Your instructors in the online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership program have vast expertise in clinical practice, research and education. They include the former director of the Pima County Health Department, former chief nursing officer of the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System, current chair of the Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
They bring a wide range of experience (more than 30 years for some!), from flight nurse to informatics manager, hospital unit manager to researcher funded by the NIH and National Institute of Nursing Research. They are award-winning educators, motivated mentors, and accomplished scholars. And, in the words of one of our graduates, they are 110% invested in your success.
Kim Blumenfeld is a clinical instructor in the RN-MS program. Her career began as an associate degree nurse in 1992. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2007, and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in 2013. Her BSN and MSN were achieved 100 percent online. Ms. Blumenfeld says advancing her degree was integral to her career adventure, and that her bedside and managerial experience helped her tremendously as she progressed from ADN to MSN.
Ms. Blumenfeld has led a diverse and interesting nursing career. Her expertise spans general medicine, cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation, diabetes education, cardiovascular intensive care, post anesthesia care and GI lab experience. She also managed the University of Arizona Cancer Center for several years. She believes the wonderful magic of nursing is the ability to continually challenge yourself and keep your career fresh and exciting.
MS MPH, RN
Professor Daniels has practiced public health nursing in a variety of settings that have included: public health nursing in an impoverished district in Tucson, Arizona; caring for school-aged students and faculty in rural Arizona; managing Maternal and Child Health programs and home visiting services to the Tohono O’odham nation in Tucson and Sells, Arizona; managing a $1.6 million Title X Family Planning Program in Pima County, Arizona, to assure reproductive health care access to underserved women (and men); an adoption awareness trainer with a local children’s advocacy center; coordinating the planning and public health response for Pima County; managing the Community Disease Prevention Division for Pima County; and directing all functions, programs and activities of the Pima County Health Department, a 350-employee operation with an annual operating budget of $36 million.
Professor Daniels was honored with the University of Arizona Alumni Association Recognition Award in November 2011; as a Fabulous 50 Nurse, Tucson, Arizona, May 2007; and by Sigma Theta Tau International, Beta Mu Chapter, for Excellence in Clinical Practice in April 1991, an organization in which she is a member. In October 2011, Professor Daniels was the keynote speaker at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Scholarship Luncheon and presented the convocation speech at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health graduation in December 2010. She looks forward to sharing her love of public health with students as a first step in understanding the context of individuals within community and how public health interventions have power to change health on multiple levels.
MS, RN, OCN
Professor Lacasse has been a nurse for more than 30 years, caring for oncology patients in a variety of settings including inpatient care, bone marrow transplant and ambulatory care. She also has experience in several roles in nursing practice including staff nurse, preceptor, clinical educator, administrator and advanced practice nurse.
As a clinical nurse specialist in a nurse-run pain and symptom management service, Professor Lacasse integrated clinical expertise, patient/family and staff education, and research as part of her daily practice. This role allowed her to experience the impact of expert nursing care on the quality of life of individuals who were experiencing cancer-related symptoms and learn the power of applied research in enhancing symptom management outcomes.
Professor Lacasse has been involved in both nursing research and clinical trials in medical oncology throughout her nursing career, and is currently studying symptom perception of older cancer survivors with multiple chronic illnesses. In addition, she has 20 years of experience in academic teaching as a clinical faculty member in the entry to nursing practice programs and has taught and mentored more than 2,000 students. She has received several awards for excellence in education. As a nursing leader, she served on and led multiple local, regional and national committees in practice and educational settings, led inter-professional projects, and coordinated patient/family and professional educational programs. Professor Lacasse is passionate about assisting in the development of future leaders in health care delivery and reform.
Cathleen L. Michaels
Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Cathleen Michaels is a clinical associate professor who teaches in the RN-MS program. As a Ph.D.-prepared nurse, her roles have included nurse case manager, clinical director of research and administrator for Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital and Health System; team member for designing and operationalizing community-based, nurse-managed systems of care, including a nursing HMO and the federally-funded Community Nursing Organization; and staff specialist for a national Kellogg-funded project, the National Commission on Nursing Implementation Project.
At the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Dr. Michaels has served as co-director for the Community Cancer Connections program; co-director for the University of Arizona Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPEP) program; co-director for the Tucson Holistic Healing Initiative for Nurses, a learning network established to introduce integrative therapies into nurses’ self-care; and principal investigator for research projects that investigated people’s perspectives about health, in particular their explanatory models for what causes and relieves chronic symptoms.
