Nathaniel L. Bishop ’88 of Christiansburg is a man of many layers. In 1989 we wrote about him after he was RU’s first graduate of the Bachelor of General Studies degree program (Sociology of Law Enforcement). He later earned a Masters in Education degree from Virginia Tech and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Today, he uses all of his knowledge to serve patients and guests at Carilion Clinic’s Roanoke Memorial Hospital and other Roanoke-based facilities.
As vice president of facility and guest services, Bishop’s areas of responsibility include guest and volunteer services, service excellence, pastoral care and chaplains, environmental services, engineering and maintenance, police, security and parking, and emergency management and safety. “I view the work we do here as a ministry. I remind the members of my team that while our areas of accountability are not as much involved with patient care in a clinical way, we have the privilege of being responsible for creating and maintaining the environment in which patient care and healing takes place,” says Bishop.
In 1975 he began a career in law enforcement working as a police officer, and later as a criminal investigator with the Christiansburg Police Department, never dreaming of career changes and his current role in healthcare administration. But looking back, he sees one common theme: service. Through his involvement in church and his innate leadership skills, Bishop was offered an administrative position with Virginia United Methodist Homes and their continuing care retirement communities. “My view of law enforcement was always focused on the service side and how police agencies exist to serve people,” says Bishop. “After some soul-searching and thinking it through, I thought this career move made sense.” He began this new work in 1989.
The transition offered Bishop a chance to make additional advancements within the organization. As much as he enjoyed his work in caring for the elderly, he realized future prospects would require moving his family from Southwest Virginia, so in 1997 he decided to accept an opportunity to become a part of Carilion, serving as the administrator of the Burrell Nursing Center in Roanoke. In 2002 he was named vice president and moved to the hospital side of Carilion Clinic operations. Bishop had key responsibilities in Carilion’s $110 million Consolidation Project, which brought together women and children in-patient services from Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital into newly created and expanded space at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. In September of 2007, following completion of this more than three-year project, Bishop served as the keynote speaker for the dedication ceremony for the opening of the new patient floors, operating rooms, and an expanded emergency department.
Bishop is content that he has been able to remain in this area. “I was brought up in a home where my parents taught us the importance of giving your best and making a difference. I have a desire, in my small way, to live and act in ways that make a positive impact in the communities in which I live and work.”
And he has. Bishop is known throughout Southwest Virginia for his service to his community and church. He has served on RU’s Waldron College Advisory Council and presently serves as a board member of: Christiansburg Institute, Inc., Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Ferrum College, Taubman Museum of Art, Rosa Peters Playground, and he was recently appointed by Governor Kaine to the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission. He has also served as a past president of the Montgomery, Floyd and Radford branch of the NAACP and currently serves as branch treasurer. He is a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church and serves on several local, state and national level United Methodist boards and agencies.
Throughout the years, Bishop has stayed true to his mission. He is a role model for leadership, character and service.