David Bergthold was almost finished with paramedic training when a nurse gave him a piece of advice.
“She said: 'You really need to go to nursing school. You'd be a good nurse,'” Bergthold said.

David Bergthold was almost finished with paramedic training when a nurse gave him a piece of advice.
“She said: ‘You really need to go to nursing school. You’d be a good nurse,’” Bergthold said.
Bergthold, now a nurse practitioner, had never considered nursing. He had become a paramedic with the goal of joining a ski patrol, which provides emergency medical and rescue services to snow sport participants. But, the nursing idea appealed to him.
“I thought I’d become a helicopter nurse,” he said. “With my EMS experience, that sounded like something I’d like to do.”
Medical flight did not turn out to be in Bergthold’s future, but he did find nursing to be a great fit. Today, he is an acute care nurse practitioner and serves on Lake Regional’s hospitalist team. As a specialist who cares for hospitalized patients, Bergthold follows patients’ tests and treatments while they are in Lake Regional Hospital and then, when they are discharged, transitions their care to their regular providers.
“I really enjoy the variability and the complexity of caring for the hospitalized patient and finding a successful treatment plan,” he said.
On his way to becoming a nurse practitioner, Bergthold had to continue his education several times. Soon after finishing his paramedic training, he went back to school to become a registered nurse and then later went back again for his bachelor’s degree in nursing. Finally, in 2004, he decided to continue his education once more, this time to become an acute care nurse practitioner.
“I wanted to advance my role and increase the level of care I could provide patients,” he said.
Bergthold was 49 when he finished his nurse practitioner degree. Along with wanting to do more for patients, Bergthold also had a desire to take opportunities he had once missed. After high school, he had started a pre-med program but did not finish it. Rather than just regret that decision, he chose to correct it.
“You get older and wiser, and have more drive and don’t give up,” he said.
Away from Lake Regional Hospital, Bergthold likes to spend his time hunting, skiing and volunteering for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. He is married and has three children — a daughter in dental school, one son in pre-med and one son in Ft. Lauderdale.
Although he never expected to be a nurse, Bergthold always had the role’s defining trait.
“I have always had a desire to help people,” he said. “People getting better — that motivates me.”
To learn more about career opportunities at Lake Regional Health System, visit lakeregional.com/careers.
Throughout National Nurses’ Week, May 6 to 12, Lake Regional Health System will celebrate the nursing profession and the Lake Sun will profile exceptional nurses working at the health system. The three nurses in this series represent three different nursing degrees: licensed practical nurse, registered nurse and nurse practitioner.