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Benjamin Smallheer, PhD, RN, ACNP‐BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, CNE

Assistant Professor
(919) 613-9787
3117 Pearson Building

Benjamin Smallheer, PhD, RN, ACNP‐BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, joined DUSON’s faculty on August 15, 2016. He is the Lead Faculty for the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care major within the MSN program and a member of the Healthcare in Adult Populations Division.

Smallheer earned his BSN at Florida State University in 1998, and his MSN in 2004 and PhD in 2011, both from Vanderbilt University. He has also completed a post-master’s certificate in Family Practice from Tennessee State University in 2016.

Smallheer came to Duke from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, where he had been a faculty member since 2006 and an Assistant Professor since 2011. At Vanderbilt, he worked with both RN and Adult‐Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner students, was engaged in faculty mentoring in clinical and didactic environments and received recognition for his work incorporating alternative teaching methods and the innovative use of technology in the learning environment.

As Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Smallheer has practiced in a variety of clinical settings, including the Emergency Department, high acuity Medical-Surgical Intensive Care, Long Term Acute Care, and has been the lead responder on a Nurse Practitioner based Rapid Response and Code Team. He currently practices as an Acute Care Clinician in the Critical Care Unit at Duke Raleigh Hospital, within the Critical Care Medicine team.

Academic Program Affiliations

  • Master of Science in Nursing Program


  • PhD - Vanderbilt University
  • MSN - Vanderbilt University
  • BSN - Florida State University

Research Interests

  • Alternative teaching strategies to improve learning effectiveness
  • The use of simulation as a teaching adjunct for graduate level nursing students
  • Quality of life in chronic pulmonary patients experiencing acute exacerbations of their disease process

Awards and Honors

  • 2015 || Dean’s Award for Recognition of Faculty Achievement in Academics, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • 2014 || Nurse of the Year: Nursing Education, March of Dimes
  • 2013 || The Julia Hereford Award, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • 2011 || The Julia Hereford Award, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • 2009 || Award for Outstanding Clinical Excellence, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Representative Publications

  • 2016 -- Smallheer, B. Reverse case study: a new perspective on an existing teaching strategy Nurse Educator. 41(1); 7-8
  • 2015 -- Ardisson, M., Smallheer, B., Moore, G., & Christenbery, T. Meta-evaluation: experiences in an accelerated graduate nurse education program Journal of Professional Nursing. 2015 31(6); 508-515
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Benjamin Smallheer, Brett Morgan, Margie Molloy and Helen Gordon were recently awarded a Faculty Advancement Seed Grant from the Office for Faculty Advancement at Duke University.

Their project, “A Faculty Development Workshop on Gender Associated Incivility and Nursing Education” was one of five grants awarded for Spring 2018.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Iris Padilla and Benjamin Smallheer recently graduated from the year-long Amy K. Cockcroft Leadership Development Program at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing. The program provided them with proven skills, strategies and techniques for success as a healthcare leader.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Benjamin Smallheer was recently elected vice president of outreach to the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). INACSL is the global leader in transforming practice to improve patient safety through excellence in healthcare simulation. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Benjamin Smallheer was recently elected to the Sigma Theta Tau International Society of Nursing (STTI) Leadership Succession Committee at their 44th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Valerie Sabol, Benjamin Smallheer and Marilyn Oermann recently published a chapter entitled "Basic skills for teaching and the advanced practice registered nurse" in the fourth edition of Advanced Practice Nursing: Essentials for role development

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Meg Carman, MSN alumnus Shu Xu, Shari Rushton, Benjamin Smallheer, Staff members Denise Williams and Sathya Amarasekara, and Marilyn Oermann recently published an article entitled "Use of a virtual learning platform for distance-based simulation in an acute care nurse practitioner curriculum" in the September/October issue of Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Benjamin Smallheer was interviewed for an article entitled "Heroism in Nursing Practice: Spotlight on Adult-Gerontology and Acute Care NPs" for the Nurse Practitioner Schools blog. Smallheer is one of three professors interviewed for the article.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Benjamin Smallheer was recently selected for the 2017-2018 Amy V. Cockcroft Nursing Leadership Fellow at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing in Columbia, SC. The Amy V. Cockcroft Nursing Leadership Development Program prepares nurse executive leaders to meet the increasingly urgent demands of today's health care organizations. the progressive program will advance a leader's ability to lead and navigate complex organizations and work effectively with interdisciplinary teams.

During the program participants will: