Minor: Healthcare Management
Where are you currently working?
I am the Nurse Practitioner Program Manager for the adult congenital heart disease program at NYU Langone Health. We provide specialized care for a unique, complex group of patients who were born with cardiac abnormalities and have survived into adulthood. Because of advances in medicine and surgery, there are now more adults than children living with congenital heart disease, requiring highly specialized care. I’m biased, but it’s an amazing group of patients and an innovative space to work and lead. As a nurse practitioner, I see patients daily in the inpatient and outpatient setting. In addition to my clinical responsibilities, as Program Manager I lead the operations and the growth strategy for the program, manage the national accreditation and research initiatives, and lead the hospital-wide nursing education for this sub-specialty.
How do you stay connected with Penn Nursing?
A few years after graduation, as I settled into “adult life,” I was really missing my Penn roots. I was looking for ways to get back involved in Penn and expand my network with fellow recent graduates. I initially got involved with the Penn Nursing Alumni Board through conversations with the Dean about initiatives to support young alumni. I served as co-Chair of the Student Alumni Connections Committee and worked with my committee to create webinars to guide young alumni on navigating the early stages of a nursing career and education. Now, as I begin my term as Alumni Board President, I’m so proud to give back to the university that has given me so much!
Did you always want to pursue a career in nursing, particularly in your current field? How did your passion develop?
Since I was very young, I have always wanted a career where I could help others and make a difference. I volunteered throughout middle school with a special needs child, and during high school I worked as an EMT and hospital volunteer. I developed a passion for health care and nursing, specifically cardiac patients.
What is the most satisfying part of your work?
The most satisfying part of my work by far is building connections and making a difference with my patients. I support patients and their families through some of the most challenging times in their lives. While it is the day-to-day connections with patients that inspire me, my goal is to make a difference for patients and the health care system on a larger scale. I like taking on challenges or obstacles in the health care system and finding creative solutions to problems that “can’t be solved.” I have launched multiple initiatives to improve care coordination, such as a coordinated cardiac catheterization and liver biopsy for patients with heart and liver disease, and initiatives to improve patient satisfaction, such as a sternotomy scar initiative to improve scar healing in young adults. I’d like to continue to bring innovation and develop solutions to this complex and evolving health care space, to deliver evidence-based, high quality coordinated care for patients.
How did Penn Nursing help you achieve your personal and professional goals? What opportunities at Penn made a critical difference to your development as a nurse and as a researcher?
My experience at Penn Nursing, extended via the President’s Engagement Prize, launched my career. The University provided many opportunities to explore my passions and fuel my leadership skills. Penn gave me the opportunity to do it all—I’d run between nursing clinicals, healthcare management classes in Wharton, CPR research, creating the Community Champions program, studying in the library—and get home in time to see my friends. I tried to take advantage of all that Penn has to offer through independent studies, working with a health care tech startup, and maximizing my Penn Nursing course-load.
Penn Nursing sparked my interest in research. As an undergraduate student, I participated in multiple research initiatives, such as CPR Anytime and Dance for Health, and started to learn about the importance of publishing and disseminating my work. I have focused on integrating my research interest in all stages of my career, a priority instilled in me by my Penn mentor, Dr. Terri Lipman. I’ve co-authored and first authored multiple publications, mainly in adult congenital heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation, and presented my work nationally.
On a personal note, I’m so grateful for the community that I built at Penn. My brother went to Wharton, and it was so special to be on campus together; Penn really holds a special place in my family’s heart. Many of my best friends today are from Penn and Penn Nursing. I lived with my sorority sisters from Penn for years after graduation and was a bridesmaid in their weddings.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to current Penn Nursing students or young alumni?
Take advantage of all Penn has to offer—try different clubs and hobbies, build connections with people from all walks of life, get to know your professors, start an initiative that excites you. It is one of the best times in your life to try so many different activities and opportunities. Build your alumni network, and get involved!
What is something most people would find surprising about you?
I love to read and spend time with my family, although that part isn’t surprising. I try to do yoga first thing every morning before work. And I learned to play chess during COVID.