Joan Andrea

Joan Andrea

Professor of Nursing

At North Park since: 2004

Joan Andrea teaches at North Park University for its Christian values and great environment. She sees this in the way professors interact with and care about each of their students and how they treat one another. At North Park, she can express and live out her faith and influence a future generation of nurses. “I believe that each student is unique and has the power to become an influential nurse,” she says. “I hope the values and faith witnessed at North Park University is a lasting gift that students take with them once they leave.”

Professor Andrea speaks on the use of simulation and technology in nursing education and incorporates those practices into her classes. For example, she has actors trained as “standardized patients” come to her Health Assessment class for students to interview, which helps them learn skills to talk and listen effectively to their patients.

“In using standardized patients, students have opportunities to practice interviewing skills with individuals who role-play the part of a patient,” she says. “They learn about sending and receiving messages and how to interpret both verbal and nonverbal communication from their patient. Students also receive feedback from the standardized patients on what was helpful and what was not.”

Professor Andrea's nursing career has been spent primarily working with mothers, babies, and families. For almost 20 years, she has worked as a Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She became a Family Nurse Practitioner in the early 2000s and has worked in a number of family practice and pediatrician's offices. She is able to bring real-life examples and experiences from her clinical work to the classroom and the simulations she sets up for her students.

In her Nursing of Childbearing Families class, students take part in several scenarios in the Nursing Simulation Lab. In one scenario, students care for a laboring patient and provide appropriate nursing care for the mother and newborn. In another case, students care for a mother who has complications.

“These are opportunities that the student may not get to experience in the hospital and when they do, often are only observing nurses in action,” she says. “In simulation, the students assess, make the decisions and, implement a plan of action. They get to apply knowledge and theory in problem solving situations. This makes it more realistic and memorable.”

"Being able to teach what I enjoy has been very fulfilling," Professor Andrea says. "I especially appreciate getting to know students and walking with them for a short tie as they pursue their dreams of becoming a nurse."


  • DNP, Rush University
  • BSN, Alverno College
“In simulation, the students assess, make the decisions and, implement a plan of action."