Louise Knox, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, assistant professor and coordinator for the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration, first entered the healthcare field as a Wilderness EMT while living in Telluride, Colorado. She worked for the Fire Department in both Telluride and Crested Butte, Colorado, as well as Gunnison Search and Rescue while completing her prerequisites for nursing school at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. “My experiences working as an EMT inspired me to pursue my RN to become a flight nurse in Colorado. However, upon moving back to Ohio and pursuing my nursing degrees at Case Western Reserve University, I became aware of changes happening within the registered nurse role and decided to follow a different path, the path of primary care and family practice,” explained Knox. “I discovered my knowledge and experience in health and fitness from my first degree was influencing the type of nurse I wanted to be. Instead of responding to emergency patient care, I wanted to influence the health and wellness of patients to prevent some of the reasons they were presenting to the emergency room. I wanted to be part of the continuity of care for patients across the lifespan and influence their path to health and wellness, especially for young families to carry throughout their lives.”
A Kent State University College of Nursing faculty member for 9-years, Knox was drawn to Kent State initially because of her colleagues and the reputation of the nursing programs. While in her MSN/DNP program, Knox served as a teaching assistant in the cadaver lab with two of her peers, Marie Hickey and Connie Tezie. Through that experience, Knox knew that eventually, she wanted to enter the academic arena at some point in her career. After 15-years of family practice and enjoying the role of a preceptor, she finally applied for a faculty position at Kent State University College of Nursing. At that time, Dr. Marie Hickey was the FNP Concentration Coordinator and Dr. Connie Tezie was the DNP Program Director. Both inspired and mentored Knox in her new instructor role.
According to Knox, FNPs will see a variety of ages in their patient load on an average day. “Some nurses prefer the specialty route where they are experts in one area. I, however, appreciate the challenge of various ages and system conditions to evaluate in providing patient care across the lifespan,” remarked Knox. “FNPs are uniquely qualified to treat all ages and jobs can be found in nearly all primary care clinical settings such as outpatient family practice clinics, community health clinics, retail clinics, urgent care clinics, and private practices. Some FNPs pursue specialties across the lifespan like Dermatology and Orthopedics.”
As the FNP concentration coordinator, Knox appreciates getting to know the students more broadly and being a source of support and guidance during the various stages of their graduate program. Knox teaches the MSN core course, Advanced Assessment, and the concentration-specific courses – Primary Care I Adult, Primary Care II, Chronically Ill Adult, and Primary Care Family, as well as practicums for those courses and Primary Care Peds Practicum. Additionally, she also teaches DNP Practicum. “I enjoy seeing the confidence in my students as they progress through the program. I value hands-on learning and strive to offer many different simulation opportunities for our FNP students throughout their courses,” she said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see them after graduation at conferences, as colleagues, and hearing about their professional pursuits.”
Knox hopes her students remember the importance of wellness and health promotion and that a patient-provider partnership is imperative in moving towards healthy living and better patient outcomes. Furthermore, she desires that when students graduate from the program, they know and understand that their education as an NP is never over. “As a provider, FNP graduates are growing and learning all the time as new research impacts patient care and overall healthcare.”
In addition to teaching FNP courses, Knox is also a DNP faculty member. “I usually advise 4 or 5 DNP students on their DNP projects,” she said. “I’m excited to share that the project of one of my previous students, a DNP alumna from spring 2018, was published recently.”
As a nurse, Knox enjoys providing the care and patient education that helps patients and families achieve their highest level of health, wellness, and understanding of their health or condition to live life to the fullest. “I am grateful nursing was part of my path,” she said. “I also enjoy being a health resource for family and friends. As I’ve advanced my career, I’ve learned to better balance responsibilities for my family, career, and caregiving roles to my family and friends.”
Early in her career, Knox had a patient present with a chief complaint of an upper respiratory infection. Upon further evaluation of symptoms, history, and physical exam findings, she sent the patient to the emergency room for a cardiac evaluation. “Several days later during separate visits, the patient and the patient’s daughter came to see me, in tears, thanking me for sending the patient to the ER for emergency treatment for a 99% blocked coronary artery,” remembered Knox. “It highlighted the importance of a thorough, holistic approach in assessment and evaluation for even a straightforward chief complaint.”
Nursing is a demanding field. To relax, Knox enjoys spending time with family, participating in outdoor sports and activities, gardening, doing yoga, and cooking healthy foods. In the fall Knox works as a field hockey coach with high school female athletes. “As a coach and role model, I teach my team about the importance of health and wellness, both physical and emotional,” explained Knox. “In 2020 we were the state runner-up, and I was named the OHSAA Field Hockey Coach of the Year.”
Personally, Knox has two children attending Kent State, a son studying athletic administration and a daughter studying bio/pre-med. Additionally, she has two golden retriever pups, Doug (14 months) and Yeti (7 months). She holds a BA in Commercial Recreation and Fitness, minor in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University 1991; RN Certificate, MSN (1997), and DNP (1998) from Case Western Reserve University.