Deborah Becker, PhD, ACNP, BC, CHSE, FAAN
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
Dr. Becker chairs Penn Nursing’s Helene Fuld Pavilion for Innovative Learning and Simulation. This area integrates all types of simulation, from interactive mannequins to interprofessional role-playing, into the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. A recipient of Penn Nursing’s Provost Award for Distinguished Teaching, Dr. Becker appreciates watching students’ knowledge and confidence grow as they become skilled novice providers.
Penn Nursing’s close alignment with the University of Pennsylvania Health System and its wide variety of specialists allows clinical nurse specialist students to participate in highly-complex cases and experience a genuinely interprofessional approach to patient care. New methods of decision-making and procedures not yet adopted at other hospitals are available – and often, developed – at Penn, exposing students to state-of-the-science nursing and health leadership experiences.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
As a task force volunteer for the American Association for Critical Care Nurses and a longtime member of the Society for Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Becker has increasingly focused on how high-tech simulation can enhance training for many health care providers: physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, as well as nurses. A certified simulation educator and active member of the Society for Simulation in Health Care, she promotes interprofessional use of simulation to make training as realistic as possible.
Selected Career Highlights
- Mentor, Patient Safety and Simulation, US Department of Veterans Affairs Interprofessional Fellowship Program in Patient Safety
- Co-Project Director, Nurse Anesthesia Advanced Education Nursing Grant, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration
- Critical Care Nursing Orientation Program, International Consultant, Juzoor for Health & Social Development, Palestinian Health Capacity Project, El Bireh, Palestine
- Director and Consultant, Swedish Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program Development, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden
- Presenter (multiple venues), Choosing Wisely Campaign for Critical Care, American Association of Critical Care Nurses
Becker, D. (2020). The Effective Use of Simulation in Academic Environments. In. B. Ulrich & M.B. Mancini (Ed.) Mastering Simulation: A Nurse’s Handbook for Success, 2nd Edition. Sigma Theta Tau International. (2020 AJN Book of the Year Award)
Becker, D., Dechant, L., Konick-McMahon, J., McNamara, L., Thomas, K., Noe, C., & Fabrey, L. (2020), Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice Analysis Results: Research Informing the Certification Process. American Journal of Critical Care
Griffith, P., Kelly, M. & Becker, D. (2019). On-call simulation for adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner students: a comparative descriptive study. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Online Now, p, 1-12.
Becker, D. (2019). Is Becoming a Nurse Practitioner Right for Me? American Nurse Today, 22-25.
Starrh, Laura & Becker, D. (2018). Ventricular Assist Devices: The Basics. The Journal of Nurse Practitioners, 538-544.
Doherty, C., Pawlow, P., & Becker, D. (2018). The Consensus Model: What Current and Future NPs Need to Know. American Nurse Today, 65-67.
Doherty, C., Pawlow, P., & Becker, D. (2018). The Consensus Model: What Current and Future NPs Need to Know. Utah Nurse, 27, 2, 4-5.
Becker, D. & Doherty, C. (2017). Emerging Roles of the Advanced Practice Nurse. In L. Joel (Ed.) Advanced Practice Nursing: Essential for Role Development, 4th ed. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Becker, D. (2016). Contributor to the NONPF Faculty Practice Toolkit, Step by Step Guide to Developing a Faculty Practice.
- Becker, D., (2014). Central Line Insertion Procedure In ACNP Skills and Procedure Toolkit, NONPF Acute Care SIG manual. ***Not journal***, N/A, N/A.