Nurse Educator Profile – Gwen George, RN, DNP, FNP-BC
Licensed Practical Nurse from Jefferson Vocational-Technical School, 1980
Registered nurse diploma from Charity Hospital School of Nursing, 1988
Bachelor’s in nursing from Loyola University New Orleans, 1991
Master’s in nursing from Northwestern State University of Louisiana, 1996
Doctor of Nursing Practice from University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 2008
A call to help people drew Gwen George to nursing, and over her 30-plus-year career, she has done just that for a variety of patients. As a registered nurse, she’s worked in hospital settings in medical-surgical units, Intensive Care Units, mental health, and home health. As a family nurse practitioner, she’s worked in rural health clinics, nursing homes, and HIV clinics. After several years of practice, she began a career as an educator. She is currently an assistant professor and program coordinator for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at her alma mater, Loyola University New Orleans, which is one of the first DNP program for nurses in the state. She was recently recognized as a leader in the field of nursing by the Louisiana State Nurses Association, who named her Nursing School Administrator of the Year.
Question: What drew you to the field of nursing?
George: “As a child, I wanted to be an artist, I was always drawing cartoons and still paint to this day, but I didn’t think art would support me. When I was about 14, one of my sisters had the mumps and couldn’t attend the Mardi Gras parades. I volunteered to stay home and care for her and found my calling. I enjoyed taking care of people and seeing them get better.”
Question: Why did you continue to pursue advanced degrees in the field? How has that benefited you in your career?
George: “I was working MICU when I decided to get a graduate degree. I had been working in MICU for about five years and the patients didn’t always survive and I wanted to take care of people who would recover. I found that clinic jobs are hard to find as a RN unless you have an advanced degree. After some research I decided I wanted to become a family nurse practitioner. Later when I became an educator, a doctoral degree was a requirement so as I began researching I was intrigued by the practice doctorate. I wasn’t interested in becoming a researcher so the DNP seemed a good fit. And I found as I suspect most people do that all the different things I did throughout my career prepared me to do what I do now.”
Question: What do you enjoy about your work? What challenges, developments or successes keep it exciting to you?
George: “What excites me the most are the challenges — developing new programs is exciting and sustaining them is challenging and I like the challenge. I like looking at the big picture and then creating solutions that will work. I also like being able to influence nursing by my work in the classroom with students who will one day lead nursing. At Loyola School of Nursing our vision is ‘A world where every nurse is a leader.’ I truly believe that and expect each and every one of my students to do great things.”
Question: What advice do you have for people just starting their education or their professional career who are considering going into advanced nursing practices?
George: “Find something that you are passionate about and then don’t stop until you are successful. Work takes up an enormous amount of time, you want to spend that time doing something you love!”