A passion for "patho"

Dr. Teri Capriotti authors new textbook

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“Pathophysiology, nursing science and clinical medicine fascinate me and when students discover how the body works and they have that ‘aha’ moment, it never fails to reward me,” explains Clinical Associate Professor Theresa Capriotti, DO, MSN, RN, CRNP. For over 30 years she has been learning about and teaching pathophysiology.

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When editors at Philadelphia health care publisher FA Davis obtained a copy of her Human Pathophysiology course syllabus and saw the goldmine of 1200 slides, diagrams and case studies designed by Dr. Capriotti, they had to get in touch.  Seeing a pathophysiology textbook in her work, they asked her if she would write one and she agreed. Pathophysiology: Introductory Concepts and Clinical Perspectives will be released in February 2016.

“With the advances in science, our knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of human diseases keeps expanding.  Learning new explanations for disease processes has always intrigued me….both in the study of nursing and medicine,” says Dr. Capriotti. While a co-author joined the effort, Dr. Capriotti labored for 7 years writing the text. Across its 1248 pages, she included large doses of her love for the subject and evident talent for explaining the complexities of the human body and disease processes. She particularly enjoys illuminating the intricacies of cardiovascular system dysfunction such as heart failure.

“To effectively teach a subject, you need to be a passionate student of the subject. Over several decades, I have seen many authors and professors succeed and fail at communicating this vital information to health care professionals. Along the way I have tried to figure out the best teaching strategies to explain pathologic mechanisms to students. With this book it was my goal to be able to take complicated human processes and break them down into simple concepts that students can assimilate and build on,” Dr. Capriotti explains. 

Students enjoy her class as the subject comes into focus for them. “I love drawing the anatomy in class and I make students draw because it really makes the information come alive,” Dr. Capriotti notes. In the textbook, the artwork is inspired by her own drawings made over her many years teaching.

Among the students, there is great appreciation for her inventiveness, humor and intelligent. They have voted for Dr. Capriotti for the Lindback Award which she won in 2002, College of Nursing Teacher of the Year (2003 and 2004)  and “The Senior Last Lecturer” multiple times. When alumni who have taken her class talked about her on social media recently, they remembered fondly how she would break down information such that it was understood and retained—valuable pathophysiology knowledge for future nurses. As one alumnus summarized, “She is a legend!”