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D’Youville Alum Becomes Provincial Chief Nursing Officer for Ontario

D’Youville Alum Becomes Provincial Chief Nursing Officer for Ontario

Buffalo, New York – February 20, 2018 – As a practicing nurse in Canada, Michelle Acorn '14 knew she wanted to further her education and pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, but that program isn’t offered in north of the border. Acorn was immediately drawn to D’Youville.

Acorn says that it was the “hybrid education opportunity that married clinical, education, research, systems and leadership” that attracted her to D’Youville’s DNP program.

While at D’Youville, Acorn’s research focused on the role of the nurse practitioner as the most responsible provider for in-patient hospital care for older adults. But it was observing her fellow classmates that proved to be her favorite part about her experience here.

“Seeing the academic growth and passion of my peers as they planned, implemented, and disseminated policy, practice, and capstone nursing research across diverse healthcare and academic sectors with cross-border integration was so impacting.”

Today, Acorn is now the Provincial Chief Nursing Officer (PCNO) for the Ontario Ministry of Health. Acorn cites her D’Youville education as being pivotal in shaping her for this meaningful role.

“The D’Youville faculty, especially (Associate Professor) Dr. Denise Dunford invested in us. They urged us to challenge the status quo to elevate our contributions from multiple domains of practice scholarship as clinicians, leaders, educators, researchers, and collaborators,” she says.

In her new role, Acorn’s main responsibilities are to provide leadership and strategic clinical expertise within the Ministry and across the Ontario Public Service as the technical and clinical advisor on a broad range of issues regarding nursing.

Acorn looks to continue key relationships with nursing associations in Ontario and across the country as she undertakes the pan-Canadian aspects of her role. Acorn also added that “recruitment and retention of nursing talents and optimizing proficiency from novice to expert will be pivotal goals.”

Acorn currently resides in Newtonville, Ontario with her husband. When not working, her husband and four adult children love to travel — “especially to the Caribbean!” she added. And if you find yourself in Newtonville, be on the lookout for Acorn riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

When asked what advice she has for students, Acorn says to make yourself uncomfortable. “Step outside your comfort zone to build your competence and confidence across multiple domains of practice. When you get comfortable in a role, challenge yourself and seek out further learning, sub-specialization or career opportunities.”

Learn more about the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.


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