Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2017 Honorees
Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished nursing professionals.
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Francis Feld has worked everywhere from professional football stadiums to makeshift medical tents.
Feld, 63, is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at UPMC Passavant Hospital specializing in thoracic anesthesia, a paramedic for Ross West View EMS, medical group supervisor for the Allegheny County Hazardous Materials Medical Response Team and a supervisory nurse specialist for the Federal PA-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.
Needless to say, he appreciates a challenge.
The need to constantly adapt to new scenarios and stay on top of an ever-changing field is what drew Feld to nursing.
“It’s nice to go to work knowing you have to bring your A game every day,” he says. “You have to be able to adapt and think ahead.”
Prior to entering the nursing field, Feld, who lives in Ohio Township with wife Christine, worked as a certified athletic trainer at Center High School in Beaver County (now Central Valley), the University of Pittsburgh and with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I was looking for something else that could give me different options,” says Feld, the son of a World War II Navy nurse. “One of the things about nursing that was always interesting to me was that you could move around and work in different areas of the hospital and that would make you a more well-rounded professional. You could really expand your horizons and never get bored.”
In addition to his bachelor’s degree in history and master’s in sports administration from the University of Pittsburgh, Feld earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Duquesne University, a master’s in nurse anesthesia from LaRoche College and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Carlow University; he also spent 16 years at UPMC Mercy Hospital working in cardiac and trauma anesthesia. For the last five years at Passavant, he’s worked primarily with patients undergoing lung and esophageal surgery.
In addition to the daily challenge of his work, Feld appreciates his employer’s flexibility when it comes to the demands of his role as a member of the federal disaster medical assistance team. UPMC is “incredibly supportive” when he is deployed to assist in emergency situations, he says. Feld has been sent to help with recovery for Hurricanes Gustav, Rita, Lee, Sandy, Matthew and Harvey.
His work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake had a profound impact on his life, both personally and professionally, he says.
“That was one of the life-changing events,” he says. “I was down there for nine days, working about 18 hours a day. You learn that we worry about a lot of things in life that really aren’t important enough to worry about when there are other people who are suffering. They would love to have the problems we sometimes think are major obstacles for us. Sometimes, their entire existence is nothing but survival.”
Feld also is a regional faculty member for the American Heart Association and teaches in ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support), PALS (pediatric advanced life support), and BLS (basic life support) in the WISER center at Pitt. His work as an educator has earned him the appreciation of many former students, including Keith Gorse, assistant professor and clinical coordinator at Duquesne University’s Department of Athletic Training.
Feld taught Gorse when the latter was a student in the athletic training program at Pitt. Gorse says Feld taught him, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”
“I expect myself to do my best because I know Fran does the same,” Gorse says. “He’s a very honest person. He tells it like it is. If you’re doing something right, he lets you know. If you’re doing something wrong, he lets you know and teaches you how to make it right. That’s what makes him such a good teacher — he’s very direct and thorough.”
Gorse says Feld’s dedication to excellence in his field makes him a “huge figure in the healthcare profession in the City of Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.”
“Fran wears the most hats of anyone I’ve ever known,” Gorse says.