Welcome New Faculty

Laurie Connors, DNP, APNG, FNP-BC, AGN-BC, Assistant Professor

Dr. Connors has nearly 20 years’ experience in oncology and genetics as a family nurse practitioner. She has practiced in private practice and in medical and surgical oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. In addition to her certification as an FNP, she is credentialed by the Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission as an advanced practice nurse in genetics. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University at Buffalo, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where she has received several teaching excellence awards. Her research interests include quality care of cancer survivors and the interpretation, delivery and application of genetic/genomic data to clinical care. Recently, Connors received a National Institute of Nursing Research intramural research training award and completed genetic training at the National Institutes of Health. She has published and presented on hereditary cancer syndromes, personalized health care and precision medicine, and quality of life of cancer patients. Connors earned both an MSN and a DNP from the University of Buffalo.


Stefani Davis, DNP, WHNP-BC, Instructor

Dr. Davis is teaching in the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner specialty to WHNP and dual Adult- Gerontology Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner students. Her current classes are advanced assessment courses where she teaches breast exams and general head-to-toe assessments. In addition to teaching at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, she is on staff at the OhioHealth Breast and Cancer Surgeons practice in Columbus, Ohio. Her special interests include sexual dysfunction following breast cancer treatment and development of a breast cancer survivorship program. Davis earned both her MSN and DNP from VUSN; her DNP project involved implementation of the female sexual function index adaption for breast cancer survivors.


Janelle Delle, DNP, ACNP-BC, Instructor

Dr. Delle is an acute care nurse practitioner who teaches in the PreSpecialty component of the MSN program. She has nearly 15 years’ experience in acute care settings, including trauma, orthopaedics, medical-surgical, operating room and intensive care units. In addition to teaching, she is a trauma nurse practitioner at VUMC. Delle earned her DNP degree at VUSN, an MSN from Saint Louis University and a BSN from Austin Peay State University. Her recent clinical research interests include capturing acute stress disorder in the trauma population, which was also the focus of her doctoral research. She’s currently teaching Fundamentals of Nursing and will teach Adult Health and the capstone course in 2017.


Misty Evans, DNP, APRN, CPNP-AC

Dr. Evans is a certified acute care pediatric nurse practitioner with a strong clinical background in pediatric hematology-oncology, particularly hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT). She teaches in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care program and participates in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care courses. Evans’ research interests include supportive care measures for children receiving HSCT, long-term effects of HSCT, and recognition and management of graft versus host disease. Prior to obtaining her Vanderbilt DNP, she earned a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care post-master’s certificate from VUSN. For her doctoral studies, she collaborated with a pediatric transplant physician at King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan and focused on decreasing bacterial infections in children undergoing HSCT. She practices at TriStar Children’s Hospital Centennial in Nashville and is active in promoting continuing education and professional involvement for pediatric hematology-oncology nurses and nurse practitioners.


Virginia Gardner, MSN, PMHNP-BC, Instructor

Gardner is a certified adult psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner with prescriptive privileges. She is teaching in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty as well as serving as faculty for the school’s clinical course series and its psychopharmacology course. Gardner works at the Nashville Center for Hope and Healing, a private psychiatry practice in Nashville, where she specializes in the treatment of mood disorders. Prior to joining the center, she had a clinical practice and was a clinical faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She earned her MSN from VUSN in 2006. Her academic interests include psychopharmacology and neuroscience. In addition to her PMHNP certification, she is certified as a qualified cognitive therapist.


Tamika Hudson, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CLC, Instructor

Hudson is an instructor in the PreSpecialty program, where she teaches Fundamentals of Nursing, capstone clinical practicum, suturing, the APN Role Within the U.S. Health Care Delivery System, and other topics. She has experience in internal medicine, dermatology, pediatrics/lactation counseling and addictions science. Hudson maintains clinical practice as a board-certified family nurse practitioner at The Next Door, a nonprofit agency that caters to women suffering from substance abuse, and volunteers as a certified lactation counselor and educator at the Hope Clinic for Women. Previously, she was an adjunct nursing instructor at Belmont University. Hudson’s research and scholarly interests include substance abuse detoxification, nursing education, health care disparities and increasing health equity within underrepresented communities. A VUSN alumna, Hudson serves as co-adviser for the school’s Black Student Nurses Organization and is completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a Nurse Educator concentration at Samford University.


