Pin Donor: Cathryn Eckberg ’71
Maxwell Wuest says that the dedication to serving and caring for people is what drew him to the profession, adding, “I chose nursing because there’s no greater career than one that’s centered around serving others. I hope to make the world a better place through my military service and as a medical professional.”
Wuest will be graduating from the traditional BSN program after maintaining high academic performance while encountering some challenging situations in his personal life, working part time, and performing duties for the Army Reserves. “This includes extra training, promotion preparation, teaching soldiers, and monthly drill attendance,” explains Wuest.
Throughout his nursing undergraduate journey, Wuest has partaken in the United States Army Best Warrior Competition and has mentored other competitors in the successive competition. “This entailed physical training, mental preparation, and missing days to weeks of class time in order to train my peers,” he says.
A member of Sigma Theta Tau for his high academic performance, Wuest also volunteers for “Sharing a Legacy,” an organization run by Schlaefer Optometrists that helps provide eyeglasses, sunglasses, and eye exams to Nicaraguans.
Wuest is also currently taking part in a research study regarding the health of dementia care workers, performing research and providing information to dementia caregivers to help them administer care efficiently while also easing their workload.
Cathryn Eckberg ’71 donated the pin that Wuest received. “It is a symbol of UW nursing that I would like to be held by a new generation of Badger nurses,” she says. When she looks back at her time at UW–Madison, she fondly remembers clinical presentations where she and her fellow nursing students had the opportunity to truly learn about disease, human response, and facilitating recovery.
Eckberg comes from a medical family, and notes that she appreciates that nursing is a personal profession built on trust and relationships. “[It] allows for an individual to make a lasting and positive effect on the quality of life of another human being often at a time when that person is extremely vulnerable,” she says. “It is a profession that combines science, compassion, and presence.”
It’s because of those reasons that she chose nursing. After graduating from UW–Madison, Eckberg continued to pursue educational opportunities. “I immediately entered into the master’s program in maternal-child nursing at the University of Colorado,” she says. “I then was head nurse of outpatient pediatric clinics at the University of Iowa before entering my pediatric nurse practitioner (NP) program at UCLA. During all my postgraduate education, I supported myself working as a staff nurse or private duty nurse.”
Following the completion of her NP program, Eckberg became a commissioned officer in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), working in that role for three years in three different health care manpower shortage areas. “Sometimes I was the only on-site provider,” she says. Upon completion of her duties in the NHSC, she returned to Wisconsin and worked in college health, rural family practices, as well as a migrant clinic.
After a successful career, Eckberg’s advice for new Badger nurses is to be open to new opportunities. “Explore, grow, try new challenges,” she says. “You can make such a difference.”
Wuest is hoping to do just that. After graduating, he is looking forward to working as a trauma nurse in the UW Health residency program and eventually pursuing career in Med Flight.
“Receiving this nursing pin is a tremendous honor,” he says. “I hope to make my fellow Badger nurses proud as I enter my professional career. Knowing that I’m a part of this tradition inspires me to exceed expectations as a registered nurse and carry on this legacy. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along this journey.”