Attracted to the intensity of caring for critically ill patients, Kristine Scordo spent most of her early nursing career in the ER and cardiology at a hospital in eastern New York. Driven to learn more about nursing, she eventually became an acute care nurse practitioner and earned a Ph.D. in cardiac physiology.
“I guess I was an adrenaline junkie,” she says of her early career. “I loved the critical care because it was always moving and it was dynamic and you had people’s lives in your hands and you’d better know your stuff. It made me want to learn more and more and more.”
Today, Scordo, Ph.D., helps Wright State graduate students learn more and more as the director of the Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at the Wright State University-Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health.
Started by Scordo in 1997, the program trains registered nurses to assume primary responsibility for caring for patients with acute and chronic conditions in a variety of settings, including emergency departments, physician practices and intensive care or acute care units. Students can select an area of emphasis such as critical care, cardiology, pulmonary, neurology, oncology or trauma.
In addition to coursework, students gain valuable training in clinical settings, rotating with physicians, hospitalists, intensivists and cardiologists. Many rotate with Scordo in her private practice as an acute care nurse practitioner with Schuster Cardiology Associates in Dayton.
Working in a critical care practice, Scordo said, helps her keep current clinically and provides opportunities to teach her students what she learns while caring for patients.
“If you want to teach clinicians you have to know what you’re doing and you have to be up to date,” she said.
Scordo is extremely proud of her students’ success on the national Acute Care Nurse Practitioner exam. Every student in the program has passed the exam the first time she or he has taken the test.
Students are actively recruited and often have several job offers when they complete the program. Physicians regularly tell Scordo, “I need a Wright State student.”
“The preceptors, the nurses and the physicians they precept with, they say, ‘we can always tell a Wright State student, a Scordo student,’” she said. “They’re well groomed, they’re well behaved, they know their stuff, they’re prepared.”
Scordo’s success in the classroom and as a nurse practitioner was recently recognized when she was named chair of the American College of Cardiology’s Cardiovascular Team Section Working Group for Advanced Practice Nurses and as one of the 25 Top Nurse Practitioner Program Professors by NursePractitionerSchools.com, an online resource for prospective students interested in the nursing field.
She also has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the 2013 Outstanding Educator Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.
In 2011, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
She was named an Alumni Transformer in Nursing and Health Care by The Ohio State University College of Nursing, where she received her M.S.N. and Ph.D. The award honors Ohio State nursing alumni who have distinguished themselves during their careers at the bedside or in community-based health care settings, in academia or as leaders of health care and professional organizations.
Scordo entered the nursing profession in the late 1960s, working in pediatrics, then in acute care at Northern Westchester Hospital in eastern New York. She has worked in a variety of health care settings in Cincinnati and Dayton as an acute care nurse practitioner and clinical director. She has also served as an instructor at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and Health.
She joined Wright State’s College of Nursing and Health in 1995.
Scordo became interested in teaching while working in the New York hospital, when she was asked to organize a critical care course. As she pursued advanced degrees, the urge to do research and teach grew.
“Simply practicing was just not enough,” Scordo said. “I need something else. And that was the education, research and publications.”