Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Denise McNulty


Who met Donald Trump twice, loves disco dancing, and had a bus driver try to poison her food?  Dr. Denise McNulty, head of the nursing department at Ave Maria University, wears all these crowns. Dr. McNulty spoke to the students of Ave Maria University in the second “Professors are People, Too” Q&A of this year.

In the academic world, she is incredibly accomplished– Dr. McNulty attended Holy Family University for her undergraduate degree, and has a master of science in nursing as well as a doctorate from Duquesne University, with a post-master in psychiatric health nursing.  

She has 30 years of psychiatric nursing experience and, ever since childhood, has always wanted to be in this field.  Dr. McNulty got a job working as a nurse’s aide in a Catholic hospital when she was sixteen, and the rest is history.  “I don’t have any one reason,” she said, looking back on her career choice. “I think I always just knew.”  In addition to working in hospitals, Dr. McNulty runs a private practice in Naples as an advanced nurse practitioner, and is the co-author of a book on nursing leadership.  Her favorite part about her job are the opportunities- “Nursing’s not a boring career at all– there’s always somebody who needs your help.”  

Dr. McNulty’s best advice for college students is to remember to have a good time.  “Have fun– you gotta have fun!” she encourages, “Whatever your fun is to you, just enjoy yourself!  And you’ll be that shocked your grades will be really good, because you’ll be happy.”