Joined USJ: 2013
A graduate of the University of Saint Joseph, then Saint Joseph College, Denise M. Puia ’91, Ph.D., returned to her alma mater to teach after working in the field as an obstetric nurse. Interested in the field of nursing from an early age, she was drawn to the active and fast-paced work environment where she could interact with others and discover leadership opportunities. “I viewed nursing as a powerful profession that had long-lasting impact on the lives of many individuals,” Puia remarked. “For many years, I impacted couples’ lives as they gave birth to their children; now I am helping to develop the next generation of nurses and hopefully impacting the level of professional they will become.”
Though she no longer works directly with patients in hospitals, Puia remains dedicated to serving the people of Connecticut. “For the past two years, I have worked with the USJ Nursing students to participate in the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses’ (AWHONN) Healthy Mom & Baby Diaper Drive Campaign to raise diapers and awareness of the issue of diaper need,” Puia explained. Together, they have donated more than 23,000 diapers for MANNA, an assistance and advocacy program in Hartford, and the Connecticut Diaper Bank.
During her undergraduate career at Saint Joseph College, Puia found that one course in particular reinforced her decision to become a nurse: Foundations of Professional Nursing. The curriculum extends beyond the hands-on skills students will perform on the job, teaching, “an understanding of all the other competencies needed to be an effective, professional nurse, such as ethical and legal considerations, communications skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, aesthetics, leadership, and the nursing process.” As the course professor, Puia continues its important legacy, fostering students’ passion for the field and preparing them for a successful and meaningful career.
Ph.D., University of Connecticut
MSN, University of Hartford
BSN, Saint Joseph College
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