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Qualities of Leadership: Dianna Copley

Clinical nurse specialist credits mentors with helping grow her career

  • At right, Dianna Copley,DNP, APRN-CNS


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Dianna Copley

In 2009, Dianna Copley, DNP, APRN-CNS, joined Cleveland Clinic as a clinical nurse in the surgical intensive care unit. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree and became a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in advanced practice nursing, primarily supporting hospital medicine in 2015.

Last year, Copley returned to surgical intensive care and earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Clinical nurse specialist Kathy Hill, who became her mentor, was the person who encouraged Dr. Copley to consider becoming a clinical nurse specialist.

“Through practicing in the SICU, I recognized how much I loved critical care and wanted to make a further impact with translating evidence into bedside practice,” Dr. Copley says. Mentors have been essential to her career. “I have had wonderful opportunities, many of which I was encouraged to pursue by mentors,” she says.

“They have given me honest feedback that has improved my writing and presentation abilities and given me the confidence to pursue additional professional opportunities.”


Among those have been opportunities to present nationally at both the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses National Teaching Institute annual conference and the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses annual convention. “I am always excited to represent Cleveland Clinic during these large national events,” she says.

Research on Second Victim Syndrome

Copley also is proud of work she did as part of her doctoral studies. “I wanted to pick a topic that supported clinical nurses. I made an error as a novice nurse and remember the profound impact it had on me,” she says. “What I experienced is known as second victim phenomenon. For the scholarly project, I studied Second Victim Phenomenon Mitigation Educational Program Evaluation. I presented this work at the 2021 International Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Institute Forum.”

Dr. Copley credits her ongoing professional growth to volunteering in national nursing organizations. She currently serves as the chair- elect for the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses program planning committee and as co-chair for the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists website and listserv committee.

Dr. Copley believes that nursing caregivers should capitalize on the public’s better understanding of the value and expertise of nurses — understanding brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Nursing must capitalize on this momentum, and advocate for issues such as support for nursing education to continue to grow our workforce,” she says.

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