Faculty Focus: Dr. Katherine Fetter

September 22, 2020 / by / 2 Comments


College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

Dr. Katherine Fetter

Title: Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Lead

Years at GCU: 2 years 

Academic degrees:

Associate Degree in Nursing, Cuyahoga Community College

Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing-Leadership, Ohio University

Master’s in Nursing Education, Grand Canyon University

Doctor of Nursing Practice, Healthcare Systems Leadership, Chamberlain College of Nursing

What is your most notable accomplishment in your field, and why was it necessary?

I am not sure I can really say there is one specific notable accomplishment. What I mean is that I have accomplished a lot through higher education, climbing the clinical ladder, fully immersing myself in nursing educational leadership and striving to improve outcomes for learners and patients. I believe that my greatest accomplishment was the ability to step into the Program Lead role when there was a need. God has afforded me the opportunity to lead a program I am so passionate about. I have been graced with an amazing group of people to work with, not just within the DNP team but within the CONHCP family. Everyone has a role to play toward learner success, and it is cohesive, collaborative, caring and supportive. Without them, the work would feel insurmountable. The DNP team has built processes, created resources and become engaged not just in the courses we teach but with the courses we lead. We are so blessed to have outstanding faculty and GCU/GCE support systems to aid the success of many!

What are you most passionate about in your field, and why?

This question is a challenge — I have many passions in my field! I am most passionate about two things; learner success and improving patient outcomes. Early in my nursing career, I could see areas in health care that needed reform, processes that needed improvements and patients returning to the hospital frequently because of gaps in many different areas. I learned that in order to make meaningful, sustainable, patient-centered changes, I needed to position myself in a role where I could do this, and it required higher education. 

During the many years of education, it was mostly “teach yourself, figure it out, find your resources.” This often left me frustrated, confused and less than enthusiastic in furthering my education. While I completed my DNP at another university, I said to myself, “GCU had it right!” My MSN program didn’t leave me frustrated and overly stressed. So if I was ever in a position to teach for GCU, I would ensure I did what I could to improve learner success and make sure that they, in turn, could go out into the field and improve patient outcomes globally. 

To ensure health care can meet the needs of a growing nation, we need professional nurses who are prepared to utilize their Christian beliefs, values and practices so they may lead responsibly and globally and bridge the gap in translating research into practices to improve health outcomes.

What is a memorable moment you had in class, and what does that reveal about your teaching style?

Early on teaching for GCU in the DNP 800 courses, I called each one of my learners, all 23 of them, and introduced myself. Many were rather surprised.

I held a weekly open meeting for an hour, and the learners were tasked to bring me the questions; I facilitated their learning by having the learners present the weekly information and had the learners engage in dialogue that created a dynamic learning environment.  They taught one another how to write a section of a paper, how to present information on their 10 Strategic Points and provided project advice.

I carried that over when I became a Chair in the project courses. At one point, Dr. Amanda Ziemendorf reached out to me and said there were more than 15 learners asking their student services counselors to be in my project courses. She wanted to see what I was doing. I invited her to the weekly meetings and she attended a few, and the learners just lit up to see the Program Lead. So what does that say about my teaching style? It says I will use all different approaches depending on the learners and their needs, sort of a hybrid approach of facilitation.  It means I will adapt and embrace the modalities that will keep learners engaged, enthusiastic and forward-thinking.

What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?

Well, when I do have some spare time, I like to do things outdoors. In the spring and fall, I like to run — put my earbuds in and just run. It is one of the few times I can just ground myself, feel and smell the air, see God’s work and just be. In the wintertime, I am outdoors. I live in Ohio, and it is not often sunny. It is usually overcast, gray, and when it snows, well, there is usually enough to snowboard! I am really good at that.

What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know? I am an expert shot in pistol and rifle. I am a veteran of the U.S. Navy. I have ridden a real bull for 4.6 seconds — 4.7 was midair, and 4.8 was painful! My team doesn’t know that I love to dance and know most dances; my favorites are the West Coast Swing and country line dancing.

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2 Responses
  1. Sandi McDermott

    It is a joy to work day after day on Dr. Fetter’s team! We are so blessed to have her at GCU leading our DNP program!

    Sep.23.2020 at 2:59 pm
  2. Hope Bailey

    Dr.Fetter is making changes and progressive in her approach. She is open and honest with a kind heart. She works hard to reach students and help them be successful. When a learner is stressed out she knows how to lighten the mood and decrease the stress level, making it much easier to refocus and get back on track. I appreciate all her hard work.

    Sep.23.2020 at 5:22 pm
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