Monica J. Harmon, MSN, MPH, BSN
When Monica Harmon started working as a nurse in 2001, the community was seen as something that was not a part of health care and of little concern to nurses.
She has always felt that the community patients come from plays a central role in their lives and health. As a nurse and a faculty member at Penn Nursing, Ms. Harmon focuses on holistic health care that addresses community factors that positively or negatively influence health.
“I help undergraduate students become better-rounded health care practitioners primed to address 21st century health care needs.”
- MSN, Thomas Jefferson University, 2007
- MPH, Drexel University, 2006
- BSN , Thomas Jefferson University , 2001
- ADN , Community College of Philadelphia , 2000
Through “Nursing in the Community” (NURS380), a required undergraduate course that Ms. Harmon directs, students learn that patients are more than a set of symptoms and diseases. The course, which Ms. Harmon helped revise, uses a population health perspective where students work in groups to address the needs of vulnerable populations from the womb to the tomb. Students learn to consider the impact of the social determinants of health on transitioning people through the health care system, including prevention services. They also learn about the strengths and resilience of communities.
Students also gain real-world perspective from Ms. Harmon’s clinical experiences, which includes work as a public health, prison, and school nurse. A clinical practicum in Botswana, through the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, is another option available through “Nursing in the Community.”
In the first stage of a study of community/public health nurses’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes of public health nursing competencies, Ms. Harmon found that faculty teaching courses on nursing in the community did not know about the Quad Council Competencies for Public Health Nurses. She is currently conducting the second stage of the study, funded by the Association of Community Health Nurses, to explore knowledge, skills, and attitudes of public health nurses. Ms. Harmon is also developing webinars for the Quad Council on the competencies and serves on the advisory board of a simulation education company that is developing computerized community health simulations based upon the competencies.
Working with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Ms. Harmon and another Penn Nursing faculty member, Kathleen M. Brown, CRNP, PhD, FAAN, are helping to develop a Mentor Module Program for juvenile “lifers.” The program will enable prisoners who have completed “life” sentences (25 years if convicted before age 15 and 35 years if convicted at age 15-17) and successfully transitioned from prison to society to help other juvenile “lifers” make the transition.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Students who choose the clinical practicum in Botswana spend four weeks there during the summer. Working with Ms. Harmon, they provide community health promotion services in community home-based care, women’s health clinics, cancer centers, and hospices. The Botswana-UPenn Partnership, comprised of the Government of Botswana, the University of Botswana, and Penn, builds capacity in sustainable and high-quality healthcare in Botswana. Ms. Harmon also directs “Situating Practice of Nursing” (NURS102), another required undergraduate course, and teaches in several other undergraduate courses.
Selected Career Highlights
- Recipient, Under 40 Award, National Black Nurses Association
- Recipient, Powerful Voice Award, Women’s Way
- Member, Pennsylvania Action Coalition of Nurses: Diversity Council
- Associate Fellow, Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
- Consumer Representative, U.S. Food and Drug Administration panels on Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Toxicology Devices l and Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Devices