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SXU Alum Receives 50-Year Federal Service Award


Saint Xavier University (SXU) alum Garret Eisin '74 has recently received the 50-Year Federal Service Award for his career accomplishments, followed by a congratulatory letter from President Joe Biden. Eisin is forever grateful for the education he received from Saint Xavier University, which helped in setting his nursing career in motion.

"My nursing career has been a real privilege. I am very honored to have had the opportunity to work in so many places and be recognized for my nursing service. I am truly blessed," said Eisin.

Eisin, who also has a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in nursing from Lewis University, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1969, where he served as a medic and worked in an Army hospital. After serving two years as a medic, he enrolled in Saint Xavier's School of Nursing and graduated with a BSN in 1974. He began his nursing career as a registered nurse at Edward J. Hines VA Hospital.

Eisin's nursing career has been broad. He has worked in spinal cord injury service, hematology-oncology, diabetes-endocrinology, and podiatry. He also has the unique distinction of being the first registered nurse at the Hines VA Blind Center. There, he established a diabetic education program working with well-respected doctors. He conducted a significant amount of research and explored tools and devices to be able to best teach patients how to administer and measure insulin, calculate the number of doses, and other things a diabetic patient needs to be aware of when blind.

Eisin gave a number of educational presentations, and his work on diabetes research and education was published in a medical journal, which he found to be a proud and humbling experience. He was also the primary nurse in the diabetes and podiatry clinics as well as for spinal injury home care. During his work in spinal injury home care, he took care of patients with motor or sensory dysfunction, working to prevent rehospitalization and identify potential urologic or skin issues.

Currently, Eisin serves veterans in home-based primary care at Edward J. Hines VA Hospital. He served 24 years active duty and reserves for the U.S. Army and retired in 2005 as a lieutenant colonel and army nurse.

Consistently throughout his career, Eisin always tackled the next challenge with openness and optimism. Any time he was confronted with a new idea, position, or service opportunity, he was always up for the task. He's continually amazed at all of the history and stories he's come across from soldiers who've served in numerous different wars, and he's grateful for the opportunity to take care of them.

"Freedom is never free; it's the veterans of this country who make us who we are today," said Eisin.

Eisin was drawn to both nursing and the military because he valued the role of the nurse and admired the role of the nurse officer. Eisin is also a part of the Sigma Theta Tau International Society of Nursing. He credits much of his knowledge and preparedness for success in the nursing field to his time at Saint Xavier.

"Saint Xavier was the foundation of my medical and nursing education. I took that with me moving forward. My physical assessment skills are based upon the outstanding education and clinical experiences I had at Mercy Hospital and Christ Advocate Medical Center. I truly thank Saint Xavier for the education they provided me," said Eisin.

Eisin has many fond memories of his time at Saint Xavier. In 1973, he was the first person to sail a sailboat in SXU's small lake. It garnered the attention of students and everyone had a lot of fun.  

In the future, Eisin is receptive to doing anything that might help him continue to grow. He encourages all nurses to consider the military, where they'll find opportunities and experiences they would have otherwise never been exposed to.

"Opportunities are there if you make them. Look to the next challenge to get out of your comfort zone. In nursing, there are so many areas to take advantage of and excel in."