College of Nursing Award Recipients
Alice Freiberg Stecker, Nurs '59, Grad '64
If Alice could do it all over again, she wouldn’t change a thing. Even as a child, she knew nursing would be her lifelong career and passion. She doesn’t remember exactly when her admiration for nurses began, but it started at a young age and continues to this day.
Alice spent the majority of her career in nursing administration and says her satisfaction came from working to assure that acute care nurses in her facilities had the best possible environment to provide quality patient care. Nursing has the constant challenge of balancing needs with costs — a modest pay increase for nurses can add a million dollars to the bottom line, Alice says. Also vital is personal support such as “assuring that every staff member was accountable for supporting new graduate nurses on their unit,” she adds, or “ working with physicians who stated a nurse had no right to question his actions, when, in fact, it was her obligation to do so.”
For a number of years in her retirement, Alice volunteered and served as a board member with a local free clinic that has since closed. She is an active member of her Lake James, N.C., community. She is currently working with the county commissioners to find a way to provide retirement housing for middle-income residents. She is a board member of the Historic Plantation Home in McDowell County, which involves preserving a 1700s house and barn, and the financial management and fundraising that accompany this project. Alice is also a board member of McDowell Quilt Trail, which designs, builds and erects exterior quilt blocks on buildings, especially old barns, to promote tourism, preserve history and help the local economy.
Fun fact: This will definitely identify my era, since nursing caps are long gone, but my capping ceremony on the steps of St. Joseph’s Hospital was traditional, beautiful, sentimental and a rite of passage at that time.