By Mercy's Madelynn Innes
By air and by ground, from the dispatcher’s desk and even in the classroom, David Black has dedicated 14 years so far to life-saving emergency assistance. At 42, it appears he’s just getting started.
“This month, I’m starting in the ER at Mercy in Springfield,” he said.
In May, David graduated from the nursing program at Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences/SBU. From roughly 100 graduates, he was voted by the entire nursing program’s faculty to receive the school’s Florence Nightingale Award, which recognizes a student’s compassion, courage and professionalism in nursing.
“I graduated with many remarkable people,” he said. “So I consider it quite an honor to be selected. I feel privileged to work in a place that would take the time to reach out and recognize it.”
David got his start with Mercy stocking shelves. “We’d just moved to town, and I knew I needed a job with health insurance,” he explained. Working in a patient-centered environment offered more than he expected – a taste of what he was really meant to do in life.
“Based on my undergraduate degree in youth ministry, I was on a very different career path,” he said. Working in the hospital, however, brought back memories of an accident he’d had in his 20s and the people who took care of him. “I remembered how the paramedics helped me. I guess that paved the way to my decision to enroll in EMT school.”
David took his first job as a paramedic with the Osage Beach Ambulance Service and soon after began a second job with St. John's EMS dispatch center. After five years, he left the ambulance service in Osage Beach to serve as a field supervisor with St. John’s EMS Greene County. With nursing school ramping up, last fall, David left the dispatch center, but he has continued to serve as a paramedic with Mercy’s Life Line crew out of Bolivar, a position he’s had the last four years.
Even as a full-time member of our ER team, David will continue working with Life Line and Greene County on a PRN or as needed basis. And, when there’s a call to teach advanced and pediatric life support classes through Mercy Talent and Development, he’s done that too and wants to keep it up.
“Experience-wise, I’ve gotten to taste a variety of what's out there in emergency services. I’ve dispatched the call and I’ve responded to the scene, plus, I’ve been in the field as a supervisor. I think those experiences have helped me understand people a little better and show compassion for what they’re going through.”
Even though David entered nursing school as an experienced paramedic, his instructors said he worked hard at adding new nursing knowledge to his experiences. “He took his role as a nursing student very seriously and worked diligently in improving patient care while in the clinical area,” said Suzie Morrow, Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences/SBU associate professor, ASN program.
“David looks at his patients with dignity, respect and a holistic manner,” added Greg Owens, MSN, RN, another one of his instructors from the ASN program. “He is a genuine, caring and intelligent man who exhibits the Mercy values in his life and nursing care.”
Proud of the opportunities he’s had so far to serve, David is equally proud of his responsibilities as a dad, like coaching his daughters’ soccer teams. “Things like that are important, and I’ve been fortunate to have a work schedule that allows me to do it.”
Earning his degree and becoming a nurse is something David is very proud of – it’s a win-win opportunity, he said, that allows him to continue helping others while advancing his ability to provide for his wife and four daughters. “I have five reasons to be motivated and do my best,” he said. “My wife and my four daughters. I want to go home at the end of the day and be proud of what I’ve done and be a good example for them.”