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Colleen Seeber-Combs, MSN, RN, GNu’92

“In 1989 I came to Philadelphia after working for three years in a community hospital in Manahawkin, NJ. I wanted to experience working in a big city hospital and pursue a graduate degree in nursing.

At my very first job, as a bedside nurse in an intermediate coronary care unit at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, I met a group of young, energetic, bright nurses who were changing the face of nursing. These nurses had advanced degrees and were dedicated to excellence in bedside nursing. As central members of a multidisciplinary team, they displayed confidence and earned the respect of patients and clinicans alike. They cultivated an environment of inquiry and learning. These amazing women became my role models and helped shape my ideas for the type of nurse I wanted to be. I turned to Penn nursing to emulate my amazing role models and pursue my own advanced degree.

After obtaining a master’s degree in nursing at Penn, I thought about how I could pay it forward. I wanted to help other new, bright nurses perform at the top of their game. I landed in the field of publishing, and I have never looked back. For nearly 25 years, I have worked on books, videos, apps, and e-learning courses that help practicing nurses do their job better. I take great pride in every product I have worked on. To create these products, I draw on my solid experience at the bedside, caring for patients in a variety of settings. More importantly, I reflect on my education at Penn to dig deep, and to look for the latest evidence to support my writing.

Today, as I sit in my home office, I work on collating evidence from some of the most respected nurses and researchers to develop practical skill sets for nurses working at the point of care. My mailperson recently delivered a fresh batch of books to augment my ever-growing library of resources. One of those books was edited by Debra, L. Wiegand, PhD one of my early role models, and also a Penn Nursing alum. She was co-editor and editor of four editions of the highly-acclaimed AACN Procedure Manual for Critical Care. This amazing nurse not only shaped the careers of so many nurses at the bedside (including mine) but also went on to teach in the academic setting, perform ground-breaking research, author numerous books, and help countless patients with her work on how to provide end-of-life care for the critically ill.

Sadly, Debra recently passed. But her legacy lives on and I am honored to play a part in its fulfillment.”

To submit your own story, visit: www.nursing.upenn.edu/humans

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