Top 10 Most Influential Nursing Professors


The path to becoming a Registered Nurse doesn’t need to end with an RN degree. The RN can forge forward to gain new credentials, new focuses for research and the ability to gain influence and achievements through nursing education and beyond. The following top 10 most influential nursing professors are just a handful of representatives for the nursing education field. They influence students and their peers in their research focuses and achievements. As a student, you might seek out their knowledge by attending the schools where they teach or by reading about their work to learn more about your own nursing focus — which may include teaching.

The following individuals are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

  1. Kristen ArchboldKristen Hedger Archbold, PhD, RN, is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing and an expert in the area of sleep disorders and sleep research. She recently received a five-year $2-million grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to study the effects of a ventilator therapy on behavior and cognition in school-aged children who stop breathing during sleep, a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. This study is the first known to use a placebo or sham PAP ventilator, created by Kristen and her research team, in school-aged children and compare it to actual PAP.
  2. Linda BaumannLinda C. Baumann, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Nursing, and an expert on global health in developing countries, chronic disease management, health promotion of physical activity and healthy eating. She has conducted both experimental and descriptive studies of how a person’s beliefs about symptoms and illness influence health-related actions. Recent work focuses on health disparities of race/ethnicity and income in relationship to healthy lifestyle changes in diet and physical activity and she has expanded her research into Vietnam, where she is a member of the National Institute of Research Strategies for Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders Control.
  3. Carlton BrownCarlton G. Brown, PhD, RN, AOCN, is an assistant professor at the University of Delaware’s School of Nursing and the president of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). He uses the ONS platform to lobby for better legislation to assist patients and the nurses who care for them.Dr. Brown’s book, A Guide to Oncology Symptom Management, provides detailed coverage of symptoms and conditions affecting people with cancer. This summer, he received an Award of Excellence in the 22nd annual APEX Awards for Publication Excellence, sponsored by Writing That Works.
  4. D. Anthony ForresterD. Anthony “Tony” Forrester, RN, PhD, ANEF, a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing in Newark and is clinical professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine at UMDNJ’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS). He is also Professor in Residence and Interdisciplinary Health Research Consultant at Morristown Memorial Hospital and an expert faculty member for the Nurse Faculty Mentored Leadership Development Program. His areas of expertise and specialization in nursing clinical practice are: adult emergency/trauma, critical care, and psychiatric/mental health nursing.
  5. Mary Beth HappMary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a professor in the Acute and Tertiary Care Department at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing, with secondary appointments in Critical Care Medicine, the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, and at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing (adjunct). Widely published in gerontology and critical care, Dr. Happ’s research is focused on developing and testing the “SPEACS” nurse training program, to improve communication with nonspeaking, critically ill patients. She received the 2010 Eastern Nursing Research Society John A. Hartford Geriatric Research Award for her significant contributions to nursing research directed toward the older adult population.
  6. Kathryn LaughonKathryn Laughon, PhD, RN, is an associate professor of nursing at the University of Virginia and an expert in intimate partner violence and risk factors for intimate partner homicide and safety planning. In 2008, she was one of 15 junior faculty in the nation to receive an inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar award. Dr. Laughon currently is principle investigator on a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study to test an intervention for guardians of children orphaned by intimate partner homicide. She is also a forensic nurse examiner and conducts evidence collection and provides care to victims of sexual assault.
  7. Courtney LyderCourtney Lyder, ND, GNP, FAAN, was the first minority to earn tenure at Yale’s School of Nursing and the second youngest member inducted into the American Academy of Nursing. As the new dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, Lyder is the first African-American male to lead a U.S. nursing school, and one of fewer than 3 percent of U.S. deans under age 45. He is a nationally recognized expert on minority aging and served as a senior consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he has influenced federal regulations and policies related to elder care throughout the U.S.
  8. Linda SarnaLinda Sarna, DNSc, RN, FAAN, AOCN, is a professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and an expert on oncology nursing and tobacco control. She helped establish one of the nation’s first oncology nursing specialty programs at the UCLA School of Nursing more than 30 years ago, and recently was appointed to the school’s Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Endowed Chair in Nursing. As principal investigator for the Tobacco Free Nurses initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sarna led the first-ever nationwide program to help nurses quit smoking and to promote nursing involvement and leadership in tobacco control.
  9. Mary Lou SoleMary Lou Sole, RN, PhD, CCRN, FAAN, a professor in UCF’s College of Nursing, also oversees the adult-gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist track for the new post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice program. She is an expert in the area of airway management and mechanical ventilation, infection prevention in acute care, and critical care nursing. She also is the lead investigator on a National Institutes of Health nursing research grant related to airway management in critically ill patients. Her book, Introduction to Critical Care Nursing, currently in its fifth edition, was named the 2010 Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing.
  10. Lin ZhanLin Zhan, RN, PhD, FAAN, is a professor and director of PhD Program in Nursing in the Department of Nursing, School of Health and Environment at UMass-Lowell. She is a Fellow of American Academy of Nursing and serves on the Academy’s Expert Panel on Aging. Her research focuses on quality of life for older adults and ethnic minorities. Her scholarly work is evident by funded research projects and publication in and research-based peer reviewed publications. In 2000, her book, Asian Voices: Asian and Asian American Health Educators Speak Out, received “”he Book of the Year” award by the American Journal of Nursing for outstanding professional development.
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