Interview of Nancie Mlakar Bechtel by Debbie Cannon Freece

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Nancie Mlakar Bechtel describes her time as a nursing student at Ohio State and her subsequent career. She attended Ohio State as an undergraduate from 1978 to 1982, and she later received her Master's degree in Public Health from Ohio State as well. Her career started while she was a student at now-Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. After 18 years at Children's, she took a job at the Columbus Medical Association in its then-new Central Ohio Trauma System where she helped create and implement a plan for hospitals to work together to get patients with traumatic injuries the help they needed as quickly as possible. Bechtel spent 13 years there, then was recruited by then-Columbus Public Health Commissioner Teresa Long to serve as Assistant Health Commissioner, a position Bechtel held for seven years. After retirement, she consulted with medium-sized health departments to devise plans on how to share administrative resources, then she decided to come out of retirement, and she took a job as a manager at the Columbus contact center for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She eventually made the transition to Chief of Community Care for the Columbus VA, a position she still holds. She discusses some of the programs and initiatives in which she was involved at each stage of her career, and how nursing, particularly with the impact of technology, has changed over the years.


Remote interview.