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Meet the NSP II Cohen Scholars: Brenda Smith Nettles

Let's meet another Nurse Support Program (NSP) II Cohen Scholar!

Who are the Cohen Scholars? From the Nurse Support website:

The Cohen Scholars are recognized as the next generation of nurse educators to fill the positions needed now and in the future.

This NSP II program provides funding for Cohen Scholars to complete the necessary graduate degrees and coursework to prepare to become a nurse educator or faculty in the state of Maryland.

Join us in meeting some of the Cohen Scholars across the state of Maryland!


Brenda Smith Nettles, DNP, MS, ACNP-BC, CNE, is a Cohen Scholar from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and now serves there as an Assistant Professor.

In addition to obtaining her DNP, Dr. Nettles has obtained advanced certifications as a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) and as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She also received the Daisy Award for Excellence in Precepting in 2020.

Dr. Nettles is passionate about addressing the complex learning needs of students as they prepare for their future roles as advanced practice nurses. She was kind enough to answer a few more questions for us below about her journey in nursing education.


What drew you to a career in teaching?

"I have served as clinical resource for new nurses, advanced practice providers, residents, and fellows throughout my nursing career."

What are the two most important things you’ve learned as you've prepared for a career as an educator?

"I learned new techniques for developing learning activities and how to evaluate student understanding of the content presented in my course."

What has your experience as a Cohen Scholar been like? How has this program impacted your career path?

"As a Cohen Scholar I have had the opportunity to be mentored by some of the best nurse educators in the country.

I also had opportunity to transition from my role as adjunct faculty to a full time faculty position this year."

Tell us about the steps/processes that helped you acquire your first teaching position?

My first role in nursing education was as a clinical instructor for an advanced assessment course for a Masters level program. Next, I served as a co-course coordinator for a pathophysiology course in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program.

After completing the nurse educator certificate program I was able to teach additional courses as part of my service agreement. I ultimately started as an Assistant Professor during Spring 2022 at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.


Thank you to Dr. Nettles for taking the time to share your story with us and for pursuing a career that leads the nursing profession forward!

Stay tuned for our next Cohen Scholar Spotlight.

Are you a Cohen Scholar who would like to share your story? Reach out to us at!

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