faculty profile

Clare Thomson-Smith   DNP, JD, RN, FAANP

Assistant Professor


Clare Thomson-Smith, DNP, JD, RN, FAANP has been a faculty member and course coordinator for the VUSN leadership programs of study including both the MSN and DNP specialties for many years. She brings a wealth of very varied experiences in leadership, beginning more formally as the Director of Midwifery and Perinatal services at a large American managed hospital in the Middle East. In her early career, experiences from the most primitive to the most sophisticated health care settings lent itself to becoming an expert in systems thinking and leadership. Clare brings together her clinical and administrative knowledge from Australia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, to the US, and now to the School of Nursing. Educated as a Registered Nurse, Nurse Midwife, trauma nurse, critical care nurse, perinatal nurse, lawyer, administrator, APN leader, and educator, Clare brings a passion for nursing leadership, law and ethics, and importantly, to mentoring the next generation of nurse leaders within the often chaotic and complex healthcare system.


  • JD, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • DNP, Samford University
  • MSN, Post-Master's , Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (Health Systems Administration)
  • MSN, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (FNP)
  • BSN, Cumberland University


  • Preston and Northcote Hospital, Melbourne, Australia - Accident and Emergency Nursing certificate
  • Royal Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia - Midwifery Nursing certificate
  • Royal Canberra Hospital, ACT, Australia - General Nursing diploma

Representative Publications


Kapu, A., Thomson-Smith, C. & Jones, Pam. Developing a 24/7 Intensivist NP Program - The Vanderbilt Experience, The Nurse Practitioner, August 2012

Centralized Resources for Nurse Practitioners: Common Early Experiences Among Leaders of Six Large Health Systems, Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 2012

Book Chapters

Kapu, A. Moote, M., Steward, B., & Thomson-Smith, C. Formulating Centers for Advanced Practice. Located in Integrating NPs & PAs in the ICU by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, January 2012

Thomson-Smith, C. & Kapu, A. Measurements of Success. Located in Transition to Hospital Based Practice: A Guide for NPs and Administrators Fall 2012

Representative Presentations

Leadership Conference, National Assoication of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, Phoenix, 2014

Health Care Reform And Its Impact On Nursing Services, March Oof Dimes Learning For Nurses Conference- Nashville, 2013 

Essential Considerations: Onboarding And Competency Evaluation; Building A 24/7 Intensivist Np Program - The Vanderbilt Experience, UHC Leap Conference, Chicago, 2011 

Professional Practice Evaluation - FPPE/OPPE; Building A 24/7 Intensivist Np Program - The Vanderbilt Experience, 2012 AANP National Conference, Tampa, 2012 

Legal Implications Of Documentation, Obstetrics And Neonatal Symposium, Nashville, 2011 

Integrating The NP/PA Into Acute Care Practice in Community Based Hospitals, CHS Quality Conference, Nashville, 2011

Advancing NP Practice Through Hospital Based Centers For Advanced Practice, AANP Annual National Conference, 2010

Professional Organizations

  • American Academy Of Nurse Practitioners: Fellow, 2007 - Present (APN Executive Group)
  • Tennessee Nurses Association:
    Chair of Government Relations and Affairs, 2005 - 2010
    Tort Reform Coalition Delegate, 2005 - Present
    Delegate to the ANA, 2010 - 2012
    Treasurer, 2007 - 2009 
  • American Nurse Advocacy Institute - Fellow, 2013-2014
  • Tennessee Bar Association: Health Law Division, 2003 - Present 
  • Sigma Theta Tau: Iota Chapter, 1998 - Present 
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty 2014
  • National Organization of Nurse Executives 2014
  • University Community Health Services: Board Member and Secretary, 2008 - 2011 


  • Rebecca Clark Culpper Education And Mentorship Award: 2017
  • American Association Of Nurse Practitioners: Fellow, 2010
  • Middle Tennessee Advanced Practice Nurses Association: Apn Of The Year, 2008
  • Vanderbilt University School Of Law: International Comparative Law Award, 2003
  • Vanderbilt University School Of Nursing: Founder's Medalist, 1998
  • Cumberland University: President's Medal, 1997