Nurse Practitioners of the Not-So-Ivory Tower

Sydnee Logan
By Sydnee Logan  | 
Nurse Practitioners of the Not-So-Ivory Tower

It’s Nurse Practitioner Week 2021! This year’s theme is “NPs going the extra mile,” and one more way NP educators at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing are “going the extra mile” … is that they are practitioners too.

So often we think of college professors as shut away in the Ivory Tower – theorizing about esoteric ideas so far removed from our day-to-day lives that they are completely out of touch. Yet there are several professors like Dr. Emma Mangano, an Assistant Professor who practices hands-on in the psychiatric emergency department.

Read on and meet three nurse practitioner educators: Dr. Vinciya Pandian, PhD student Clifton Thornton, and Dr. Emma Mangano.


Emma Mangano


Assistant Professor

Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be taught and incorporated into all programs.

Emma Mangano works in the psychiatric emergency services area of the emergency department at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is a 24/7 embedded consultation service. Her team is composed of psychiatric providers, nurses, techs, social workers and security guards charged with seeing all patients that are triaged to their area with a mental health concern. They provide risk assessments and determine the safest disposition for those patients that need help.

This semester she is teaching three classes: two for the post-master’s PMHNP certificate program (differential diagnosis of mental disorders and clinical psychopharmacology), and one for the MSN (Entry Into Nursing) program: theory of psychiatric mental health.


Vinciya Pandian


Associate Professor and Inaugural Assistant Dean for Immersive Learning and Digital Innovation

Give patients a voice whether it is about their own care or at the system level.

Vinciya Pandian aims to improve quality of life for patients who undergo mechanical ventilation, many of whom receive a tracheostomy for long-term mechanical ventilation.

Her practice surrounds improving clinical outcomes for patients with a tracheostomy; she sees these patients in a clinical setting and writes consensus statements and creates guidelines for practice at the national and global levels. Currently Dr. Pandian’s research is focused on evaluating signs and symptoms of laryngeal injury in patients post extubation in intensive care units.

“We may think that we know what is best for patients, but patients can identify feasible solutions to clinical problems,” says Dr. Pandian. “It is crucial to listen to what patients have to say.”


Clifton Thornton


Clinical Instructor and PhD candidate

Clifton Thornton is a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner in the division of Pediatric Hematology & Oncology at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital.

“I work with children who have cancer and blood disorders in our outpatient clinic and also do some of the inpatient procedures,” he says.

His research aims to improve the understanding of side effect and toxicity development in children and adolescents who are being treated for cancer; he is now working to better understand how some dose-limiting toxicities develop in order to better prevent them, which not only makes treatment more tolerable, but also lead to improved cancer survivorship.

“I work with a really cool interdisciplinary team at the School of Medicine, School of Education, and Kennedy Krieger Institute working with clinicians and families as children transition back to school after cancer therapy,” he says.

In the teaching sphere, Clifton precepts pediatric NP students and recently started as an Isabel Hampton Robb teaching fellow. He teaches Research and Evidence Based Practice in the MSN (Entry Into Nursing) program and next semester will teach clinical courses in the DNP program alongside Dr. Shawna Mudd (“who happens to be my former advisor for nursing school and NP school, so it’s all come full circle”). 

“It can be challenging to allow clinical practice to inform research needs and then take those findings back to apply to clinical practice, but it make sure that the work we do is relevant and timely,” he says.


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Sydnee Logan, MA is the Sr. Social Media and Digital Content Specialist for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares Hopkins Nurses with the world.

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