Ann L. Swartz, D.Ed., MSN

Ann Swartz, D.Ed., MSN
Associate Teaching Professor Emerita of Nursing, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education

Ann grew up in Middletown, PA in a family with a long history of providing healthcare to their Central PA communities: from traditional midwives, lay veterinarians, and general store owners dispensing remedies, to 20th century community nurses , veterinarians and general practice physicians working from a home office. From them she learned complete dedication to craft, responsibility to community, and the sanctity of family as life’s center, infused with spirituality and embedded in culture. From this milieu evolved preferences for science, nature, and the arts; a curiosity about people in all their great variety; and an abiding interest in traditional healing beliefs and practices. Ann bathed her first patient as a 13-year-old volunteer at the Middletown Home, beginning 54 years of nursing practice. It was a natural career choice given an apprenticeship that began in early childhood.

At the University of Virginia Ann’s fascination emerged at the intersection of med-surg and psychiatry, and in use of the research process. She was interested in serious illness, physical and surgical trauma, and the ways these experiences affect how we understand ourselves and how we live in their wake. As an Army Nurse Corps scholarship recipient, Ann entered active duty in August 1974 while still a student, then progressed through career assignments at Ft. Bragg, NC; Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; 5th General Hospital in Stuttgart, West Germany; and the Institute of Surgical Research, Burn Center at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. The Army made it possible for Ann to cross boundaries and work in diverse areas, ultimately doing advanced practice in psychiatry consultation-liaison with critically ill and trauma populations, while gaining exposure to the Army’s significant use of complementary and alternative medicine. She also worked per diem in a variety of private and public inpatient psychiatry settings in the Washington metropolitan area. Ann's military assignments always included leadership and quality improvement responsibility, research participation, and teaching. She precepted nursing graduate students, medical students and residents, and directed the residential alcoholism training program required for all Army nurse and physician administrators in Germany. The Army taught her the necessity of collaboration for mission accomplishment. Ann retired from active duty as a LTC in October 1995 and returned to Pennsylvania with her two children. During her transition years she taught psychiatric nursing at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and shifted her clinical practice into rural outpatient mental health and psychiatric consultation in homecare.

In 2000 Ann began at Penn State Harrisburg as an adjunct instructor of Nursing, and by 2002 was a full-time faculty member teaching in the RN-BS program. She later taught in the pre-licensure second degree nursing program, and from January 2016 – June 2021 also served as the Nursing Programs Coordinator. This progression in her second career was the perfect use of Ann’s previous experiences toward shaping the next generation of RN’s to serve our Central PA community. Her happiest accomplishments at Penn State Harrisburg were: developing the RN-BS clinical sequence to incorporate the running of a nurse wellness clinic (including pet therapy and Reiki) in a public housing apartment building for a decade; being an early adopter of simulation education and also incorporating that throughout the RN-BS program, then building a very strong simulation integration throughout the second degree program; doubling the size of the second degree program, opening the door for the recruitment and acceptance of international medical graduates to become RN’s, and paving the way for a concurrent degree path to a BSN at Penn State Harrisburg. Retired for the second time on 30 June 2021, Ann is grateful for the marvelous opportunities she found here!

Supervision of Student Research

10 undergraduate capstone research projects

Committee member on 9 completed Doctoral Dissertations, 5 still in process

Service as Peer-Reviewer of Manuscripts

Adult Education Quarterly, (2010 - 2021)

Journal of Transformative Education (2016 - 2020)

Adult Learning (2017 - 2018)

International Journal of Lifelong Education (2012)

Research Activities

Co-Investigator on Participant Action Research, "Professional Quality of Life in a Hospital Nursing Staff: Compassion Fatigue in Context", (September 2013 - December 2017). Resulted in two conference presentations to sponsors.

Mentored a senior undergraduate independent study (psychology and adventure education major): "Evolution of States of Consciousness in Outdoor and Arts Activities", Prescott College, Prescott, AZ, (February 2011 - May 2011). Resulted in a joint conference presentation, Association for Experiential Education, Durango, CO: Ft. Lewis College.

Primary Investigator: "Complexity Science and Adult Education: The Role of Trauma in Nurses’ Embodied Learning", Adult Education Doctoral Dissertation Research. Penn State University at Harrisburg. (2009).

Research assistant: "Factors associated with women's psychological adaptation following burn injury." Wrote the literature review, devised methodology and identified staffing requirements for a longitudinal study of active duty women. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Burn Center, Ft. Sam Houston, TX. (1995).

