SON welcomes new faculty to Cardinal Nursing Family

SON New Faculty Fall 2021

August 4, 2021

The UofL SON is excited to welcome each of these faculty members to our Cardinal Nursing Family!

Nancy Kern, EdD, APRN, MSN, Assistant Professor, Acute and Adult Health, joins us after teaching and leading the pre-licensure BSN programs at Spaulding University. Dr. Kern was an instructor and coordinator of the UofL SON Learning Resource Center from 2002-2006. She brings a wealth of teaching, leadership, practice, and community experience to our faculty. Her work at Spalding University "has focused on issues of inclusion and diversity through hiring practices and fostering the development of support groups for our students of color, LGBTQ, first in family, and those for whom English is a second language." She looks forward to continuing that work at the UofL SON.

Jennifer Howell, MSN, Clinical Instructor, a graduate of McKendree University, joins us from AMS Healthcare Staffing where she was Director of Nursing, leading nursing staff in delivering of excellent care to patients and implemented QI programs to continually improve that care. Ms. Howell worked with a UofL instructor to develop and teach a "first-of-its-kind" clinical course to meet the curriculum needs during COVID-19. She has also taught at Spaulding University. Ms. Howell brings a plethora of experience from practice and administration in psych-mental health settings. She will begin with the MEPN program in May 2021.

Melissa Barnes, MSN, Clinical Instructor, joins us from Norton Audubon where she works as a nurse in Interventional Radiology and previously as a Cardiac Stepdown nurse. She is currently teaching adult health clinicals for the UofL SON. Ms. Barnes has also served as a preceptor and loves working with college students. She received her Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing in our MEPN program, a Master of Arts in Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Furman University. Before nursing, soccer was Ms. Barnes love and profession - she was head coach for the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels.

Joe Riley, MSN, Clinical Instructor, became a nurse in 2013 and graduated with his MSN in Nurse Education from Indiana University East, 2018. Mr. Riley has taught at Ivy Tech, Indiana University Southeast, and currently part-time in the UofL SON Simulation Lab, continually building his simulation expertise. He has a wide variety of nursing experience, currently at Baptist Health Floyd and, previously, at Baptist Health Louisville, Vision Surgical Center, and Floyd Memorial Hospital. Mr. Riley will teach in the simulation lab and in adult health clinicals.

Shannon Bretz graduated from the UofL MSN program in 2005 as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. Ms. Bretz joined our faculty in April as a clinician with the Louisville Metro Public Health Department. She is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner with eight years of experience in the office setting and more than six years of experience in the hospital setting. She is established in women's health, bariatrics, and primary care, including assessment and planning, counseling, education, documentation, and diagnostics. Her ultimate goal is to improve the quality of patient care. You may not see Ms. Bretz at the SON on a regular basis, however her work, and that of many SON NPs, is integral to our teaching and service missions.

Dr. Kennetha Williams graduated from the UofL SON in 2019 with her DNP in Psych/MH Nursing. Since that time Dr. Williams has been an APRN at the Seven Counties Services, prior to Seven Counties, Dr. Williams provided nursing care at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center. Dr. Williams’ DNP project was titled, “Effectiveness of Girls Only!: Prevention Education Program for Self-Esteem Enhancement in At-Risk Adolescent Girls.’ Dr. Williams is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. She serves as a mentor with the Grace M. James Academy for Excellence, a school that strives to promote academic excellence in girls through an Afrocentric and gender specific STEAM curriculum. She also advocates for racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ equality by sharing her time and knowledge with members of her community.

Sarah McClure is a Master’s prepared nurse and Clinical Nurse Leader with experience in public health and women’s health. She is a 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University. While earning her Master’s degree, Ms. McClure worked on a high risk OB unit, following graduation she worked as a public health nurse in a Population Health-Infectious Disease Investigation unit. She led a team to coordinate annual clinical competencies training and evaluation for nursing and clinical staff. Most recently, Ms. McClure serves as an RN on the L&D/Antepartum Units at Norton Hospital where she has multiple responsibilities for the health and welfare of all stages of L&D. She is also the Chair of Women’s Services Coordinating Council, Shared Governance.

Tabitha McDaniel graduated from Ohio University-Athens as an MSN-Nurse Educator in 2014. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program at the University of Texas at Tyler. Her dissertation research project, evaluating sex trafficking education for nurses, is underway and she anticipates graduation in 2021. Ms. McDaniel is currently the QI Coordinator at ULH-Mary & Elizabeth Hospital where she works with and leads a multi-disciplinary team to review all mortalities, created electronic methods to store data and track cases for multiple needs (mortality, training, evaluations, DNR inconsistencies etc.). As part of her role she also assisted the ED with the development of human trafficking education. Prior to Mary & Elizabeth, Ms. McDaniel worked in a variety of nursing positions, including education and as a research coordinator.

Christy Meek earned her MS in Nursing Education in 2017 from Western Governors University, she is currently a DNP candidate at Spalding University with an anticipated 2021 graduation date. Her capstone project is titled, “Increasing Critical Thinking for the Undergraduate Nursing Student Through Writing.” Ms. Meek has many years of experience in the ED, ICU, and TCU at Kentucky One Health Care, and most recently was a Nurse Navigator for Norton Hearth Specialists. As an Assistant Professor at Spalding University she provided leadership and mentoring for the Spalding student organizations. In 2020, Ms. Meek was a PTL for the UofL SON MEPN program. Ms. Meek has served in a leadership role at Iota Gamma Chapter of STTI Honor Society.

Deidre Peters is a 2018 graduate of our SON MEPN program. Since graduation she has worked at Norton Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric ICU. Teaching has always been a passion and goal of Ms. Peters. She wants to continue to empower, encourage and help facilitate students to get the most out of their clinical experience, to best prepare them to enter the field. For the last three years, she has precepted new nurses in the Pediatric ICU and has continued to mentor them after orientation. Ms. Peters is responsible for making sure the unit is operating smoothly, and is a primary resource for bedside nurses. She describes herself as a “Passionate Pediatric nurse excited to grow, educate and guide future nurses through their education while celebrating diversity, fostering equity and striving for inclusion.” Ms. Peters is a certified critical care RN with a business background.

Dr. Holly Wei joined the School of Nursing in July as professor and assistant dean of the PhD program. Her overarching contribution is a global initiative of advocating organizational excellence and caring leadership to promote nurses' work environments, well-being, and care quality. Dr. Wei has over 40 peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals and delivered over 70 national and international presentations, influencing tens of thousands of nurses internationally. Her most current project is a textbook on nursing leadership which is in process with Sigma International Publishing.

Sarah Zurkuhlen is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner passionate about providing patient centered solutions and equipping future nurses to practice evidence-based health care. Ms. Zurkuhlen has more than 8 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in a variety of settings and 2 years as an Advanced Practice Provider. She earned her MSN at Eastern Kentucky University, one of her clinical sites was the Kentucky Racing Health Care Clinic. Ms. Zurkuhlen began teaching in the UofL SON RN to BSN program in 2020. She is currently a NP at Pomeroy and Rhoads Orthopedics. In addition to nursing, Ms. Zurkuhlen has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Economics from the UK College of Business. She brings basic conversational Spanish to our program.