WILLIAMSBURG, VA - Riverside Health System is pleased to announce that accomplished gerontologist Kathleen "Kathy" Fletcher, RN, DNP, NP-BC, FAAN has joined the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health (CEALH) team as its Senior Research Associate.
With decades of clinical and academic experience, Fletcher will play a key role in CEALH's mission to help older adults age successfully in a place and manner of their choosing.
"Kathy will be a tremendous asset to our team, as someone who is deeply committed to finding new ways to improve the quality of life for not only our growing older adult population, but also the caregivers who work so hard to serve them," said Christine Jensen, Ph.D., CEALH's Director of Health Services Research. "Having a clinical practitioner of her caliber on board will help us better measure our results to see what's working well, and what's not - something that can be challenging in older adults with dementia and other memory impairments."
Fletcher will serve in two roles, both as a research associate and as an instructor in nursing. No stranger to Riverside, prior to joining CEALH, she served as the health system's Director of Riverside's Geriatric Nursing Clinical Practice Program.
Fletcher bolsters her work with the Riverside family having come from the University of Virginia, where she spent more than 20 years in a number of positions including assistant professor of nursing, nursing supervisor, gerontological nurse practitioner and director of senior services.
She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Virginia in 2010, completed her doctoral coursework in nursing administration at Virginia Commonwealth University, became a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner following studies at the University of Lowell and earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from Pennsylvania State University.
Fletcher is also an accomplished writer, co-authoring Advanced Practice Nursing in the Care of Older Adults, among many other works.
In her new research role at Riverside, Fletcher will help identify grants to conduct research, working with the research and then sharing the results with the community. She will also teach healthcare workers how to review and analyze research, ensuring that practice is grounded in evidence.
Fletcher is keen on research that will ultimately make a difference in the quality of life for individuals and their family members. Of particular interest are pilot programs exploring new ways to help dual caregivers –those who serve in the workforce as a professional and also do caregiving in the home.
"Building on my academic background, it is truly exciting to contribute to the progressive and collaborative research happening both within Riverside and the community at large," said Fletcher. "Being able to work with individuals and families across the continuum of care and the wealth of resources at Riverside's disposal is incredibly motivating, as is their noble mission - to help older adults age in a place of their choosing."
Riverside Health System is southeast Virginia's largest provider of services for older adults, with more doctors and medical professionals providing hands-on care than any other area provider. Riverside CEALH's team is made up of a dynamic and diverse group of highly experienced professionals from medical, administrative and research backgrounds.