Kathleen Capitulo, RN, DNSc, FAAN, is associate director, patient care services/CNE at James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx. She also serves as a professor of preventive medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, Manhattan, and an editorial board member for MCN, The American Journal of Maternal-Child Nursing.
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive nurse fellow, Capitulo’s dedication to creating competent nurses extends beyond the U.S. borders. Since 2007, she has been a professor at China’s Wenzhou Medical University, where she implemented an evidence-based nursing leadership program and facilitates the school nursing leaders’ participation in international conferences, publications and scholarly activities.
“My work in China has been among the most interesting parts of my career,” she said. “It began by my saying ‘yes’ to a colleague’s invitation to speak at a conference in Wenzhou and grew into the Transcultural Nursing Leadership Institute in China, building a professional global bridge with nursing leaders in China to facilitate publications, presentations and joint research, and connecting leaders in Wenzhou to the global community of nursing.”
Capitulo has been executive director of the institute since 2009.
At home, Capitulo has developed numerous programs, including the Adolescent Pregnancy Program and Maternal Child Bereavement programs which, she said, have become models of care that were implemented across the country. As an educator, Capitulo has mentored graduate and doctoral nursing researchers in areas of practice and research, leading a cohort of more than 50 DNP students who now hold leadership positions in nursing.
“I have been a proud mentor to numerous students and professionals who have become nurses, including my daughter, Melissa Capitulo, RN, who is a pediatric ICU nurse at NYU Medical Center, my nephew, and several family friends,” she said.
Her staunch belief in mentoring nurses comes from an exposure to great mentors throughout her own career.
“I have had the honor to have several great mentors, including Elizabeth Ayello, RN, PhD, FAAN; Margaret Freda, RN, EdD, FAAN; Thomas Smith, RN, DNP, FAAN; Joyce Fitzpatrick, RN, PhD, FAAN; Margherita Modica Davis, RN, MS; and Pamela Klainer, PhD,” she said.
Some of the highlights of her career have included being selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow and being able to advocate for women, children and veterans. “At the VA, I have become a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, leading many redesign projects,” she said. “A current project is redesigning sterile processing services to achieve ISO9001 certification, one of the highest international designations of quality.”
Capitulo also has spent her career building programs to assist families to heal after the loss of a loved one and to improve the quality of life for individuals with chronic illnesses, particularly children with transplants. As a member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses and the New York Organization of Nurse Executives, Capitulo has influenced health policy, practice and research on state and national levels. As a member of the Global Nursing Expert Panel of the American Academy of Nursing, she also has had an international impact.
Tracey Boyd is a Nurse.com regional reporter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of the 25th anniversary of Nurse.com, the magazine is celebrating 25 key nursing leaders in the region throughout 2013.