Sandra Gaynor

Sandra Gaynor

Associate Professor of Nursing

At North Park since: 2010

Sandra Gaynor teaches at North Park University because the school is faith-based and small, which provides a great opportunity to be involved with students at a meaningful level. As one of the program directors for the master of science in nursing program, Dr. Gaynor works closely with nurses seeking to expand their skills in leadership and management. She brings expertise in quality initiatives in nursing, project planning, and team morale to the graduate nursing program to provide an excellent education for her students. “We prepare nursing leaders for all levels and types of leadership positions,” she says. “We teach them the managerial skills that transcend clinical practice, clinical education, and direct management.”

Dr. Gaynor explains that the leadership and management concentration builds from a nurse’s experience in direct patient care and managing patient loads to help them them grow toward a wider range of responsibilities, with a broader view of the healthcare system and how its parts work together. By addressing topics that include human resources, quality initiatives, strategic assessment, budgets, safety and risk management, and current social issues affecting healthcare delivery, the program prepares its students to take on more and understand more about their field of nursing, she says.

Though the focus of this concentration within the master’s program is leadership and advancement within a healthcare system, “the skills our students learn will translate into any patient care scenario,” Dr. Gaynor says.

“We all know that better educated nurses have better patient outcomes,” she adds, encouraging nurses to seek continuing education in whatever area they feel drawn to, whether that’s leadership or advanced specialty practice.

Dr. Gaynor's professional experience includes a wide range of leadership and management positions. She has served in a variety of positions, including as both the director of nursing development and then director of professional practice and education at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and as the director of community service programs at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She has also been the president of the Hektoen Institute of Medicine Nurses and Humanities program for five years, a Chicago nonprofit that promotes learning, education, ethics, and research in order to improve the care of the sick. Currently, Dr. Gaynor works at and is on the board of directors for the Old Irving Park Community Clinic, an organization serving uninsured adults with chronic diseases.

She is a member of American Organization of Nurse Executives, Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders, and Center for Ethics and Advocacy.


  • PhD, Nursing, Rush College of Nursing
  • MSN, Loyola University Chicago
  • BSN, Loyola University Chicago

“We prepare nursing leaders for all levels and types of leadership positions.”