Christina Whitehouse, PhD, AGPCNP-BC, CDCES, assistant professor, has been named a Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE). The awards were presented at the NHCGNE Leadership Conference held virtually, October 26 -28.
Dr. Whitehouse’s research focus is on older adults with diabetes, specifically addressing needs during transitions in care. She is an adult-geriatric primary care nurse practitioner and certified diabetes care and education specialist. She is a member of the Association of Diabetes Care and Educator Specialists and current chair of their research committee. Dr. Whitehouse’s research and work have been published and presented both nationally and internationally regarding transitions in care, specifically for older adults with diabetes. This expertise is foundational to her teaching of nursing students and innovative program development in Villanova ReachOut.
In her role as an NP, early in the COVID-19 pandemic she was calling to check in on her patients and realized that many were trapped in social isolation and hungered for contact with others. She knew that the science around loneliness shows that it raises the risk of older adults developing mental and physical illness and so Villanova ReachOut was born in May 2020. ReachOut offers a US-based older adult free, regular, non-health care social conversation via phone or video with a trained volunteer, including many students she has educated.
On its website, NHCGNE notes that the recognition is important because of the “rapidly growing older adult population and the urgent need to prepare the future nurse workforce to care for an aging population, it is imperative to have well-prepared nurse educators not only with knowledge and skills in care of older adults, but also with teaching competence so that they can foster positive attitudes toward older adults and actively engage learners at all levels.”