In 1989, Dan Hartley was a newly married father-to-be working as a nurse in a Seattle hospital, but he wanted to be closer to family in Arizona. So he joined the Air Force and landed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
He became a second lieutenant and a perioperative nurse. When he left the service eight years later, he had achieved the rank of captain and served in Saudi Arabia as part of Desert Storm.
His career path really chose him, he said. He hadn’t thought about nursing when he entered Northern Arizona University as a forestry major. A Campus Crusade for Christ conference helped him realize he’d rather spend his career with people than in a forest.
“My career path chose me”
~Dan Hartley, N.P.
In the military, he enjoyed a wide variety of experiences. “There was a lot of autonomy and as an officer I was in a leadership role, working with enlisted members,” he said. “In that position, you learn to develop relationships, you have to learn everybody’s job in the surgical realm.”
He gained invaluable surgical experience, he added, from general surgery to orthopedics, neuroscience, vascular surgery and C-section deliveries.
Eventually, he came to Travis Air Force Base and, like so many others, fell in love with the area and decided to stay when he left the service in 1996.
After obtaining his Family Nurse Practitioner certification, he joined NorthBay Healthcare to work in cardiac surgery. He later obtained a doctorate of nurse practice and moved to orthopedics. Today he works in NorthBay’s Joint Replacement Program. It’s a job that allows him to use the same skills he honed in military leadership, spending time and getting to know his patients and their needs.
“My goal is to help patients obtain peace about the medical care they receive,” he said. “When patients leave appointments, they know we are their advocates.”
And that first child? Well, he’s following his dad’s lead. Holden Hartley, 29, is a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy.