Chief flight nurse retires after lengthy career at Careflight

A chief flight nurse has retired after more than 30 years of work for St. Mary’s Medical Center and Careflight of the Rockies in Grand Junction.

Kathy Shoemaker oversaw the Careflight of the Rockies flight program and managed aircraft vendors, personnel and policies.

Shoemaker joined St. Mary’s in 1986. After working in the emergency room for a year, she transitioned to what’s now Careflight of the Rockies. The program employs a team of highly trained ​flight nurses, paramedics, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal intensive care nurses, obstetrical nurses and respiratory therapists who provide care to adults, children and newborns.

“Like many of my colleagues, I’ve had the honor of working with Kathy for over 15 years,” said Dan Prinster, vice president of planning and Business Development at St. Mary’s. “From purchasing helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, ground ambulances to setting up a joint venture and expanding across Western Colorado, Kathy had the amazing knack and vision for this program. She will be missed.”

Dan Johnson has joined Careflight of the Rockies as the new director of flight operations. Johnson brings to his duties more than 25 years of experience in emergency medicine as a registered nurse and paramedic.