Delaware Organization for Nursing Leadership


Board of Directors





Jennifer Painter



Christiana Care

Jennifer has been serving in the role as Associate Chief Learning Officer & Vice President, Nursing Professional Development & Education for the last 1 ½ years. She has been a nurse for 22 years with 19 years’ experience at ChristianaCare. Jennifer initially worked as a staff nurse as both an LPN and then an RN on 6C Hematology/Oncology from 2002-2007. She then worked in Cancer Research from 2007-2012. Jennifer completed her BSN and MSN degrees from the University of Delaware in 2003 and 2006 respectively and her DNP degree from Wilmington University in 2018. She received the Audrey K. Doberstein leadership award upon graduation. In 2019, she completed the GE Health Management Academy CNO Fellow Program.


Jennifer has presented locally, nationally, and internationally related to her work within Nursing Professional Development. She is certified in Nursing Professional Development, Nurse Executive-Advanced, Oncology Certified Nurse, and Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is also certified as a Juran Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.


Jennifer was a finalist for the 2015 Excellence in Nursing Practice award for the State of Delaware in the Educator category as well as a finalist for the Delaware Today Top Nurse award in 2016. Jennifer was named as a Delaware Business Times Top 40 Under 40 business professional in 2019. Jennifer was named a 2021 Top 5 Emerging Training Leader by Training Magazine. 




Dr. Michelle L. Collins currently serves as the Vice President, Nursing Excellence and Magnet Designation for ChristianaCare Health System. She started her nursing career as an adult/infant open heart recovery nurse at Christiana Hospital after graduating from the University of Delaware with her BSN in 1991. Michelle held multiple progressive roles in her early career between her native New Jersey and Delaware including nurse management, case management, and orientation coordination roles. She earned her MSN in Adult Health as a Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of Delaware in 2009 and became ChristianaCare’s manager of Nursing Development and Education and then advanced in this role to a newly created director role. In 2016, Michelle completed her Juran lean six sigma black belt and transitioned to another newly created system leadership role as the Director of Nursing Excellence and Magnet Re-designation. In 2017, she launched ChristianaCare’s second professional practice model and revised professional governance structure through engagement of clinical nurses and nurse leaders.

Michelle completed her DNP in Advanced Nursing Practice and Executive Leadership in 2018. She then led ChristianaCare to its first Magnet prize for Virtual Reality in a Chemotherapy Infusion Suite and its third Magnet designation in 2020. Meanwhile, Michelle was also co-leading ChristianaCare’s organization-wide engagement and improvement framework development. In 2022, she co-facilitated ChristianaCare’s American Nurse Foundation grant acceptance for $1.5 million dollars and led implementation of a successful virtual acute care nursing pilot.

Michelle is board certified in Nursing Professional Development, Nursing Advanced Executive Leadership, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Health. Her leadership work today includes system nursing strategy and planning, nursing professional advancement, and launching a Center for Nursing Innovation. She collaborates closely with nurses across are levels and locations, as well as interprofessional leaders and staff, in pursuit of excellence as evidenced by improved patient care outcomes, patient experience, and nurse engagement results. Michelle is an active member of the ANA Innovation community, the DNA, and the DONL. Michelle has been recognized as a finalist for the Delaware Today Top Nurse award for Advancing and Leading the Profession 2022 and 2023. She has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and has presented at local, regional, and national conferences on a variety of nursing topics and projects.

Immediate Past President

Catherine Shull Fernald, DNP, RN, RNC-OB, NEA-BC, FACHE


Catherine S. Fernald is a senior healthcare nurse executive with over 27 years of experience managing healthcare clinical operations, including nursing, ancillary and support services across the care continuum. She oversees nursing care for ChristianaCare, Newark Campus, a 1000+ bed Level One Trauma center in Delaware. In her current role as Chief Nursing Officer Acute Care, she is sensitive to the needs of clinical nurses for promoting evidence-based practice.  In collaboration with frontline caregivers and other stakeholders, provides the conditions to create workflow efficiencies and challenges the status quo for boldly transforming patient outcomes.   

Dr. Fernald is NEA–BC nationally board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and RNC–OB nationally board certified for obstetric, gynecological, and neonatal nursing specialties. She is a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). In addition to DONL, she is actively involved in a number of other local and national organizations, promoting the advancement of nursing practice.

She achieved a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership from American Sentinel University in Aurora, Colorado. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Phoenix in Arizona and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from De Sales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.




As Director of Patient & Family Health Education, Greg leads the strategic plan for patient education and health literacy initiatives at ChristianaCare. After moving on from direct patient care as a trauma/surgical ICU nurse, Greg has developed a team of Nursing Professional Development Specialists who champion health literacy best practices systemwide and support all manner of patient education initiatives and vendor relationships.  Greg has been with ChristianaCare since 2009 and received his MSN as a CNS from the University of Delaware. 



Laura Smith, DNP, RN, NPD-BC

Beebe Healthcare

Laura has worked for Beebe Healthcare for over 20 years. She started as a CNA while attending Beebe School of Nursing to obtain her RN license. Her clinical expertise is in medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, and oncology. From 2005-2014 Laura was a faculty member at Beebe, now known as the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing. During her tenure she became certified through the NLN as a CNE (certified nurse educator).


In 2014 she took her nursing education expertise back into the acute care setting when she took on a new role as a System Level Educator for Beebe’s Clinical Professional Development Department. In this role, Laura is the primary nurse planner for the ANCC Accredited Contact Hour Provider Program at Beebe, the Coordinator for all student clinical and observational experiences, and the nurse extern and graduate nurse residency program coordinator, all while assisting in the School of Nursing’s simulation lab and in unit-based education. Laura recently completed her DNP in Educational Leadership from American Sentinel University.


She is actively engaged in numerous committees both locally and regionally. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with various Foundations, such as the United Brachial Plexus Network and the Lupus Foundation. She can also be frequently found on the softball fields with her daughter.

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