SHEILA BRYSON-ECKROADE, MEd, RN, NEA-BC, BSN 1978, 2016 UNCG School of Nursing Distinguished Alumna


Sheila Bryson-Eckroade is the Associate Director of Patient Care Services/Chief Nurse Executive for the Veteran Affairs Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS), based in Baltimore, Maryland. The VAMHCS has more than 53,000 patients, 6500 admissions, and 640,000 outpatient visits annually.  The system comprises 3 inpatient/outpatient campuses and 5 outpatient clinics across the state of Maryland that consist of over 724 beds including intensive care, general medical/surgical, acute and residential mental health, chronic ventilator, skilled rehabilitation, nursing home, and hospice units.  There are over 1043 active medical staff providing care for the Veterans within the system.  Sheila is responsible for over 1300 FTEEs and a $121M labor budget.

As the senior leader of patient care services for a large, integrated health care system serving our nation’s Veterans across the state of Maryland, Sheila fully embraces the Veterans Health Administration’s three primary goals of providing exceptional patient care, educating the future generation of health care professionals and conducting cutting edge research to improve the lives of not just Veterans, but all of us who have been or will be impacted by the innovations and highly skilled staff the VA produces.

From ensuring Veterans have access to comprehensive and coordinated primary care, to making sure our nation’s heroes live out their final days with comfort and dignity, Sheila leads a diverse team of nursing professionals across the full spectrum of care.  Her dedication to providing educational opportunities to students at all levels of the nursing profession is uncompromising and the organization’s valuable relationships with several local schools of nursing have only improved under her leadership.

Sheila currently chairs and serves on local, regional and national boards, committee and taskforce representing the VAMCHS.  She is a consummate diplomat, frequently chosen to handle concerns from highly sensitive groups like Veteran Service Organizations, congressional offices and committees, the media and employees at the Veteran Administration.

In 1978, Sheila began her nursing career as a medical surgical staff nurse at Wesley Long Community Hospital, Greensboro, NC.  Over the past 38 years, she has worked in roles including staff nurse, patient care coordinator, nurse manager, director of nursing- medical surgical, maternal child, patient safety, risk management, education, and chief nursing and privacy officer.

Sheila earned both her BSN (1978) and Med (1985) from UNCG.  She will soon complete her doctoral degree in Education, Leadership and Innovation from Wilmington College in Delaware. She is board certified by the ANCC as a Nurse Executive Advanced.  She has served on several on the UNCG School of Nursing Alumni Board and is presently a member of the school’s 50th anniversary planning committee.  She has spoken on national, regional and local levels.  Sheila was an early-on recipient in 1989 of the North Carolina Great 100.

Sheila’s drive and dedication to her profession comes from her father, Dr. Joseph E. Bryson, professor emeritus at UNCG, School of Education.  Sheila is married to Robert J. Eckroade, senior marketing specialist; they live in Delaware.