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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing|College of Health Sciences

Nursing Careers:
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner


Joan M. (Brown) Beard
(BSN '64)

With specialties in:

  • Cardiology

  • Rheumatology

  • Pharmaceutical clinical trial sub-investigator

What drew you to this career?

My nursing instructors at UW helped me grow into a nurse; the US Navy showed me how to be a nurse who could do any job and enabled me to get certified as a health promotion specialist. Graduate school glued my experiences into a nurse practitioner role focusing on the process of aging with fewer mental and physical deficits. I have a great love for cardiology and rheumatology: clinical trials are changing the face of both and "giving back life", as many patients say!

How did you prepare for it?

I prepared [for my career] over 47 years in nursing. Being open to new opportunities to learn; accepting challenges to grow and learn new things! I continue to be a "life-long" learner!

What do you like the most about this career?

Being a Nurse Practitioner allows me to bring the nursing touch to my patients who are frequently overwhelmed in the medical model. I enjoy the pharma clinical trials because they provide education on pathophysiology of disease, and keep me current on the latest treatments.

What are the biggest challenges?

Keeping current in these areas.

What advice would you have for a student interested in this field?

As a Nurse Practitioner in a speciality area, my advice would be: never forget you are a nurse and bring that special gift with you to all patients! Also keep learning and growing.

Extra info about Joan Beard:

I have recently retired, but continue to look for opportunities to use my nursing/Nurse Practitioner skills. I may do some guest lecturing or speaking about rheumatoid processes and drug therapies available.

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Joan Brown Beard

Joan Brown Beard
I have a great love for cardiology and rheumatology: clinical trials are changing the face of both and "giving back life", as many patients say!

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