Practice Professor of Nursing
Director, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program
Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program, Adult Oncology Specialty Minor

When patients are sedated, on a ventilator, or unconscious, they cannot speak for themselves. Acute care nurse practitioners play an important part in learning the patient’s and family’s wishes, advocating for the patient, and directing care appropriately. Understanding and reflecting the best interests of these vulnerable patients, and training other nurse practitioners to do so, is Deborah Becker’s passion as director of Penn Nursing’s Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program.

The Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program was one of the first in the U.S. to train nurses in critical care and prepare them for board certification. As a certified critical care nurse practitioner herself, Dr. Becker understands the challenges and demands of the specialty. She works with nurse practitioners at all levels, from novices to providers with decades of clinical experience.

Outside of Penn, Dr. Becker has led the way in establishing the role of acute care nurse practitioners in countries including England, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan. Dr. Becker and her colleagues frequently consult on nurse practitioners’ potential, offering training and leadership. Most recently, she and her team promoted the role of nurse practitioners in Swedish universities.

“When I was in nursing school, I never expected that one day I would help nurses around the globe prepare students for specialty careers.” 


  • PhD, Drexel University, 2007
  • MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 1991
  • BSN, Thomas Jefferson University, 1984
  • BSG, Villanova University, 1982