Dr. John Nash is a numbers guy. After caring for thousands of patients, delivering more than 1,500 babies and dedicating 25 years to Mercy Hospital Berryville, the family physician is hanging up his stethoscope for good.
On Monday, Dec. 7, Mercy will celebrate Dr. Nash’s journey, which didn’t start in health care. Born in Arkansas, Dr. Nash grew up in Oregon. “That’s where I developed an interest in math and pursued electrical engineering,” he said. His first job was with Motorola’s Government Electronics Division designing radar antennas. “I absolutely love math, but working for the government, you soon realize that many projects are canceled before they see the light of day. I wanted to have something to show for my work – a one-on-one relationship.”
So he moved to Milwaukee to study medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. From there, he interned at a charity hospital in Louisiana. “That’s where I realized I had a passion for obstetrics,” he said. “I delivered about 200 babies there. It was a dream come true, and I was ready to build on that.”
A two-year residency in Fort Smith, Arkansas, sealed the deal, and he’s been in the Natural State ever since. He joined Carroll Regional Medical Center – now Mercy Hospital Berryville – in 1990.
“When I first arrived, I just wanted to know how much work I’d get to do, and how many babies I would get to deliver,” he said. “Since then, I’ve picked up a lot of fond memories – and they all revolve around my patients, co-workers and this fantastic community.”
A humble physician, Dr. Nash prides himself on following through with patients, watching them grow and expand their families.
“You have to look at the whole, big picture,” he said. “Whether it’s babies, teenagers, their parents or the elderly, it’s all about the patients. It’s about the community. It’s the people that made the last 25 years so great.”
The people have many memories themselves.
“He absolutely has a heart of gold,” said Brandy Allen, patient services representative at Mercy. “I remember, years ago he delivered a premature baby that had to be rushed to a specialty hospital. The mother was just beside herself because she wasn’t able to get on the helicopter with her child. Dr. Nash gave her gas money to get to Little Rock to be with her baby. And that’s just one of the many stories.”
“Dr. Nash is always giving back,” said practice manager Suzann Bradley. “His faith guides him, and led him into doing good for the community, like volunteering at the local clinic for low-income families. In the 10 years I’ve worked beside him, I’ve never met a more caring person. We’re going to miss him dearly.”
“It’s not lost on me how lucky I’ve been since I came here a quarter of a century ago,” Dr. Nash said, who offers this advice for upcoming doctors: “Be patient, and be willing to work and push yourself to keep your skills sharp. Stay focused on patients and training and it will all fall into place, as long as you push yourself. Because of that, and working in a small town, I was allowed to do things not everybody gets to do. It’s been pretty special.”
To mark the special occasion, Mercy Hospital Berryville is inviting co-workers, community members and the media to a retirement party for Dr. Nash from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, in the hospital cafeteria at 214 Carter Street. Refreshments will be served.
In the meantime, Dr. Nash still has some numbers to count. In six weeks – January 8, to be exact – he’ll officially be retired, gaining 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to spend with his family, which includes four grandchildren – not a bad equation for a guy who loves kids.