"The students in this program are really special," she says. "They bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences with them to class, and that enriches our work together."
Most of her students are nurses who have R.N. (registered nurse) certification and are now working to complete a bachelor of science in nursing degree. Most work full time while going to school. The students' average age is 37.
One of Leppa's most popular classes is "Ethics and Values in Health Care Systems," where students compare health-care systems in the United States and Great Britain, followed by an intensive 11-day program in London.
Students come back having "learned about and experienced a nationalized health service and with a clearer sense of what our own health-care system is," Leppa says.
One student says: "The lectures we attended while in London stimulated conversations about socialized medicine, ethics and politics. I was so inspired after this trip, I decided to learn more about the way politics affects health care in our society."
Leppa also teaches a course on "Women's Health, Women's Lives" and other nursing courses.
"Her sense of humor, keen intellect, clarity and commitment to students and the nursing profession have earned her our affection, respect and admiration," another student says.
Leppa received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990, and came to the UW to do postdoctoral work in nursing systems with then-Nursing Dean Sue Hegyvary. She jumped at the chance to teach at UW Bothell.
"I was intrigued by the program specifically designed for R.N.s and I thought it would be exciting to be part of building something new," she says. "In many ways it's easier to develop an innovative project like the London course as part of a new program."
But it's the students who really inspire her work. "I look forward to continuing my teaching and learning with these non-traditional students," she says. "They really make my work interesting!"--Claire Dietz, Medical Affairs News and Community Relations
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