Faculty Focus Friday | Dr. Erica Lemberger, Associate Professor of Nursing

Ashley Byrd

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Erica Lemberger, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Dr. Lemberger, who joined the nursing faculty in 2017, teaches in Spalding’s RN-to-BSN program and has also taught undergraduate population health courses. This past week, she took a large group of School of Nursing students to the the state Capitol in Frankfort to meet with legislators as part of Kentucky Nurses Legislative Action Day. Lemberger, a family nurse practitioner, was named a 2018 Louisville Business First Health Care Hero for excellence in patient experience during a career in which she’s worked with child abuse victims, cancer patients, homeless populations and pregnant teens. 

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

Spalding’s mission statement says, “We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.” The Sisters are prayerful women who in the 1800s went out into our community to provide care for individuals who were struck by cholera. I love that here at Spalding, we have the foundation of these courageous and caring women who see beyond themselves to do great things for our community. I also really appreciate that we are a diverse community of learners. It means that each student brings their own unique story to the classroom, which enriches the learning experience.

What is your academic specialty or areas of expertise or research? 

I’m celebrating my 21st year in nursing. I graduated with my BSN in 1998, with my MSN/FNP in 2001 and my DNP in 2014. I’m board-certified as a family nurse practitioner, an advanced forensic nurse, a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) of adults, adolescents and children, and as a faith community nurse. I’ve worked in a variety of areas, including in-patient oncology, domestic violence and homeless shelters, hospice, retail health, public high schools for pregnant and parenting teens, and the military.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s online RN-to-BSN program
SCHOOL OF NURSING | Check out all the programs offered at Spalding
NURSING FACULTY | Read bios of all Spalding professors

LEADERSHIP | Educator, scholar Bro. Ignatius Perkins returns as nursing chair

Why is nursing a good option for students to consider as their major?

Nursing offers the opportunity to blend a love of science with care for individuals and communities. Our students also learn about leadership, research, health equity and how to make this world a better place for all.  At Spalding, we really get to know our students, and it feels like a family. I often tell people that there are so many opportunities in nursing from the bedside to the community to health care management and everything in between. You will always have a job, many opportunities for career growth, and the blessing of helping to make a difference in people’s lives.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office? 

I have a calligraphy print of the Serenity prayer. It says “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My grandmother helped to raise me, and this frame hung in her dining room growing up. She was an incredible person, and she really inspired me to do good in the world.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

It’s really wonderful when our students have “aha” moments. There are times when students are able to connect the dots, relate what they are learning to their own personal experiences, and it’s as if light bulbs illuminate and things begin to click. We often have former students return to visit after graduation – and online students who send emails. It brings me great joy to hear that what former students learned in class is actually seen in practice. It’s very rewarding to know that we are helping to plant the seeds for nurses to do good in this world.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students? 

Nurses can most definitely change the world.  Nursing is our nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses nationwide. We are the largest component of the healthcare workforce and are the main providers of care at the bedside. For the past 18 years, Americans have rated nurses as the No. 1 most ethical and honest profession. Nursing is both a profession (it’s something you are) and an occupation (it’s something you do). As faculty, it’s an honor to provide Spalding students with information, resources and opportunities to change the world for the better.