Assistant Professor of Nursing
At North Park since: 2003
Heather Duncan enjoys teaching at North Park because the small class sizes enable more interaction with students and the school allows her to teach with a foundation of her Christian faith. “The School of Nursing at North Park believes in walking beside you toward your career as a nurse, which we truly feel is a life of significance and service,” she says.
As a self-described “urbanist,” she also appreciates the ability to engage with the city. One way she does this is through her community health nursing class, which provides engagement with Chicago both in the clinical setting as well as research in the form of a community assessment. Professor Duncan, who is a PhD candidate in urban studies and has a master’s degree in community health, has conducted her doctoral research on women with children who are experiencing homeless and written an article in the Journal of Illinois Nursing about homelessness in Chicago.
Her own clinical experience includes working at Rush Medical Center after completing her bachelor's degree in nursing and then for Health Care for the Homeless in 1989. Since that time, Professor Duncan has continued to practice in poverty medicine and is currently a Family Nurse Practitioner with Circle Family Health Network's mobile health team, providing primary healthcare in homeless shelters.
While the city factors into her practice, teaching, and research in a prominent way, she provides opportunities for her nursing students to gain global health experience. Professor Duncan is the faculty advisor for the yearly Global Partnerships Zambia trip, which allows nursing students to travel to the African country and volunteer with health programs and in a medical clinic.
Her commitment to these urban and international experiences are part of Professor Duncan’s incorporation of a multicultural focus into her classes. She also utilizes the resources at North Park to work on practical applications for her students, such as in her Survey of Nursing class, where she partners with the Office of Diversity to help her students explore cross-cultural conflict resolution. “The School of Nursing is very intentional regarding cultural congruence,” she says.
- PhD candidate, Urban Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- MS, Community Health Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner, St. Xavier University
- BS, Nursing, William Jewell College
Heather Duncan. “Behind Their Eyes.” Journal of Illinois Nursing. October 28, 2012.