Dr. Burgess joined the standing faculty of the Penn School of Nursing in 1983. As the first faculty member in the School of Nursing to hold an endowed chair, Dr. Burgess brought distinction to the van Ameringen Chair in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.
Dr. Burgess has long been recognized as one of the leaders in the field of victimology. Her pioneering research on women’s responses to rape and other sexual assaults – landmarks that have not been surpassed in nursing – has brought her this distinction.
Her continuing work on sexual assault over many years has resulted in an unparalleled program of research that has had a major impact on how health professionals and the public, including the justice system, view the victims of sexual assault.
While at the School, she taught victimology, forensic science, and forensic mental health as part of a cluster of forensic nursing courses. These courses were extremely popular campus-wide and drew hundreds of students who praised her innovative teaching and her accessibility outside of class. Similarly, she played an important role as mentor for young faculty members both as an advisor in their research and critic of their scholarly writing.
Dr. Burgess has received many honors and awards including the Sigma Theta Tau International Audrey Hepburn Award, the American Nurses Association Hildegard Peplau Award, and the Sigma Theta Tau International Episteme Laureate Award.