Cathlin Poronsky

Nursing has been a wonderfully rewarding career for me in so many ways for over thirty years. My professional roles have included staff, management, and director in hospital and clinic settings, advanced practice as a family nurse practitioner, and full time faculty member in a university school of nursing. The nursing process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation, has guided my work, not only in the practice of nursing, but in many other settings and activities. I have used it over and over again because it works!

I earned a BSN from Loyola University, Chicago. After five years of medical surgical nursing, I found my niche in the Operating Room. I practiced nursing in the OR for eighteen years, in five different institutions and in a wide range of staff and management roles. I became certified (CNOR) as a peri-operative nurse by the American Association of Operative Nurses. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the OR. I realized that to continue growing I needed a change in practice setting, and nursing so readily allows for that!

I decided to seek a graduate degree in nursing and earned an MS in Nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I become a Family Nurse Practitioner and moved from the highly technical environment of the surgical suite to the low tech environment of the primary care office. This change was fueled by a desire to practice more autonomously and to focus my efforts on health promotion and disease prevention.

Following graduation, and certification by examination from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, I began as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a private primary care practice in suburban Chicago. I found great satisfaction in primary care. I also discovered my public voice and became an advocate to expand healthcare to the uninsured. This interest grew out of my deep frustration with the limits on access to healthcare for those without financial means. My efforts led to full time employment in the not for profit sector, where I spear headed the formation a new organization to address social justice issues. This multi-faith organization includes parishes and congregations, mosques, synagogues, and unions.

Advocacy work and its unique challenges were most rewarding; however, I sorely missed nursing practice. When an opportunity for a new role as full time faculty emerged, I eagerly accepted the position. Teaching has been a great fit, and the fall of 2007 marks the start of my third year as a full-time faculty member at St. Xavier University in Chicago. I am the co-director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program and teach nurse practitioner students as well as graduate level Health Assessment and Pathophysiology. I also returned to active clinical practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner on a part-time basis.

My desire for doctoral educational is to develop myself as a nurse educator. Through the program of studies at UWM I intend to expand my knowledge of teaching, learning, and research. I plan to enhance my advisement and counseling skills so that I am better equipped to work with students in my advising and mentoring roles. I am interested in researching the phenomenon of mentoring for new nurse faculty.

Professional organization memberships include:
Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing, The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), The American College of Nurse Practitioners, and the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing.

I have had the opportunity for community service in my local community, at the village and parish level in a number of ways. Working with others to expand healthcare to those without the economic means to pay for services took me to a broader statewide level. And, in July, 2006 there was an international opportunity when I participated in a parish outreach trip to Jinja, Uganda, East Africa. These activities have expanded my horizons in countless ways. I have met many wonderful people and have received so much more in return than I have given.

At this point in my life I feel truly blessed to be starting on the pursuit of a lifelong dream-to earn a PhD in Nursing. I am privileged to be part of the 2007 online cohort at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a talented, stimulating, articulate group of nurses. I am honored to have been chosen by NEF and thankful for the scholarship assistance.