Dr. Michaels is passionate about the role words play in health — how words are used to talk about one’s health or symptoms, and how words can be used to understand a patient’s mental model of illness to garner support for a treatment plan and to broaden a patient’s health literacy, especially about chronic illness and its treatment, including integrative therapies.
DNSc, RN, FAAN
Dr. Moore is one of the key visionaries involved in the conception and launch of the online RN to MSN program. She serves as the program’s faculty administrator, is a recognized professor, and a multiple award recipient.
Dr. Moore was named a recipient of the 2012 Nurse Research Grants from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). She received the Discovery Award for her research on the effects of central nervous system treatment for childhood acute leukemia on antioxidant level, apoptosis and cognitive abilities in children with leukemia. The award provided Dr. Moore with $100,000 over two years. Dr. Moore has also been awarded the Association of Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology (APHON) Distinguished Researcher Award for her research focused on central nervous system toxicities in children with cancer.
Dr. Moore is an asset to the UA College of Nursing and to the industry as a whole. We’re proud of her many professional accomplishments and her role in developing the innovative RN to MSN program.
Evangeline M. Ortiz-Dowling
Evangeline M. Ortiz-Dowling, PhD, RN is a clinical assistant professor in the RN-MS program. Her nursing career, teaching, scholarship, and service commitments focus on educating and caring for the older adult population. Dr. Ortiz-Dowling serves on university and community committees aimed at improving the lives of older adults.
The purpose of Dr. Ortiz-Dowling’s dissertation study was to explore the cultural, social, environmental, and gender factors influencing physical activity in older Mexican American males. Results from this preliminary research provided insight as to how older Mexican American males feel about their general health, masculinity, and physical activity. This qualitative data was the first step in a program of study aimed at developing and pilot testing an evidence-based physical activity intervention to address cardiovascular disease and health disparities among older Mexican American males.
Mary F. O’Connell
MA, PHN, RN
Mary O’Connell is a clinical instructor and lead faculty in the RN-MS program. She began her nursing career in 1985 with an associate degree from Minneapolis Community College and worked as a pediatric nurse for five years. She went on to accept a role as a visiting homecare nurse for maternal and child health patients. After two years, she was promoted to Maternal Child Health (MCH) Program Manager and obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing through Bethel University.
After working as a MCH manager for eight years, Ms. O’Connell accepted a new position as Clinic Director for the largest community and federally qualified health center in the state of Minnesota, and served for 10 years in this role. During this time, she wrote and contributed to a variety of state and federal grants concerning health disparities, vulnerable populations and diabetes. She went on to obtain her master’s degree in Transcultural and Community Health nursing.
As a teacher, Ms. O’Connell makes every effort to integrate current and relevant topics within her classroom and readily utilizes today’s technology to keep students engaged. She strongly values education and what it takes to obtain a degree, and strives to make her students feel her sense of pride as they complete courses and move closer toward completing their degree.
Ms. O’Connell feels blessed to serve in the fields of nursing and education given the variety of student ages and life experiences, and their overall desire to be successful learners and well-educated members of society. She encourages her students to uphold and take great pride in their nursing practice, and to further consider what their nursing legacy will be.
Brigette J. Quinn
Brigette Quinn is a clinical instructor in the RN-MS program. Her nursing career began as a volunteer, a care aide, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and then a registered nurse (RN) in order to meet the challenges of critical care and emergency nursing. She loves the challenge of providing the best evidence-based and innovative health care possible.
Her professional background is in critical care and emergency nursing and clinical informatics, with experience as a nurse manager and hospital supervisor. Her passion for clinical informatics began as a critical care travel nurse using many different electronic medical records in the United States and Canada, where she saw that some enhanced workflow and patient safety more than others. She became fascinated with the user experience and transferred this interest to her work as an informatics educator and expert user.
As a nurse leader, Ms. Quinn enjoys resolving clinical challenges and collaborating with nurses who see more bridges than barriers. She is motivated by the fact that we will all be patients someday, and therefore she dedicates herself to advocating for patient-centered health care as a clinician and nurse educator. She believes the capacity to creatively share health and illness information for collaboration and patient empowerment is an exciting opportunity to build a healthier world.
