Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is one way that nurses can advance their career and gain a degree of autonomy that was previously not possible outside of becoming an MD. FNPs often work independently and have prescription capabilities. The focus of this specialty is on family, primary care meaning that FNPs work with people who are at all different points in their lifespan, offering health promotion advice, complete physical assessments, and care for acute illness as well as long-term chronic issues.
Family Nurse Practitioners must earn their FNP credentials by sitting for a certification exam after earning either a Master’s Degree or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. The professors on this list teach at the postgraduate level. All have proven themselves to be dedicated educators in the field of nursing. More information on how these particular professors were chosen can be found in our methodology section.
Dr. Kathleen J.H. Sparbel is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing. Dr. Sparbel is also the Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program at UIC and has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In 2010, Dr. Sparbel was named the Nursing Pinnacle Leader at the UIC College of Nursing Power of Nursing Leadership Event.
Dr. Jane Kass-Wolff is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver where she is also the Women's Health Option Coordinator. Dr. Kass-Wolff is a practicing Family Nurse Practitioner with a particular interest in women's healthcare issues. In 2005 she was named Outstanding Graduating Doctoral Student at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Kathryn J. Trotter is an Assistant Professor at the Duke University School of Nursing. Dr. Trotter spends half of her time as a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner at the Duke University Medical Center. Her clinical interests lie largely with women's health and families as well as the application of group health care models to prenatal care, parenting, and chronic illnesses.
Dr. Erica Monasterio is a clinical professor in the Family Health Care Nursing department at the University of California at San Francisco. In 2008, Dr. Monasterio was awarded the Teaching Award for Excellence in Clinical Mentoring. She is also a Family Nurse Practitioner who engages in active clinical work in San Francisco.
Dr. D'Ann Somerall is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Somerall is also the track coordinator for the Family Nurse Practitioner program at UAB. She serves as a mentor for the school's Doctorate of Nursing Practice students as well as President of Sigma Theta Tau International.
Dr. Carolyn Rutledge is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at the Old Dominion University School of Nursing. Dr. Rutledge was the 2007 recipient of the Gene W. Hirschfeld Faculty Excellence Awards as well as receiving a nomination for the Rising Star Outstanding Faculty Award in 2006.
Dr. Debra J. Barksdale is an Associate Professor and Director of the Nursing Practice Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. Dr. Barksdale is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Barksdale practices as a volunteer Nurse Practitioner at the Robert Nixon Clinic for the homeless in Chapel Hill.
Dr. Marlene E. McHugh is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Columbia University School of Nursing. Dr. McHugh's research has been published in a number of professional journals. She has been selected as a participant in the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program and received the Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy Educational Grant in 2007.
Dr. Gary Laustsen is an Associate Professor and Assistant Program Director of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Laustsen himself is a Family Nurse Practitioner in addition to his teaching and mentorship responsibilities. In 2011, Dr. Laustsen received the Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence for the state of Oregon.
Dr. Barbara L. Brush is the Carol J. and F. Edward Lake Term Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Brush co-coordinates the Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Program, teaching clinical management of acute and chronic health conditions. She is also a nurse historian and has been the recipient of the Mae Edna Doyle Teacher of the Year as well as an Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from Sigma Theta Tau.
Dr. Carolynn Spera Bruno is an Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Nursing as well as the Specialty Coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty. Dr. Bruno practices as an FNP with cardiac patients in Western Connecticut and has a particular interest in cardiology and acute coronary syndrome.
Dr. Christine Hoyle is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the top ranked University of Washington School of Nursing. Dr. Hoyle teaches core courses for Doctorate of Nursing Practice students as well as Family Nurse Practitioner clinical seminars. Dr. Hoyle's clinical work focuses on underserved, ethnically diverse patient populations in primary health care settings.
Dr. Lenore K. Resick is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Resick has worked in the nursing field for more than four decades. In 2010, she was appointed the Noble J. Dick Endowed Chair in Community Outreach and has also been recognized by her peers for her outstanding service to the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty.
Dr. Susan Tiso is Clinical Professor of Nursing Science at the University of California, Irvine in the Program in Nursing Science. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from The George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the Associate Director of the MS/NP Program at UC Irvine.
As a rule, Family Nurse Practitioners are dedicated professionals. As such, those who choose to not only practice as Family Nurse Practitioners, but also to devote significant time and resources to becoming FNP educators also tend to be dedicated, educated, and devoted to their students. In order to select 15 top Family Nurse Practitioner professors, we considered the following criteria for each professor.