Debra Serrino

Debra Serrino

Lecturer

"I want my students to be enthusiastic about their learning and take what they need to add to and improve their nursing care. I want to present a more global view of what is possible in nursing."

DEGREES HELD:

  • MSN – University of California San Francisco
  • BSN – University of Michigan, 1979

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

The apex of my career to date was my work during the AIDS pandemic in San Francisco. I worked inpatient, outpatient hospice and in AIDS research in clinical trials at Kaiser Permanente. It was a time of growth and compassion for me with a vulnerable population experiencing a lot of bias. I gave many local and national presentations and wrote two book chapters on AIDS care.

I have performed post-graduate research with end-stage AIDS hospice patients and was a research study reviewer for “Validation of a Method to Objectively Assess Clinical Performance” with Dr. Mary Ann Shinnick.

Also, I have received a national Quality Matters Certificate of Course Recognition and the UNM Golden Paw award for our wound care (NUR 429) elective online course.

IN WHICH ONLINE BACHELOR'S DEGREE PROGRAM(S) DO YOU TEACH?

RN to BSN

WHICH CLASSES DO YOU TEACH ONLINE?

N301: Professional Communication for Nurses

N406: Nursing in the Community

N473: End of Life Care

N429: Wound Care

WHAT DO YOU WANT STUDENTS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR CLASSES?

I want my students to be enthusiastic about their learning and take what they need to add to and improve their nursing care. I want to present a more global view of what is possible in nursing.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A BSN?

The degree represents freedom for many nurses around the world. Independence and a decent living in which you can see the value of your work.

WHY DID YOU START TEACHING?

I loved outpatient hospice work with my patients and their families. I started teaching as an Assistant Clinical Professor in San Francisco in an AIDS Home Care CNS pilot project. I thought I would try teaching at UNM after establishing some “street cred” in hospice at Presbyterian Healthcare Services for two years. I wanted to be able to teach future nurses about death, dying and outpatient care.

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

One of my UCSF advisers, Dr. Carmen Portillo, once told me, “If you're not feeling humble, you're not teaching right." These words inspire me to be open to the changes in nursing and aware of when and where students get confused and need clarity.

WHAT QUALITIES MAKE SOMEONE PARTICULARLY SUCCESSFUL IN NURSING?

Curiosity, life-long learning, compassion, intelligence and a desire to help and communicate clearly with people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Also, a true appreciation for the differences in belief systems.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES NURSES FACE TODAY?

Health equity, care for vulnerable populations and the need for a national health care system in the United States.

TELL US SOMETHING YOUR STUDENTS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU:

I have spent 15 years travelling to more than 100 countries, initially searching for Shangri-La. I’ve been on many backpacking trips, including several in the Himalayas in Nepal and Pakistan.

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