Sue knew at an early age that she wanted to go into nursing or medicine, so she started nursing training in high school and went on to receive an associate’s degree from Quinnipiac University. Her first job was in Philadelphia at the Presbyterian University of Pennsylvania medical center, where she worked on a medical/surgical unit as a staff nurse in Philadelphia. While working there, Sue had an opportunity to meet Lillian Brunner, a pioneer in medical-surgical nursing and author of a Medical/Surgical text book. That experience was transforming for her. Meeting her had a tremendous influence on her decision to continue to pursue an advanced education in nursing.
After working three years in Philadelphia, she accepted a position in the surgical step-down unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, and after about a year, transitioned to the coronary critical care unit. Working with cardiac patients was very rewarding. She went into nursing because it has the characteristics and values she finds important such as advocacy, education, compassion in combination with science and patient care. She also got involved in a community based American Heart Association Phase 3 cardiac rehabilitation program were we coached heart-attack survivors through exercise programs and taught them healthy habits. A number of the RNs would run with cardiac patients in local races monitoring their physical progress along the way. Sue really feels that nursing is about helping others advocate for themselves, and teaching them what they themselves can do to live a healthy lifestyle, as a nurse is the most important thing she could do.
While working in Connecticut, she continued her education by earning her BSN at Quinnipiac University and MSN at the Yale University School of Nursing. Sue moved to Colorado in 1990 and worked as a travel nursing until 1992, when she was hired by the University of Colorado Hospital and held a number of positions as a nurse educator/CNS and nursing leadership and administration before joining the College of Nursing in 2011 putting years of nursing experience to work in the Integrated Nursing Pathways program, and as an instructor.
In addition to teaching medical-surgical nursing and other courses, Sue works to bring diversity to nursing through the Integrated Nursing Pathway Program. The program is designed to bring greater diversity into the CU nursing student body and to streamline the pathway from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree in nursing. It offers simultaneous application and admission, dual academic advising and an early introduction and continued mentoring to prepare for the role of professional nursing.