Primary Investigator for two related mixed-methods studies: 1) "Burn patients’ and their families’ responses to an air crash disaster" and 2) "Staff perceptions of a burn mass casualty and staff post-trauma symptoms". Army Institute of Surgical Research, Burn Center, Ft. Sam Houston, TX. (1994 - 1995).

Co-Investigator with Reeder, J. and Gary-Stephens, M. : "Families' Coping with Combat Injury". Walter Reed Army Medical Center Nursing Research, funded by Department of Clinical Investigation. Longitudinal mixed methods study researching the process of families’ coping with combat injury following the first Gulf War, Operations Desert Shield / Storm. Several policy recommendations emerged resulting in changes to the casualty informing and family support processes. (1991 - 1993).

Member, Nursing Research Expert Panel of Evaluators: "Pregnancy attitudes, ambivalence, and psychological distress in military women", funded by National Center For Nursing Research, National Research Service Award Grant #1F31NR06575-01 (1992).

Nursing Research Team Member: "Debriefing as Therapeutic Intervention". At Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. during Operation Desert Shield/Storm the team designed a debriefing intervention protocol and conducted debriefings with injured soldiers while also collecting data for qualitative research. This research was conducted by Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; Approved by Army Personnel Integration Command, Survey Control #ANTC-AO-91-12A. (1991).

Primary Investigator: 7th Medical Command, US Army Europe, Alcohol Treatment Facility, "Alcoholism Rehabilitation Program Evaluation". (1985 - 1987).

Primary Investigator: 7th Medical Command, U.S. Army Europe, Alcohol Treatment Facility Program Evaluation: "Changes in health care professionals’ attitudes toward alcoholism after completion of Healthcare Professionals' Course on Alcoholism". (1986).

Primary Investigator: Staff Study, The Utilization and Misuse of Psychiatric Nurses in the Combat Theater of Operations. Forwarded to Training and Doctrine Command for further study via Army Nurse Corps Career Activities Office. (1985).

Primary Investigator: "Measuring Change in an Outpatient Psychotherapy Group". Masters Thesis at The Catholic University of America. A qualitative, content analysis study from a Sullivanian, interpersonal developmental perspective. (1984).

Graduate Student Research Assistant: At St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the historic federal psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., Assisted Nursing faculty member in carrying out her NIMH grant to develop an undergraduate course on ‘Nursing the Chronically Mentally Ill’; course development, seminar instruction, clinical supervision, project evaluation. exposure via seminar guests to leaders in the field of chronic mental illness and at the hospital to creative arts therapies. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (1983 - 1984).

Primary Investigator: Psychiatry inpatient QI study of Cross-cultural interpretation and documentation of patients' emotions in the medical record, resulting in departmental training done with nursing personnel and psychiatry physicians to eliminate disparities. Walter Reed Army Medical Center Department of Psychiatry, Washington, D.C. (1981).

  • Use of systems thinking and ecological systems models to understand learning, health at different systems levels, and to guide teaching
  • Pedagogies for developing self-awareness, resilience, ecological consciousness
  • Relationships between embodied learning, health, trauma, and resilience
  • Traditional health beliefs and practices for self-care and reciprocity

Tisdell, E. & Swartz, A. L. (2021). Transformative pilgrimage learning and the big questions in the covid 19 era – love, death, and legacy: Implications for teaching and lifelong learning in adult and health professions education, In A. Nicolaides, S. Eschenbacher, P. Buergelt, Y. Gilpin-Jackson, M. Welch, & M. Misawa (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook on Learning for Transformation. Palgrave macmillan.

Swartz, A. L. (2014). Becoming Systems Thinkers: Increasing Social Capital Through Network Weak Links. Proceedings of the Annual Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 509 - 514) Harrisburg, PA: Pen State University, Harrisburg.

Swartz, A. L. (2012). Embodied Learning and Patient Education: From Nurses’ Self-Awareness to Patient Self-Caring. In Randee Lawrence (Ed.), Bodies of Knowledge: Embodied Learning in Adult Education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education (no. 134). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Tyler, J., & Swartz, A. L. (2012). Storytelling and Transformative Learning. In Taylor, E.W. & Cranton, P. (Eds.), The Handbook of Transformative Learning: Theory, Research and Practice (455 - 470). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Swartz, A. L. & Tisdell, E. J. (2012). Wisdom, Complexity and Adult Education: Emerging Theory and Meanings for Practice. Proceedings of Annual Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 321 - 327) . Saratoga Springs, NY: SUNY, Empire State College.

