Nursing Grad Honored by AANP

Aug 10, 2022

Nursing Grad Honored by AANP

The Barry alum and current Ph.D. candidate has been named a 2022 Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Take a look at his lengthy list of credentials, and you’ll see that nursing is more than a job for Juan M. Gonzalez. The Barry alum and current Ph.D. student has earned his DNP, APRN, AGACNP-BC, ENP-C, FNP-BC, CEN, CNE, and most recently the coveted FAANP credential, which recognizes him as a 2022 Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). New fellows are inducted annually following a competitive selection process that seeks to recognize the nurse practitioners who are leading the field into the future through clinical practice, research, education, or policy. At this year’s ceremony, held in June in Orlando, Gonzalez was cheered on by his nominators and mentors, Johis Ortega and Katherine Kenny, along with his wife, mother, and two daughters, Ela and Mila. “Becoming part of such an elite nurse practitioner group was an honor,” he says. “I still cannot believe I was selected.”

Gonzalez is being modest. Throughout his 16 years in the nursing field, he has established himself as a pioneer, not just through his clinical practice with Baptist Health South Florida but through his roles as an educator and advocate for global health and disease prevention. After launching his career as an RN in 2006, he entered Barry’s BSN program and finished in 2009 as a Baptist BOND Scholar. Upon graduating (and while continuing to work as an emergency registered nurse), Gonzalez enrolled in Barry’s then-newly established Doctor of Nursing Practice track, earning both his MSN and DNP with a focus on adult-gerontology acute care in 2013. His credentials allowed him to step into the role of emergency nurse practitioner at Baptist Health South Florida. He also expanded his role as a nursing professor, stepping into a full-time faculty post at the University of Miami, where he has been teaching since 2011. Currently, he is an Associate Professor and the Director of the school’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program. He directed the Family Nurse Practitioner program from 2015 through 2022.

Throughout his clinical work and teaching pursuits, Gonzalez has remained passionate about advancing his personal practice so that he can impact his field for the better. He has led mission trips and exchange programs, published extensively in peer-reviewed books and journals, and, according to the AANP, “received more than $7 million in funding as a principal and co-investigator for the advancement of nurse practitioner education and improvement of patient care.” He is also beloved by his University of Miami nursing students, having earned multiple teaching awards. Most recently, he has opted to return to Barry University, where he is pursuing his Ph.D.

Gonzalez views his decision to earn his Ph.D. at Barry as a natural next step in his career. While he has published broadly and established himself as an expert clinician, he recognizes the value of a Ph.D. to advancing nursing research. “I wanted more formal training related to research and the generation of new knowledge for the nursing field,” he says. “I also wanted to be better equipped to lead NIH/NINR research and grants, which often require the principal investigator to be Ph.D. prepared.” For Gonzalez, improving health disparities in the U.S. and the world is a driving force behind his return to Barry. “With this Ph.D. degree and my area of research, which strongly emphasizes the impact of social determinants of health, I hope to truly make a positive impact in the lives of my students and patients,” he says.

He is thrilled to be pursuing these goals in collaboration with his longtime Barry family. “Barry specifically, I think, is a great institution,” he says. “The faculty are highly educated, professional, and leaders in nursing and research.” In fact, many of his current professors also served as Gonzalez’s mentors throughout his DNP program. The flexibility of Barry’s Ph.D. program, along with significant funding resources, were further draws to return, which Gonzalez likens to a homecoming. “The DNP opened the doors to academia and made me reach the highest level of education at the clinical and leadership level,” he says. “The Ph.D. will open a new set of doors that allow me to generate new knowledge that DNP nurses can apply and test in clinical practice. I feel it is a full circle.”

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