Professor Melissa O’Connor, PhD, MBA, RN, FGSA, FAAN, of Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing (FCN), was inducted as a fellow in The College of Physicians of Philadelphia during a ceremony held November 19 where she signed her name in the College’s historic membership register. The mission of the prestigious 232-year-old nonprofit organization is “advancing the cause of health while upholding the ideals and heritage of medicine,” according to its website.
A pioneering researcher and national expert in home health care and gerontology nursing, Dr. O’Connor directs FCN’s Gerontology Interest Group and studies home-based health care for older adults, filling a critical gap in knowledge for health care providers. She is committed to conducting rigorous research on determining readiness for discharge from home health and developing a decision-support tool, which is vital for avoiding problematic and costly adverse events plaguing chronically ill older adults living at home. Her big data analyses indicate best practices to prevent rehospitalization in Medicare-reimbursed home health care recipients. Dr. O’Connor includes undergraduate and graduate students in her research, introducing them to the scientific rigors and demanding intellectual challenges of research as an essential component of good nursing practice.
Additionally, Dr. O’Connor is designated as a Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing by the National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence and in 2020, was named a Fellow with the Betty Irene Moore Fellowships for Nurse Leaders and Innovators.
Dr. O’Connor is chair of the Board of Trustees of the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia and serves on the Advisory Group for the Beilenson Institute for Innovative Aging within Surrey Services.