing practice ideals.
Jan has inspired so many women and families, from all walks of life, during her more than 40-year career, beginning at Keuka College and continuing throughout her life.
Submitted by Libby Stearns Faison, class of '73