Teresa Ward, newly inducted American Academy of Nursing fellow
We’re proud to profile Professor Teresa Ward, Psychosocial and Community Health who was recently inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. Congratulations Teresa! We’re proud of her dedication and commitment to nursing.
How did you get started in Nursing? In high school, I volunteered as a nursing assistant at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. It was a wonderful experience where I had the opportunity to care for patients recovering from orthopedic surgery, listen to their stories, and interact with their family member and healthcare providers.
What was your initial area of interest? Have you always been interested in sleep? My initial area of interest was adult med-surge with an emphasis on trauma. I worked on a medical surgical unit for a few years, transitioned to Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit at the University of Pennsylvania, then to a Clinical Research Center where I had an opportunity to be involved in clinical sleep research studies. While was working as a nurse in the Clinical Research Center, I was also in graduate school for my Masters as Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). I opted for the FNP route because I did not want to limit myself to only acute care in a hospital, I was actually leaning towards working in a community setting. The FNP program provided me with an opportunity to work in community health clinics, pediatric primary care, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology, and I feel in love with pediatrics. I could be silly and just loved working with children. As I was finishing my FNP degree, had an opportunity to do a clinical rotation in adolescent health at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and this solidified my interest in pediatrics and CHOP. By the time I graduate with my master’s, I only wanted to work in pediatrics and at CHOP. I secured a position as a Sleep Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Pulmonology at CHOP, and this is where my career in pediatric sleep began! I was their first Sleep Nurse Practitioner, and this was a fantastic job where I collaborated with an interdisciplinary team — pulmonologist (Raanan Arens), neurologist (Alex Mason, Jeff Durmer), psychology (Jodi Mindell, Lisa Meltzer), psychiatry and social worker (Cherie DeBrest).
What is the most unusual/innovative research that you’ve been involved in and what did your findings lead to? This is an interesting question. I think it would be Dr. Raanan Aren’s work on upper airway imaging in children with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) where his team highlighted the anatomic changes in the upper airway and the surrounding soft tissues structures that put some children at high risk for OSA.