Lori Chorpenning MS, RN, CMSRN, CNE | University of Portland

Lori Chorpenning MS, RN, CMSRN, CNE

Instructor, School of Nursing & Health Innovations

Lori ChorpenningLori Chorpenning, in her own words, has had “a finger in every pot” when it comes to UP’s School of Nursing & Health Innovations (SONHI). A nurse for 43 years and a member of the UP nursing faculty since 2003, she was instrumental in the formation of UP’s groundbreaking Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) clinical education model, a partnership between local healthcare facilities and faculty that transformed patient care units into environments of support for nursing students and staff nurses at UP.

“When I was in nursing school and you went to hospitals, you weren’t allowed to even ask the nurses there a question,” she remembers. “We wanted something better for our students.”

Before coming to UP, she got her start as an ASN with a degree from Clinton Community College in Iowa, and worked full-time as a nurse while completing her Bachelor’s degree. After graduating, she felt like it was time for a change, and moved to Portland on her own. She worked at Providence St. Vincent as an evening charge nurse, but felt drawn to return to education.

“I was being pushed to go into management,” she says. “But I really wanted to make a difference.” She enrolled in UP’s nursing education program in 2000. “I loved teaching classes in the hospitals, and I always liked the UP nursing students the best, because they could think,” she says. After graduating in 2003, she joined the UP SONHI staff part-time, where she helped precursors develop the DEU clinical education model, which was no easy feat—such a model had few precursors. “We were doing something so new; it had never been done in the US before,” she says. Using comparable Australian programs as a guide, Chorpenning and her colleagues created a model for learning that allowed nursing students to work directly with nurse executives, staff nurses, and faculty in local patient care units as part of their education. “The students are part of the unit, and they’re learning bedside, which is the best place to learn,” she says. She became one of the first Clinical Faculty Coordinators for the program and has traveled around the country to teach other higher education facilities how to implement DEU models in their own nursing schools.

In addition to her work with the DEU model, she has certifications in her passion, disaster nursing, and has led several campus-wide disaster preparedness drills, including a 4-day Federal drill in 2007 that included hundreds of UP students, staff, and faculty.

With all of this under her belt, it’s no wonder that she’s looking forward to some well-earned rest in retirement. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my husband and getting to travel more, and more family time,” she says. But she knows that she will never be far from UP and her nursing students.

“When one of my nurses is a UP grad, I feel at ease because I know what they’ve been taught,” she says. “My goal in life is to make students into best nurses they can be, because I know they’re the ones who will be taking care of me someday!”