Swartz, A. L. & Triscari, J. S. (2011). A model of transformative collaboration. Adult Education Quarterly, 61(4), 324 - 340.

Tisdell, E. J. & Swartz, A.L. (Eds.) (2011). Adult Education and the Pursuit of Wisdom. New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education (no. 131). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Swartz, A. (2011). The Body’s Wisdom and Adult Learning: Insights from Neuroscience. In Tisdell and Swartz (Eds.), Adult Education and the Pursuit of Wisdom. New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education (no. 131). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Johnson, M. C., Swartz, A. L., & Tisdell, E. J. (2010). An Irish Spiritual Pilgrimage and the Potential for Transformation. Proceedings of the Annual Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 212 - 218), Sacramento, CA: Sacramento State University.

Swartz, A. L. (2010). Embodied learning and trauma in the classroom and in practice. Proceedings of the Annual Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 454 - 460), Sacramento, CA: Sacramento State University.

Swartz, A. L. & Sprow, K. (2010). Is complexity science embedded in transformative learning? Proceedings of the Annual Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 461 - 467), Sacramento, CA: Sacramento State University.

Triscari, J., & Swartz, A. L. (2009). Active Evolution: Transformative Collaboration. Proceedings of the 8th International Transformative Learning Conference (pp. 351 - 356).

Tisdell, E. J., & Swartz, A. L. (2008). A Spiritually Grounded and Culturally Responsive Approach to Health Education. In Perez, M. and Luquis, R. (Eds.), Cultural competence in Health Education and Health Promotion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Swartz, A. L. & Sprow, K. M. (2008). Teaching with Media Violence to Explore a Public Health Problem. Proceedings of the Annual Adult Education Research Conference, St. Louis, MO: University of Missouri .

Swartz, A. (2008). Uncovering Science in Adult Education: Welcome Complexity Theory. Proceedings of the Annual Adult Education Research Conference, Saint Louis, MO: University of Missouri.

Swartz, A. L. & Triscari, J. S. (2007). Transformation Through Collaboration. In Cranton, P. & Taylor, E. (Eds.), Proceedings of 7th International Transformative Learning Conference. (pp. 316 - 320). Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico.

Samter, J., Fitzgerald, M.L., Braudaway, C.A., Leeks, D., Padgett, M.B., Swartz, A.L., Gary-Stephens, M., Dellinger, N.F. (1993). Debriefing: From military origin to therapeutic application. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 31 (2), 23 - 27.

Fitzgerald, M.L., Braudaway, C.A., Leeks, D., Padgett, M.B., Swartz, A.L., Samter, J., Gary-Stephens, M., Dellinger, N.F. (1993). Debriefing: A therapeutic intervention. Military Medicine, 158 (8), 542 - 545.

Higher Education

D.Ed. in Adult Education, Penn State University

MSN Post Masters Certificate as Family Practice Nurse Practitioner, Widener University

MSN in Adult Psychiatric / Mental Health Nursing, The Catholic University of America

BSN, University of Virginia

Military Education 

Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth

Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Fort Leavenworth

US Army Medical Department Advanced Course, Academy of Health Sciences, Fort Sam Houston

Academy of Health Sciences, Fort Sam Houston

Licensures and Certifications 

Forest Therapy Guide, Provisional certification pending final immersion (2021)

Certified Nurse Educator (CNE), National League for Nursing, (2019 - 2024)

Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Specialist, American Nurses' Credentialing Center (1988 - 2021)

Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, Specialty Family Health, PA State Board of Nursing, State. (1999 - 2022)

Registered Nurse, PA State Board of Nursing, State. (1995 - 2022)

Registered Nurse, Washington D.C. Board of Nursing (1989 - 1999)

Registered Nurse, VA State Board of Nursing, State (1976 - 1996)

Clinically Related Experiential Training Programs 

"Radical Hospitality", Forest Therapy Guide Practice Development, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, Nadine Mazzola, Tam Willey, 4 months (2021).

"Forest Therapy Guide Certification Training", Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, Caitlin Williams, Tam Willey, Liz Collado, 7 months (2020 - 2021).

"Wilderness First Aid Basics", AIM Adventure U (2020)

"Elder in Orientation", Art of Mentoring, Miriam Dror, Tahira Abubakr, Sangoma Oludoye, Vermont Wilderness School, 1 week immersion. Plymouth, Vermont. (2019).

"Shamanism as traditional healing system and mind/body medicine," The Cormac Center, 144 hours. (2018 - 2019).

"Nature - Culture and Culture Repair," Debra Benham, Rebecca Card, Phil Greenwood, Nature Culture Network, 50 hours. Falkland Estate, Falkland, Scotland, UK. (2019).

