Kathy Bednarz BSN, RN

September 21, 2021 

When Kathy Bednarz BSN, RN was a sophomore in college, her father suffered a heart attack on New Year’s Day while her family was watching football. A nursing student at the time and newly certified in CPR, Kathy was able to save her father’s life by successfully administering CPR, and he lived another 25 years to tell the story.  

Since then, Kathy has had a rewarding career spanning four decades in a profession she considers a calling. 

“My dream job was always to be a nurse, said Bednarz. It’s not just a job. It’s truly a part of who I am.”  

As lead nurse at the UNCW Abrons Student Health Center, Kathy is responsible for overseeing the nursing staff and is a member of the Student Health Center leadership team. 

“When I decided to come to UNCW in 2018, I was ready for a change from the hospital setting,” explained Bednarz. She had spent most of her career working in trauma for the Geisinger Health System in Wilkes Barre, PA, after completing her education at Bloomsburg University. She also mentored nursing students in the field.

“It was a refreshing change to work with healthy students and provide them with health education. For many students, this is the first time they have had to navigate their own health issues, and it is gratifying to be there to support them.” 

The current COVID-19 pandemic has added additional challenges to student health care needs on campus, and Bednarz sees that as an opportunity to serve and make an even bigger impact. 

“I want to make sure our students are healthy and safe as they go out into the community,” she said. We want to make sure they know we are here to support them with the resources they need, such as vaccines and testing available to them free of cost.”  

Keeping a healthy balance at work is important to Bednarz, who is known for fun-loving pranks. When she was in elementary school, she said she received a “D” in conduct because she was known for mischief. A co-worker once called her the “Queen of Bad Behavior.”  

“In a good way, of course,” she jokes. “Having a sense of humor is so important. I love being able to smile and laugh together with my co-workers, and then we all go home at the end of each day feeling good, knowing we have done something good for students.” 

-- Krissy Vick