Deborah Becker

Practice Associate Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

How long have you worked here?
“Twenty years.”

You have a lot of responsibilities in your job, including running the Nursing School’s Simulation Lab. Can you talk about some of the things you do?
“I teach undergraduates how to be a nurse. I work with other nursing faculty who integrate simulation into the clinical courses. If students are learning how to do wound management, then we teach the principles of the types of wounds and how to assess them, and students come in [to the Sim Lab] and determine what dressing to use, how to care for it, what the healing process would look like, and when things are not going as directed. That happens in all of our undergraduate clinical courses.”

What do you do at the graduate level?
“At the graduate level, I direct the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. These providers are the ones who work alongside medical residents, fellows, surgeons, and attending physicians in hospital settings, primarily, but wherever acutely ill patients are found.” Becker also oversees the Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, which trains providers who’ve worked in their area of specialty for a while on how to share their expertise with their peers, and runs the Adult Oncology Specialty minor.

You also oversee training for nurse practitioners, right?
“Primary care nurse practitioners have been in the realm a lot longer than acute care nurse practitioners, and so many of the nurse practitioners that you encounter in acute care settings are actually primary care-prepared because those were the only programs for 20 years, really,” Becker explains. “Many of those nurses are now being told by their employers they have a certain time period before you either get certification or you can no longer work with these type of patient. We have this streamlined post-master program for primary care prepared nurse practitioners who need to go back and get their certifications.”

What do you like best about your work?
“The variety is very nice, but one of the nicest things is watching a student go from, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about and are you sure I can learn this?’ to say, by the end of the program, ‘Yeah, I got this.’ I take my job and the fact that I teach people to go out and take care of people very seriously—so you’re not getting out of my programs unless I feel that you’re competent as a novice provider. If not, you get to spend a little bit more time with me. That’s the nice way of saying it!”