2018 Laureate: John O'Donnell

2018 Carlow Laureate John O’Donnell, Dr PH, RN, MSN, CRNA, CHSE, class of 1983.

2018 Carlow Laureate John O'Donnell

John O'Donnell is one of the 2018 Carlow Laureates.  O'Donnell has a dual role at the University of Pittsburgh as professor and chair of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia and director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program, as well as associate director at WISER, the Winter Institute for Simulation Education, which is an internationally renowned simulation center. 

O'Donnell credits his advanced degrees with a lifelong love of learning that was sparked at Carlow University. 

"At Carlow, I learned the value of the servant-leader mentality," he said.  "I observed the dedication of the faculty and staff there and how hard they worked."

He credits several Carlow faculty members for influencing him, notably, Dr. Claire Hopkins, who taught psychiatric nursing and conveyed the importance of empathy in practice, and Dr. Carol Caliendo, who taught obstetrics.

"As a man in nursing, this was an area I had little experience with, but [Dr. Caliendo] helped me gain the skills needed to work with women experiencing childbirth of having serious health issues," he recalls.  "In fact, my first nursing job was at Magee Womens Hospital and I think I was only able to do that because I gained the confidence to care for women." 

He also credits Dr. Santelli, who taught anatomy and physiology, and Dr. Kozeka, who taught neurophysiology, for sparking his lifelong interest in anatomy and physiology, and introducing him to the scientific rigor needed to pursue advanced degrees in nursing.

"I was held to high educational standards throughout my time at Carlow," he said.  "As a result, I have always set high expectations  for students and fellow faculty.  "I try to demonstrate through example every day that I am willing to work just as hard  and hold myself to the same high expectations."

Among his professional accomplishments, O'Donnell has served on the National Anesthesia Safety Foundation Board from 2003 to 2015, and was recently appointed by Governor Tom Wolfe to his second term on the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing. He has published numerous books and articles and has been the principle investigator for multiple educational and research grants.

He advises current Carlow students to "persevere when challenged and to maintain a sense of curiosity.  I don't consider myself to be the best or smartest student, and I have had my share of setbacks and challenges during my pursuit of the three degrees I hold.  Grit, determination and the willingness to put in the hard workd have carried me through."


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