"Inter-professional Education Train the Trainer (T3) Faculty Development Workshop," University of Virginia School of Nursing and College of Medicine, Josiah Macy Foundation. Charlottesville, VA, US. (2017 - 2019).

"Wilderness Solo," Lien de Coster and Tsila Pirhan, 9 days, Sweden (2018).

"Essentials of Resilient Community," Vermont Wilderness School, Amy Hyatt, 100 hours. Brattleboro, Vermont, US. (2017 - 2018).

"Nature Immersion Ring 2", Art of Mentoring, Jon Young, Peter Cow, Lien deCoster, Dan Puplett, 7 days, Burnicombe Farm, Dartmoor, Devon, UK. (2017).

"Transformative Touch / Touch, trauma, Polyvagal Theory," Noel Wight, Somatic Therapy Center, 4 hours, Philadelphia, PA, United States. (2017).

"Learning to Work with Open Space Technology," Ann Caroline Turk, Doris Gottlieb, Thomas Hermann, Contorno Counseling, 40 hours. Landgoerd de Horst, Driebergen, Netherlands. (2016).

Adult Mental Health First Aid Certification, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Ruth Moore, 8 hours. Harrisburg, PA. (2016).

"Integrated Synergy Program, Level 2," Rubenfeld Synergy Training Institute, Noel Wight, Level 2, 100 hours. Philadelphia, PA, USA. (2015 - 2016).

Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Ruth Moore, 8 hours. Harrisburg, PA. (2015).

"Somatic Synergist Program, Level 1," Rubenfeld Synergy Training Institute, Noel Wight, 100 hours. Philadelphia, PA, United States. (2013 - 2014).

"The Art of Mentoring, Ring 1", Nature / Culture Scotland, Jon Young, Mark Morey, Miriam Dror, Klaudia van Gool, 7 day immersion, Falkland Estate, Falkland, Fife, Scotland. (2014).

"Teaching with Simulation: An Instructor Course Certificate Program," Penn State College of Medicine, Simulation Center, Sally Rudy, 32 hours. Hershey, PA. (2012)

"Yoga and the Traumatized Relation to the Body: An Experiential Training for Clinicians and Other Healthcare Providers Working with Traumatized Clients," Dave Emerson, RYT, Trauma Center, Justice Resource Institute, 15 hours. Boston, MA. (2008).

Susquehanna Service Dogs, training for pet therapy dogs and their handlers. Harrisburg, PA. (2006).

"Reiki Touch Therapy, Levels 1 and 2" Rickie Friedman, PT, AltaVista Wellness Center, 16 hours. Harrisburg, PA.(2008).

"Reiki Touch Therapy, Levels 1 and 2," Aviana Retreat Center, Nancy Schmitt, 16 hours. Harrisburg, PA. (2006).

"Stephen Ministry Leader Training," Stephen Ministries, St. Louis, MO, 60 hours. Orlando, FL. (2005).

"Aviana Mindful Touch Therapy," Nancy Schmitt, CMT, Aviana Mindful Touch, 24 hours. Harrisburg, PA. (2005).

"Complexity Science and Healthcare," Plexus Institute, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 20 hours. Bethesda, MD. (2004).

"PA Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Network Training," Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Center, PA Refugee Resettlement Agencies, 90 hours. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA. (2000 - 2001).

"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Basic Training," EMDR Institute, Steven M. Silver, PhD. Philadelphia, PA. (2000).

Supervised Practice of Clinical Hypnosis, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Washington, D.C. (1990 - 1992).

"Clinical Hypnosis, Beginner Program," Harold Wain, PhD, Diplomate, American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, 20 hours. Baltimore, MD. (1990).

"A.K. Rice Institute Group Relations Training & Group Therapy Training," Donald Boomer, PhD and Morris Parloff, PhD, NIH, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 2nd year Psychiatry Residency Program, 100 hours. Washington, D.C. (1982 - 1983).

"Army Medical Department Professionals’ Course on Alcoholism," Bethesda Naval Medical Center, 80 hours. Bethesda, MD. (1981).

"US Army Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Team Training," Academy of Health Sciences, Army Medical Department, 80 hours. Fort Sam Houston, TX. (1978).

"Army Race Relations Facilitator Training," Army Equal Opportunity and Organizational Effectiveness Officers, Womack Army Hospital, 80 hours. Fort Bragg, NC. (1977).

"Intensive Care Externship," University of Virginia Hospital, 400 hours. Charlottesville, VA. (1975).