Paulina Van, PhD, RN, CNE

Samuel Merritt University, College of Nursing
Certified Nurse Educator (National League for Nursing)
WCSI Post-Doctoral Senior Scholar (2020-2022)
WCSI Caritas Leader® Faculty
WCSI Caritas Coach®
HeartMath® Certified Trainer
Reiki Master
Healing Circles Facilitator
  Postdoctoral Presentation

Dr. Paulina Van entered academia after spending over twenty years in various executive-level positions in acute care, home care, and public health. She has held faculty or administrative positions in the Schools of Nursing at Samuel Merritt University, the University of San Francisco, the University of California, San Francisco, and California State University, East Bay, teaching at the doctoral, master, and baccalaureate levels. In 2014 she retired as Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences at CSUEB and is currently working as a professor and researcher at Samuel Merritt University.

Dr. Van graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in Nursing from the University of San Francisco. She earned a Master of Science degree (Nursing Administration focus), a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of California, San Francisco. She has also earned the designation Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) from the National League for Nursing. Dr. Van holds five additional distinguished certifications: Certified Instructor, Online Teaching & Learning (California State University, East Bay), Certified Mediator (The Center for Narrative and Discursive Practice), Reiki Master, HeartMath® Certified Trainer (HeartMath Institute), and Caritas® Coach (Watson Caring Science Institute). Dr. Van holds notable appointments with the Watson Caring Science Institute as Postdoctoral Scholar (2020-2022), Faculty Leader® Faculty (2021-), and Faculty Consultant (2021-).

Dr. Van chaired twelve DNP Project Committees between 2015-2021. She supports DNP students in this role and teaches various DNP theory courses and prelicensure nursing courses. She is a skilled creator and user of various AI, virtual, multimedia, and interactive learning objects to enhance undergraduate and graduate nursing students’ learning experiences.

Dr. Van is passionate about her program of research, which began in 1996 and is focused on the wide range of issues concerning women and pregnancy loss. This passion began focusing on African American women and has extended to diverse women in the US and internationally in Mexico and Spain. A significant contribution to practice has been her development and dissemination of an emerging theoretical “Model of Coping after Pregnancy Loss for Diverse Women.” She has presented papers on these topics in the United States, Canada, Columbia, Egypt, England, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and Thailand to multidisciplinary audiences of health care professionals. Dr. Van earned research funding awards from various organizations, including the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research, Johnsons & Johnson, Sigma, and the University of California, San Francisco. In 2014, Dr. Van introduced meditation and mindfulness activities to nursing students during on-ground class sessions to positively influence their learning experiences and overall academic performance. The results were so powerful that in 2017 she created online modules to provide similar experiences to doctoral students. The results of her initial work are published. Dr. Van’s most recent awards were two grants from the HRSA, Nursing Education Opportunity Program, Nursing Workforce Diversity Program. The most recent was a 3- year grant award ($1,500,000.00) (#1 D19HP31820-01-00) that provided for the recruitment, retention, and graduation of African American and Latino nursing students to enhance the number of registered nurses available to work in the diverse San Francisco/Bay Area communities.

Dr. Van is a dynamic presence in community and professional organizations. She has been an active member of Sigma Theta Tau since 1975 (induction), serving as a member/Board member with Alpha Eta (University of California, San Francisco), Eta Sigma Chapter (University of San Francisco), and Nu Xi at Large Chapter (Samuel Merritt University and California State University, East Bay). She completed a three-year appointment as a California Board of Registered Nurses, Education Issues Workgroup member, and is currently appointed to the Marcus Foster Education Institute Board (Oakland, CA.). Dr. Van has a long-sustained history of service to Samuel Merritt University. She is the past Faculty Organization, President, and currently serves on the Institutional Review Board and as the Rank and Promotion Committee, Chairperson.

Dr. Van has garnered recognition for her invaluable contributions to nursing education and unwavering support for diverse students. She is prominently featured in a permanent exhibit at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, CA, acknowledging her remarkable achievements. Furthermore, her exceptional contributions were recognized by the United States Congress twice, as she was presented with the Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Community Service and Academic Leader. In 2014, Dr. Van was inducted into the esteemed inaugural Leadership Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, and Alpha Eta Chapter (UCSF). Moreover, in 2021, she was presented with the prestigious Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award for Education by Sigma, Nu Xi At Large Chapter, further solidifying her reputation as an exemplary nursing leader.

Dr. Van’s publications address perinatal grief and coping, new graduate nurse transitions, and the impact of reflective practices on student learning. Her first book, “Regala Healing®,” was published in September 2021. It is a poetic, sacred work that emerged during her development as a Caritas Coach®. During the pandemic, this healing work garnered local, statewide and international attention to support caregivers. She continues this work through presentations to caregivers in major healthcare systems and a biweekly livestream program.