Peer Evaluator Spotlight: Donna Brown-Richards

Peer Evaluator Spotlight: Donna Brown-Richards

Written Response Interview

Responses by Donna Brown-Richards, DNP, APRN, RN, PPCNP-BC, Program Chair at Miami Dade College

Published: May 2022

Tell us about yourself! Where do you work and live?

I work and live in Miami, FL. I was born and raised in Florida and (along with my husband of 14 years) am raising two high-energy children (Lynn, 11 years old and Wesley, 8 years old). I currently serve as Program Chairperson at the Benjamín Leόn School of Nursing at Miami Dade College and have been in this role for three years. Prior to serving as chairperson, I was a full-time faculty member for six years at the same institution.

How long have you been in nursing and nursing education?

I graduated with my ASN degree in December 2003 and started my nursing career in 2004 as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. I continued my education and obtained my BSN, MSN, and post-master’s certificate in nursing education starting my educator career in 2010 as a part-time faculty member.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Do you maintain a current nursing practice? Are you engaged in any research projects? Are you pursuing an advanced degree? Are you serving on any boards you’d like us to know about?

I currently hold a DNP from the University of Alabama and will begin pursuing an EdD in Summer 2022. I have been a certified as a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) for nine years.

How many ACEN site visits have you gone on?

Oh no, I’ve lost count![1] I remember the first and being terrified that I was going to mess up, and during my last visit (my first as team chair) being worried that I was going to forget something crucial to the visit.

What are your favorite memories of going on site visits? What did you learn?

It’s truly a growing experience every time. I learn more about accreditation and education principles with every visit. Each school has something that they are doing that is either unique or groundbreaking that makes me reconsider how I approach things at my own nursing program.

Have you ever served for the Evaluation Review Panel (ERP)? What was that like?

This June will be my first time serving on the ERP[2], and I’m excited to expand my role at the ACEN.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a peer evaluator and go on site visits or serve on a panel in the future?

Desmond Tutu once wisely said that “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” If it seems like too much, just start breaking it down into “digestible pieces” and keep moving forward; you’ll be amazed how fast you reach your goal of serving as a peer evaluator.

[1] Brown-Richards has completed six site visits on record since Fall 2019; she served as Team Chair for the most recent and Team Member for the rest executed prior. Brown-Richards has traveled to or conducted virtual visits in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Virginia.

[2] Brown-Richards, pending any planning changes, is set to give or contribute to four oral presentations on programs being reviewed during the June ERP, and the entire panel will use that presentation to begin their reviews of those four programs.