April 25, 2023

The Conway School of Nursing at Catholic University welcomes two new faculty members who will launch a nurse practitioner program for acute care geriatrics funded through a generous grant from Ascension, one of the nation’s leading Catholic health systems.  Ascension began its partnership with the Conway School in July 2021 allowing it to expand its online offerings to include an Acute Care Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Program. This funding will support two full-time faculty positions, a full-time staff position for the program over the next 14 years and programmatic expenses, such as curriculum development, student recruitment, and marketing.

As a leading voice for Catholic healthcare and an advocate among Catholic healthcare organizations, Ascension is transforming healthcare through courageous innovation and impactful partnerships.  Ascension is committed to providing access to healthcare for those in need while partnering with the Conway School of Nursing to solve one of the most critical medical challenges of our time - the shortage of compassionate, technologically competent nurses. 

“Ascension recognizes the growing need for caregivers qualified and prepared to serve the aging population of the U.S.,” said Joseph R. Impicciche, Chief Executive Officer, Ascension.

“We are pleased to invest in Catholic University and in nurse practitioner programs that meet the evolving needs of the communities we serve.”

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      Mary "Cari" Selzer, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC

      Mary "Cari" Selzer, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, joined the Conway School on March 20th as the Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of the Adult Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program.  Previously, Dr. Selzer was the founding Program Coordinator for the Adult Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at Harris College of Nursing at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.  She has also held clinical faculty positions at the University of Texas at Arlington and Tarrant County College. Her BS in Nursing is from Rush University in Chicago, her MSN is from Loyola University in Chicago, and her DNP is from Missouri State University. 


      Shanna Fortune, DNP, CRNP, AGPCNP-BC, FNP-BC

      Shanna Fortune, DNP, CRNP, AGPCNP-BC, FNP-BC, AGACNP-BC, and Assistant Clinical Professor, will join the Conway School faculty on May 22nd.  Dr. Fortune is currently an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Cardiology Consultation Service.  Prior to this, she was a Nurse Practitioner at the University of Maryland Medical Center on the Cardiac Surgery Intermediate Care Service and also on the Shock Trauma Acute Pain Service. She has served as a preceptor to Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Students and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Maryland School of Nursing while she received her Postgraduate Teaching Certificate in Nursing from the University of Maryland. Her BS and MS in Nursing are from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and her DNP is from the University of Maryland. 

These positions are critically important to the program’s success, as nursing faculty shortages across the country have impacted the number of qualified nurses in the workforce. In 2019, U.S. nursing schools turned away more than 80,000 qualified applicants due to insufficient faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

The need for geriatric nurse practitioners was brought into sharp focus due to the dramatic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s aging population. Dean Marie Nolan is thrilled that “this new program will enable Catholic University to produce the best acute care geriatric nurse practitioners, who will then provide needed care to patients and their families across the country. It is a true win-win for Catholic University, Ascension, and the patients we serve.”