Dr. McConnell is Director of the Center of Excellence in Geriatric Nursing Education (CoE-GNE) and Lead Faculty for the gerontology specialties (Adult NP-Gerontology and Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist) in the MSN Program. She has a joint appointment at the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where she is both clinical nurse specialist and nurse scientist. Dr. McConnell is also a Senior Fellow at the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.
She earned her Master's in Nursing at Duke University and her PhD in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. McConnell's academic interests include frailty in the aged, the role of the physical environment in promoting function, and implementation of evidence-based practices in care of older adults.
Her research identifies factors that influence functional decline in very frail older adults, with a particular interest in improving care for older adults with cognitive impairment.
Dr. McConnell received a Fulbright Specialists grant in public and global health for an educational partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Nursing in Mona, Jamaica. As a Fulbright Senior Specialist, McConnell is assisting with faculty and curriculum development and refinement of clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) geriatric advanced practice nursing programs at UWI-Mona. She is also providing consultation on clinical practice sites.