Following her graduation from Northeast Iowa Community College’s (NICC) Associate Degree Nursing program in 1973, Jan Geertsema began a 40-year nursing career that included decades of experience in the cardiology departments at Mercy Health Center and Medical Associates in Dubuque, and licensure as one of the area’s first Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners in 1991. Her career includes leadership in healthcare initiatives to raise awareness on women and heart disease, and tireless educational work to address heart disease prevention for adults.
The College inducted Geertsema into the Hall of Fame in 2013 to recognize her many career and community achievements.
Her education inspired her commitment to lifelong learning and provided the foundation for her career success.
“I’ve been a self-directed learner my entire life. Our education is never completed – it is ongoing,” Geertsema expressed.
After graduation from NICC, Geertsema earned a B.S.N. from the University of Dubuque in 1982 and an M.S.N from the University in 1989. She later earned certification as an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist.
In 1991, she joined the Cardiology Department at Medical Associates and successfully petitioned the State of Iowa Board of Nursing to create the first Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Licensure of Adult Clinical Nurse Specialists in Iowa.
Her husband David’s lifelong struggle with diabetes, his passing in 2003 of the disease and his spirit and legacy inspired Geertsema and her daughters to establish an award in his memory to an outstanding Eisenhower Elementary School fifth grade student every year. For nine years, the family has also held annual fundraisers, raising $5,000-8,000 each year, to help local children attend Camp Hertko Hollow Children’s Diabetes Camp.