Chris Nelson
Instructor SNRS 235

Chris Nelson started his endeavors in the medical arena as a Combat Medic in the Army in 1987. After serving in Germany during the Cold War and deploying to Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, he decided to become a nurse. After graduating from Iowa Wesleyan College with his BSN he started in an Ortho/Neuro/Surgical inpatient unit. Shortly after that, he joined the Air Force where he experienced a wide diversity of areas within nursing. He has had experience in Family Practice/Out-patient Clinics, he has done Aeromedical Staging where he planned the ground care between hospital and aircraft for trans-Atlantic Aeromedical operations from Germany to the United States. Selected for a Neonatal Intensive Care course, he worked in NICU for about 1.5 years before returning to his Ortho/Neuro/Surgical areas. He then moved into nursing leadership positions as a Nurse Manager in an Out-patient surgery clinic, managing 24 staff members and processed 12,000+ patients a year through the Clinic. He has, in addition to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, deployed in 2008 to Balad Air Base, Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom as a nurse in the Theater hospital and Afghanistan in 2010/2011 for Operation Enduring Freedom as a Clinic Nursing Instructor for the Afghan Army/Police School of Nursing. He received his Master’s Science of Nursing in Healthcare Education through University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. Chris was also an instructor for Nursing Leadership and Management for second semester seniors at a university for two years while performing Air Force nursing duties. In his last duty station, prior to military retirement, he was the primary nurse for the Flight Missile Medicine and Personal Reliability Program Clinics, managing the healthcare and access for 1500 military members, in addition to providing oversight to an Optometry Clinic and Health and Wellness Center. Chris was also the Patient Safety Manager for the entire clinic. He enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, motorcycling, and spending quality time with family and friends. He is excited to be a Washington State University Team-member!!


  • MSN/Ed, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
  • BSN, Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, IA


Orthopedic/Neurologic/Surgical, Outpatient, Aeromedical Staging, Patient Safety, Quality


Medical/Surgical (CMSRN), Ortho/Neuro, Patient Safety, Military Nursing


  • Sigma Teta Tau International, 2009 – Present
  • Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, 2009 – Present


  • Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), February 2016
  • Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, April 2015
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 Service Star, April 2011
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal, March 2011
  • NATO Medal, April 2011
  • Air Force Commendation Medal; Second Oak Leaf Cluster, July 2009
  • Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 Service Star, August 2008
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, August 2008
  • Air Force Commendation Medal; First Oak Leaf Cluster, July 2005
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, July 2005
  • Air and Space Campaign Medal, July 2005
  • Air Force Commendation Medal, June 2002
  • Army Commendation Medal, April 1991
  • Army Achievement Medal, April 1991
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, May 1991
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal, Government of Kuwait, May 1991


“Be Aware for Safe Care” Front Range Guardian, Vol. 5, No. 30, March 2012