Alumni Spotlight

Steve Chickering '74

Serving as an active-duty Nurse Officer for 30 years, Steve Chickering ‘74 traveled the world on behalf of the U.S. Public Health Service, providing nursing expertise in roles with the Nation’s Federal Government agencies and giving essential care to individuals in underserved communities.

After obtaining his master’s degree in nursing at Pace, Steve served as Nurse Manager at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Boston and then held a teaching position for a hospital based diploma program at the Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing.

Deciding he wanted to do something different, Steve began working for the U.S. Public Health Service as a Commissioned Officer. For his first assignment, he served as the Director of Nursing Services for a free-standing health center on a Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona. While the reservation had very limited amenities, it was in the process of building a hospital. Steve was instrumental in helping design the hospital and in-patient facilities and also played a critical role in getting the hospital up and running.

“We went from no hospital to a 60 bed in-patient facility that had ambulatory care, educational services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, pediatrics and OB-GYN, a nursey and a 4-bed critical care unit,” recalls Steve.

After five years on the Navajo reservation, Steve was transferred to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration.

“All facilities that are participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs – hospitals, nursing homes, etc. – need to be surveyed, or inspected, and receive certification to ensure they are remaining compliant with CMS’ health and safety standards. As a Regional Officer and Federal Inspector, I oversaw the health care entities in my region and made sure they were following regulations.”

In 1991, Steve, who was still a Commissioned Officer at the time, was deployed to Kuwait to serve as nurse after the Gulf War.

“I worked at a refugee camp on the Iraq-Kuwait border providing medical services. There was a hospital for people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, which was decimated from Iraqi forces, so we, along with the Red Cross, helped provide relief to the hospital staff and offered support in any way that we could.”

Steve retired as an active-duty Officer in 2009, after 30 years of service. He now serves in a civil service role as Associate Regional Administrator for the Western Division of Survey and Certification at CMS. In this position, Steve oversees the federal regulatory survey and certification activities for the 14 Western States and Pacific Territories within the Regions of Denver, San Francisco and Seattle, and ensures safety and patient care quality at Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers in those areas.

Steve attributes his time at Pace as a building block to his success.

“The graduate nursing program laid a tremendous foundation for all of us in the program. The faculty were outstanding and there was a real comradery among the students. A career in nursing affords you a number of different opportunities, and I feel like opportunity has lent itself to me because of my experiences at Pace.”