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Chippewa Falls native encourages male nurses with new scholarship

RELEASED: Feb. 28, 2011

Gerald "Jay" Woldt

Gerald "Jay" Woldt, a Chippewa Falls native and 42-year career nurse, recently established a scholarship with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to encourage male nurses.

EAU CLAIRE — "Nursing is a profession that is underrepresented by the male population," said Gerald "Jay" Woldt, of Minneapolis, Minn., about establishing a scholarship with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. "It has been a very rewarding career for me and I would like to see more males enter the nursing field."

Woldt, a Chippewa Falls native, served in the Army Nurse Corps for 21 years and spent 21 more years as a civilian working as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. He is not an alumnus of UW-Eau Claire but said he has always had a passion for encouraging others in the field and was looking for a way to continue that effort. The Gerald D. Woldt Nursing Scholarship is a $2,000 award, to be presented annually beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. And because males are underrepresented in the profession, he wants preference to be given to male nursing majors at UW-Eau Claire.

"Nursing is a wonderful career, especially for families with children because it's so flexible," said Woldt. "There wasn't a day that I didn't look forward to going to work. I thoroughly enjoyed my profession."

Woldt encountered a few bumps along the way as a male nurse, sometimes being mistaken for an orderly and being called away from skilled work in the emergency room or operating room to perform basic patient care, such as bathing or lifting. He actually worked nights as an orderly in 1962 as a way to earn extra money while he took college courses in accounting. That is when staff members on a neurosurgery unit took notice of his affinity for patient care and encouraged him to go to nursing school.

"The neurosurgeon physically took me to a school in Wausau to recommend me to the administration," said Woldt, who was one of five male students in the program and one of the two who eventually graduated.

Woldt obtained a bachelor of science degree in nursing, a master's degree in nursing administration and a minor in education. He became a CRNA while serving in the U.S. Army, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1987. He retired from the civilian sector in 2006. His passion for the field became a family affair. Woldt's wife was also a CRNA in the ANC for 20 years and one of their two children is an operating room nurse.

For more information about this and other scholarships available through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, visit the Foundation website or contact Kimera Way, Foundation executive director, at waykk@uwec.edu.

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RD/DW

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