Class of 1996

Every VUSN graduate has exciting things happening in her or his life, both professionally and personally.  Class Notes – printed twice a year in the Vanderbilt Nurse Magazine and available online on this page – is an opportunity for you to not only learn what other alumni are doing but also share news about your life.  We would love to hear what you've been up to! Please contact us with any updates, or call 615-322-4836. 

The most recent listings appear first. More info may be available at and in the Class Notes sections of Vanderbilt Nurse Magazine at

Wendy Johnson Araya, MSN’96, DNP’12, was featured in a March 2020 VUMC Voice article about Leap Day babies born at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where she is a neonatal nurse practitioner. She co-authored “Assessing and Addressing Practitioner Burnout: Results from an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Health and Well-being Study,” published in November 2019 in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners . Wendy has worked at Vanderbilt for over 25 years, starting as a licensed practical nurse in the newborn nursery in 1984. 

Debra Arnow, MSN’96, DNP’11, was named director of VUSN’s Nursing and Health Care Leadership specialty, effective in January 2021, and was elected treasurer of the board of directors for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, 2020-23. She had been senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer of Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Linda Baker, MSN’96, is a family nurse practitioner in the Lovelace Health System in Albuquerque, New Mexico (2020). 

Linda Beuscher, MSN’96, co-authored “Can Robots Encourage Social Engagement among Older Adults?” published in Innovation in Aging in December 2020. She retired from her position as assistant professor at VUSN in July 2019, and presented a poster, “Barriers to Transition from SNF to Home: Discharge Team’s Perspective,” at the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association conference that October. She collaborated to create a robot-guided video game that assists people who have dementia. Linda received the outstanding research podium presentation award at the GAPNA national conference in September 2018 for her qualitative research on elderly residents recently discharged from skilled nursing facilities to home. She co-authored "Socially Assistive Robots: Measuring Older Adults' Perceptions," in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing , November 2017. She was elected to distinguished fellow in the National Academies of Practice and the Nursing Academy in 2016, and, in 2015, Linda received both the GAPNA Award for Excellence in Research and the Rebecca Culpepper Education and Mentorship Award from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Martha Brinson, MSN’96, is a family nurse practitioner at the Southern Joint Replacement Institute in Nashville, specializing in orthopaedic surgery (2020). 

Jonathan Cole, MSN’96, is associate medical director at Saint Thomas Medical Group's Hypertension Institute in Nashville, an adult practice with emphasis on hypertension, prevention of cardiovascular disease and general internal medicine (2017). 

Katherine Sheridan Crocker, BA’73, MEd’89, MSN’96, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner at West Nashville Psych Associates (2020). 

Mary Darden, MSN’96, is a nurse practitioner at Tennessee Oncology in Nashville, where she specializes in medical oncology and breast cancer (2020). 

Chris Marcou Eighmey, MSN’96, is an instructor of pediatric surgery at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine in Portland (2020). 

Melissa Geist, MSN’96, EdD’04, co-authored “How Do You Do Creative Inquiry? Integrating Research and Practice into Campus Culture,” published in July 2020 in the Journal of Excellence in College Teaching . She received the VUSN Alumni Award for Innovation in Health Care in October, and was was recognized in November in the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and by Belmont University in Nashville. Melissa is a professor at the Tennessee Technological University Whitson-Hester School of Nursing in Cookeville, and a board-certified family and pediatric nurse practitioner. 

Donna Hamby, MSN’96, is an acute care nurse practitioner and on the nursing faculty at the University of Texas Arlington (2020). 

Sharon Heinrich, MSN’96, traveled to Nigeria in December 2015 with a team of Rotarians from the U.S. and Canada to support polio eradication.   

Anthony Lathrop, BA’87, MSN’96, PMC’97, is a certified nurse-midwife in Indianapolis, Indiana (2020). 

Angie Long, MSN’96, is a certified nurse-midwife in a new, private, all-female provider practice in Nashville called Women Obstetrics and Gynecology, offering midwifery, well-woman and obstetrics/gynocological services (2017). 

Shelley Lott, MSN’96, is a nurse practitioner at the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Cole Neuroscience Center in Knoxville (2020). 

Bernard McCarty, MSN’96, of Smyrna, Tennessee, passed away in November 2015.    

Sheridan Whalen Miyamoto, MSN’96, was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in October 2020. She is an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing in State College and director of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth Center. 

Jamie Spicer, MSN’96, is director of home-based primary care in Nashville for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and adjunct instructor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2020). 

Sonia Vishneski, MSN’96, is on faculty at the Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, Virginia (2016). 

Pam Waynick-Rogers, MSN’92, PMC’96, was promoted to assistant professor at VUSN in January 2020, and co-authored “The Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning: Sustaining a Longitudinal, Clinical Experience that Aligns Practice with Education,” published in Academic Medicine in April. She was named treasurer of the Tennessee chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nursing in December. Pam co-published “An Educational Tool for Promoting Transitional Health Care Planning by Nurses from the Hospital to the Community,” in the May 2019 issue of Nursing Education Perspectives. She co-presented “Sustainability Conceptual Model: Three Pillars to Support Interprofessional Collaboration,” and “Implementation of a Longitudinal Standardized Patient Encounter: How Do You Evaluate Individual Students and Student Teams?” at the Collaborating Across Borders conference in October. Pam received an American Interprofessional Health Collaborative Scholar Award in October 2017. 

Mark Young, MSN’96, wrote an article, "Heads Up! Phones Down!" for the Vanderbilt University faculty and staff Connections newsletter in summer 2017. He is assistant manager for programs at Vanderbilt's occupational health clinic.