Mary Lambert, DNP, FAAN, Associate Professor

Dr. Lambert joined VUSN as an associate professor following a long and notable career in addressing national public health needs as an active duty Army nurse and in leadership at the U.S. Public Health Service. Her responsibilities included assignments at the White House, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Surgeon General, Department of Homeland Security and Food and Drug Administration. In the early days after 9/11, she was part of the operations center set up by the Department of Health and Human Services and responded to anthrax exposure events on Capitol Hill. Prior to active service, she served in the Army Reserve and worked as a staff nurse, public health nurse, nursing instructor and clinical nurse specialist (gerontology), and as associate chief nurse at a Veterans Administration Medical Center. Lambert is part of the DNP faculty and currently teaches epidemiology. She earned her DNP at Vanderbilt and her MSN at Emory University. Her research interests include issues relating to the growing population of female veterans.


Brandee Madden, MSN, PMHNP-BC, Instructor

Madden is a certified Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with the Mental Health Cooperative, working with adults at clinics around Middle Tennessee, including those in Dickson, Rutherford, Montgomery and Sumner counties. She has practiced in community mental health for more than a decade, focusing on clients with serious and persistent mental illnesses. She also has experience in working with children in crisis as a clinical team co-therapist. Her research interests include caregiver stress and best practices in community and rural mental health. She holds an MSN from Vanderbilt and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. She is working on her DNP at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and teaches in both the Specialty and PreSpecialty programs at VUSN.


Susanna Rudy, DNP, MFS, AG-ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, ENP, CCRN, Instructor

Dr. Rudy is a board-certified nurse practitioner in emergency, family and adult-gerontology acute care with a master’s degree in forensic science as well as master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice degrees from Vanderbilt. She has worked in emergency departments, intensive care units, trauma centers, and critical and acute care units. Dr. Rudy interned for the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) and externed for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab. She is certified in advanced cardiac and advanced burn trauma life support and has trained for Homeland Security, sexual assault and disaster response teams. Her research interests include developing fellowship programs for emergency or family nurse practitioners who want to work in emergency medicine. In addition to teaching in the Adult-Gerontological Acute Care specialty and PreSpecialty program, she is an emergency nurse practitioner (ENP) in the VUMC Emergency Department.

Tony L. Smith, DNP, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, CFRN, NREMT, Assistant Professor

Dr. Smith is a certified family and acute care nurse practitioner and a certified flight registered nurse. He has extensive experience in trauma and emergency care, and has worked as a nurse educator for both VUMC and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He moved from the emergency department to LifeFlight in 2005 and has also worked as director of LifeFlight Education. Smith has been an assistant professor at Tennessee Technological University since 2004. At VUSN, he teaches Adult-Gerontology/ Family Nurse Practitioner — Emergency Care focus students. He holds a DNP from VUSN and an MSN from the University of Alabama. His research interests include best practices for new flight crew orientation and investigating career paths for flight medics and paramedics.


Lucy Tucker, MSN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, Instructor

Tucker is an advanced practice nurse certified as both a family and acute care nurse practitioner. She has experience as a medical and surgical intensive care nurse and as an emergency department nurse practitioner. She earned her MSN at Vanderbilt and her BSN at Liberty University. Prior to joining VUSN, Tucker served as adjunct faculty at Lipscomb University School of Nursing, where she instructed students about oxygen delivery systems, cardiac dysrhythmias, advanced cardiac life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation and synchronized cardioversion. Tucker teaches in VUSN’s PreSpecialty program and also works in Nashville area emergency departments as an ENP.