Accommodating and building bridges

Author(s):

Rose Constantino is inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame.

In her 57-year career, Rose Constantino, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN, FACFE, has found success in both of her vocations—nursing and law—by making interpersonal relationships her focus. Her distinguished service, exceptional leadership, sustained commitment to mentoring, and long-standing engagement in advocacy guide and inspire peers and students in their careers and personal lives.

Constantino has taught psychiatry, mental health nursing, and forensic nursing. Currently, she’s an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and a practicing lawyer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She’s developed courses for enhanced forensic nursing based on a broad range of clinical nursing specialties, ethics, technology, and the law. Her research emphasizes the underlying systemic social justice issues that lead to violence and health inequities and encourages healthcare practitioners to be mindful of the human experience accompanying these challenges. In 2016, the American Nurses Association (ANA) honored Constantino, a Pennsylvania State Nurses Association member, with a national award that recognizes her accomplishments in practice, education, and research aimed at improving nursing and healthcare. She spoke about her expansive career in a recent interview.

Who was one of your role models?

Hildegard Peplau, known as “the mother of psychiatric nursing,” was a guest lecturer when I was in my master’s program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her theory of interpersonal relations in nursing had a profound effect on my career as a nurse and a lawyer. This theory says that both the nurse and the patient play a role in building the relationship. From Peplau’s three stages of the nurse-patient relationship—orientation, working, and termination—I developed a system of understanding relationships, which I call “ABCDE”: Accommodating, Building bridges, Collaboration, Diversification, and Engagement. Peplau shaped my ability to relate, communicate, and form working relationships.

Can you talk about your journey from nursing to law?

After graduating with my bachelor of science in nursing from the Adventist University of the Philippines, I began my career as an operating room nurse in Manila. But an instructor was needed for the psychiatric mental health nursing course at the college, and I was asked to fill in. That’s how I started teaching, which I continued to do in Baltimore and Pennsylvania while earning my master’s degree and PhD. Searching for a new challenge, I earned my law degree through night classes at Duquesne University while working full-time. I combined nursing and law by teaching forensic nursing at the University of Pittsburgh and co-authoring the book Forensic Nursing in Principle and Practice, translated into Japanese in 2020. I continue to practice family law, where I connect women, girls, and boys with community resources that provide sustainable healing.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

One of my most meaningful accomplishments was earning a Fulbright Scholarship, which took me to Jordan in 2015. I lived there for 6 months, teaching a course and developing research with my colleagues at the University of Jordan. I was honored to be a Balik (Return) Scientist Visiting Professor at Centro Escolar University in Manila in 2017 and in 2019, at the Cebu Normal University. The Balik program encourages Filipino scientists, technologists, and other experts to return to the Philippines to contribute and give back. I was collaborating with researchers on the HEARTS (Health, Experience of Abuse, Resilience, Technology use, and Safety) of Older Adult study.

My greatest accomplishment is being inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame. It is incredibly meaningful to me.

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