Michael L. Brennan, DNP, FNP, MSN, RN
Clinical Coordinator, St. Joe's Neighborhood Center
2019 Graduate, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
“What will remain with me is the expertise, care, concern, encouragement, support and friendship of the faculty. Priceless, and what the world needs now.”
Tell us about your background in nursing.
Over my 30 year career, I have worked in primary care, urgent care, emergency medicine, clinical research, and hospice. I love to teach, and precept many nursing, pharmacy, pre-med, and medical students at St. Joe's. I have also been fortunate to lead a humanities seminar on "Death & Dying in Modern Medicine" for the medical students.
What made you want to earn your DNP?
My love for teaching, and a desire to attain the skills to be an agent of change.
Tell us about your DNP Project: “Cardiovascular Health Among the Uninsured: Primary Prevention with Statin Therapy.”
It was the inspiration and encouragement of St. Joe's volunteer cardiologist, Dr. Gerry Gacioch, that led me to look at cardiovascular health. As cardiovascular disease has been the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. for the past 100+ years, the uninsured deserve the right to preventative therapy as per the national guidelines. There was a clinical opportunity to possibly save lives.
What else do you hope to accomplish with a DNP?
My primary hope and goal is to share what I have learned with the next generation of nurse practitioners. A huge collateral benefit has been the requisite skills gained to identify, organize, lead, and inspire co-workers to pursue grand quality improvement projects. But the overarching goal is to model care that is comprehensive in scope, integrated in practice, patient-centered at heart, and practiced through a racial equity lens — which is what we strive to do at St. Joe's. Someday, hopefully soon, the United States will wake-up to what an abysmal health care system we currently have, and when we look around for alternatives — I hope to be part of the solution.
What are your plans after graduation?
Currently I am the clinical coordinator at St. Joe's Neighborhood Center — a comprehensive health care facility for the uninsured. I have also taught in the University of Rochester Nurse Practitioner program. My wife, Catherine Burke, is a midwife, and we are both bilingual.
I volunteered at a refugee shelter in El Paso, Texas at the Annunciation House in the 1980s, and later served on the Board of Directors. Annunciation House is currently providing food, clothing, and shelter to the 500-1,000 Central American refugees and political asylum seekers arriving on a daily basis.
We will be moving to El Paso in August to assist with the refugee crisis. I will also be teaching full-time in the FNP Program at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
What is one takeaway from the program that you will carry forward?
The indispensable care, support, and friendship of the faculty. I emulate our SON leaders/mentors.
What would you tell other people who are considering whether to pursue a DNP?
Be prepared to lose some sleep, to give up some other pursuits, but to find great meaning and purpose in the DNP journey.