GAPNA Honors Two Faculty Members

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) Assistant Professor Linda Beuscher, PhD, GNP-BC, has been selected to receive the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA) Award for Excellence in Research, and Assistant Professor Megan Simmons, DNP, PMHNP-BC, will receive the organization’s first-ever Rising Star Award for serving as a role model to future geriatric nurse practitioners.

“Linda is making significant contributions to the growing area of geriatric research. She is the consummate collaborator with faculty and practitioners and a tremendous mentor to students,” said Linda Norman, DSN, RN, Valere Menefee Potter Professor of Nursing and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. “Megan is a truly a rising star.  She is a skilled provider and an educator who inspires future Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students to care for older adults.”

Beuscher joined Vanderbilt as faculty in 2007, upon earning her PhD from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  She taught nursing research to master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students and served as committee chair for DNP students conducting geriatric-focused projects.  She has a joint position with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for Quality Aging, conducting research and quality improvement efforts aimed at improving health care for the elderly.

In the past five years, Beuscher has been co-investigator in three National Institutes of Health (NIH) RO1 studies.  Each tested different nursing interventions to improve care for residents residing in long-term care facilities such as the collaboration between acute and post-acute care, and cost-effectiveness of nutrition interventions.  She has published extensively and is a reviewer for two geriatric journals.

In 2010, she spearheaded efforts at the school to launch the geriatric specialty interest group, a collaboration of faculty committed to the care of older adults in clinical practice, research and education.  Momentum from the geriatric specialty interest group resulted in VUSN being selected to become a member of the National Hartford Centers for Gerontological Nursing Excellence in 2014, which she co-directs.

Simmons, also a member of VUSN’s Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence, joined VUSN faculty in 2013 and has been a practicing Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner since graduating from Vanderbilt’s MSN program in 2005. She has consulted in long-term care facilities providing psychiatric assessment and medication management services.  She earned a DNP from VUSN in 2013 and her scholarly project assessed the off-label usage of antipsychotic medications in Middle Tennessee nursing homes.  She co-founded and chairs the Geropsych Focus Group within GAPNA. In 2014, she was named the Middle Tennessee March of Dimes Behavioral Health Nurse of the Year.