Making a Difference : One Patient and Student at a Time
By : Kirsten Swanson
Deborah Busch DNP , RN , CRNP , CPNP- PC , IBCLC , CNE , FAANP ‘ 99 always knew she wanted to help people . Growing up in the Mennonite Church , Deborah was taught at a young age to use her talents for the greater good .
She wanted to find a career that combined her calling to help people , particularly women and children , with her love for science and healthcare .
It wasn ’ t until she was donating blood as a junior in high school when it clicked .
“ I remember seeing the nurse zipping around , in charge . I thought ‘ Wow , that is a confident individual and she gets to wear comfortable scrubs and shoes ’,” Deborah said . “ I asked her if she liked being a nurse and she let out a huge exhale and out came all of the wonderful aspects of nursing .”
Deborah earned her bachelor ’ s of science in nursing from Temple University and immediately began working as a Pediatric Nurse at Children ’ s Hospital of Philadelphia . She went on to work for the Montgomery County Health Department as a Pediatric Public Health Nurse until she decided to follow her heart - to Nepal . Deborah joined the United States Peace Corps with her husband .
“ It was while I was in the Peace Corps where when I realized I wanted to go to the next level . I wanted to be able to help children at a higher level ,” Deborah said . “ I very much enjoyed being a pediatric nurse but I wanted to be able to make more of an impact . That ’ s when I decided I want to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner .”
Living in the Philadelphia area , Deborah had a lot of options when it came to choosing where to pursue her master of science in nursing degree . But the choice was obvious .
Deborah and GMercyU were a perfect match .
“ The Sisters of Mercy and their history with being on the forefront of missionary healthcare work definitely struck me when I visited GMercyU ,” Deborah said . “ I really appreciated the faculty ’ s outlook on what a pediatric nurse practitioner is . The curriculum aligned with what I was interested in learning and who I wanted to be .”
At GMercyU , Deborah saw firsthand what it meant to give safe and quality healthcare to everyone , no matter their background or circumstances . She spent much of her clinicals at GMercyU ’ s health clinic with Abington VNA Community Services , which offered free or low-cost care to the community .
“ Being able to make an impact on families as a student in that way was impactful . It empowered me ,” Deborah said . “ This was the late 1990s , so it was still ‘ fresher ’ to be so encompassing of all populations . GMercyU was doing Diversity , Equity and Inclusion ( DEI ) before it even had a name .”
Prior to graduating from GMercyU , Deborah was hand-selected by the head of Lehigh Valley Hospital ’ s Pediatrics to join the team as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner . That ’ s where her love for teaching and nurturing the next generation of nurses began .
At the encouragement of the students working alongside her , Deborah became an Adjunct Instructor at DeSales University School of Nursing . From there , she earned her DNP at Chatham University . She has been an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing since 2017 , all while continuing to practice .
Deborah has earned countless awards , most recently “ Preceptor of the Year ” from the Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and the “ Daisy Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice ” from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing , but her greatest accomplishment is the impact
The Sisters of Mercy and their history with being on the forefront of missionary healthcare work definitely struck me when I visited GMercyU ,... I really appreciated the faculty ’ s outlook on what a pediatric nurse practitioner is . The curriculum aligned with what I was interested in learning and who I wanted to be .
she ’ s leaving on the next generation of nurses .
“ My hope is to support all people who want to become nurses to become nurses and at whatever level they want to practice . I want students to walk away with the feeling of what it was like to be supported and to carry it with them to support the next person ,” Deborah said . “ Humankind needs nurses .”