Ph.D., RN, OCN
Throughout her 40-plus year career as a registered nurse, Dr. Rishel has worked in direct care and leadership roles in a variety of settings including adult ICU/CCU, high acuity inpatient pulmonary unit and adult and pediatric bone marrow transplant/hematology/oncology. She has held national certifications in medical/surgical nursing, case management and currently is a certified oncology nurse (OCN). Additional experiences include providing leadership for inpatient risk management, quality management and the development of case management services for a large regional health care corporation. She has several years of hospice and palliative care leadership experience in a free-standing hospice program and an inpatient palliative care program.
Dr. Rishel earned her Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Arizona, where she received the Outstanding Dissertation Award for her research study, “The Realization of Parental Knowing: End-of-Life Decision Making in Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation.” She has been published in Oncology Nursing Forum (ONF) and Chinese Nursing Management. She is a peer reviewer for ONF and Qualitative Health Research and has been the associate editor for the Leadership and Professional Development column in ONF since 2012. She also holds a clinical associate professor position at the UA College of Nursing. In this capacity, she has taught in the high acuity med/surgical BSN program, the doctoral program and is a lead faculty member in the RN-MSN program.
Dr. Rishel is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International nursing honorary. Her research interests include pediatric oncology, end-of-life issues/symptom management for pediatric patients and their families, pediatric palliative care, moral distress in nurses caring for pediatric oncology/transplant patients at the end-of-life and parent decision-making at the end of life.
Dr. Shea has been funded for the past 10 years by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, the Lawrence B. Emmons Award and Sigma Theta Tau International. With 15 years of experience in respiratory, home health and hospice nursing, her research is focused on the motivation of self-care behaviors through technological feedback, persuasion and other human factor strategies with the primary goal of enabling, encouraging, empowering and engaging people who are living with chronic conditions. She has more than 40 publications and presentations on telehealth applications, primarily about technology-based delivery of health care to patients’ homes. She teaches graduate-level courses that focus on nursing informatics, telehealth and technology usability in health care. As an active member of American Medical Informatics Association, Geriatric Society of America, Western Institute of Nursing and American Telemedicine Association, Dr. Shea remains up-to-date in a very progressive and innovative field of study. She enjoys working with master’s and doctoral-level students to understand the human factors that are involved with implementing technology into the caring aspects of nursing.
Dr. Silva obtained her doctorate degree in Epidemiology with a minor in Biostatistics from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Her research focus is on sleep, sleep disordered breathing, obesity, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and infectious diseases. She has taught several university courses including Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Care Organizations, Research Methods and Evidence-Based Practice. Her philosophy in teaching is to give students all the necessary tools for them to be able to learn and apply their new knowledge to help them perform their own evaluations. At the same time, students should be able to apply critical thinking, perform independent studies and interpret their results.
Carrie S. Silvers
Carrie Silvers is a clinical instructor and course chair in the RN-MS program. At 15, she began her nursing career as a candy striper volunteer at the military hospital on Offutt Air Force Base. At 17, she spent many days and nights at the bedside of her dear friend who suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident. His nursing staff became her inspiration.
While Ms. Silvers’ professional nursing background has focused mainly on critical care, nursing leadership and quality and safety have always been at the forefront. Her career has included a variety of work environments ranging from bedside nurse in critical care to flight nurse to Intensive Care Unit manager. As a manager, she successfully increased patient, nurse and physician satisfaction by using evidence-based teambuilding techniques. She led teams of nurses, respiratory therapists, speech therapists and physical therapists to create a PICC line team and a rehab team that specialized in cardiovascular rehabilitation, and created policy and budgets for her teams.
As a nurse leader, Ms. Silvers knows that in order to facilitate change, nurses need to speak up. She is committed to inspiring and mentoring nurses to become the patient’s advocate and spokesperson through integrity, sincerity and honesty. Her dream is to be an integral part of creating the optimum nursing work environment.
Mary Walters is a clinical instructor in the RN-MS program. Prior to joining the faculty in August 2013, Ms. Walters served as the Chief Nursing Officer at the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System for 13 years. She has extensive experience in nursing administration and geriatrics.
Ms. Walters received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her master’s degree from the University of Arizona. She holds three board certifications: Clinical Nurse Specialist in Gerontological Nursing from ANCC, Nurse Executive Advanced from ANCC and Clinical Nurse Leader from AACN.