Previous General Faculty Members in the Spotlight

Dr. Valentina Brashers


General Faculty Member: Valentina Brashers, MD


Valentina Brashers, MD is a Professor of Nursing and Attending Physician in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System. After completing her residency in internal medicine and fellowship in pulmonary disease, she practiced in a rural general medical clinic and in the UVA emergency room. Dr. Brashers has been teaching pathophysiology, immunology, pulmonary assessment, and chest x-ray interpretation to graduate and undergraduate nursing students and healthcare professionals since 1987. At the University of Virginia, she has received the Excellence in Teaching Awards from both the nursing and medical schools, the Harrison Teaching Award for exceptional teaching and leadership, the All University Teacher Award twice, was selected to deliver a UVA "Last Lecture", and is a Founding Member of the School of Medicine Academy of Distinguished Educators. She is recognized nationally for her scholarship in the area of interprofessional education and practice and is Vice President of the National Academies of Practice, an interdisciplinary health organization focused on interprofessional collaboration in health care. She conducts workshops and lectures on nurse-physician collaboration throughout the U.S. The third edition of her book entitled Clinical Applications of Pathophysiology: An Evidence-Based Approach was published in 2006.

1. Describe your career and typical activities associated with your position as a non-tenure track faculty member.

I began my career at UVA as a part time faculty member in 1988 teaching pathophysiology for undergraduate and graduate nursing students while also working in a private practice in Buckingham Co, Va. I started teaching in the School of Nursing as a way of paying back a National Health Services Scholarship that supported my medical education as well as a National Research Service Award that supported my fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine. However, over time I fell in love with being an educator.

After several years as a physician in private practice, I took a position in the UVA Emergency Dept as a part time Attending and I gradually increased my time commitment to the School of Nursing. My work educating both nursing and medical students led me to ultimately take a fulltime faculty position in the School of Nursing while continuing to also teach in the School of Medicine. I teach approximately 200 undergraduate, masters, nurse practitioner, and doctoral students per semester for both required and elective courses. The courses I teach in the School of Nursing are pathophysiology and immunology. I also serve as the director of the skills component Transition Course in the School of Medicine.

Over the years, I've taken leadership roles in the School of Nursing Faculty Organization, serving on a variety of curriculum committees and on the School of Nursing's Advisory Board. I founded the first School of Nursing task force for international student experiences, and most currently, I spending much of my non-classroom time as the founder and co Chair of the UVA Interprofessional Education Initiative.

In the School of Medicine, I am a founding member of the Academy of Distinguished Educators and serve on the Curriculum Evaluation Committee. I am also a member of several University organizations including the Raven Society and Omicron Delta Kappa. In addition to my teaching and service responsibilities, I am the author of my own pathophysiology textbook in its third edition, and am a section editor as well as author of multiple chapters in two other major pathophysiology texts. Finally, I am active as a Fellow in the National Academies of Practice, a national organization dedicated to interprofessional practice and healthcare policy.

2. Why did you choose to build and/or continue your career at UVA?

At every step, UVA has opened doors allowing me to pursue my interests, first as a clinician and then as an educator. In the late 1980s, the SON was willing to take a risk by supporting me as a faculty member even though I was a physician with no nursing background. Over the past 2 decades, my amazing colleagues and students have reinforced my belief that UVA is the right place for me. I have gained invaluable associations and friendships across Grounds and in the Health System that would be very difficult to duplicate anywhere else.

3. What are the most significant advantages/rewards associated with your career at UVA?

Without a doubt, the greatest advantage and reward is that of being a member of the faculty at UVA and the opportunity to spend time with such incredibly brilliant, motivated, insightful, and caring students. As far as my career, nothing makes me feel more whole and engaged than when I am talking with students about what matters. I also value my colleagues who are generous with their time, expertise, and insight. Each day I find times when I am intrigued, challenged, motivated, and totally amused. Who wouldn't love days like that? On a more serious note, I take great pride in telling others during my travels that I work at UVA. Our reputation for quality education is well known, and I am grateful to be a part of that tradition.

4. What are the most significant challenges that you face (or have faced) in your career at UVA?

Like most faculty, I am constantly challenged by the sheer volume of activities to which I am committed. There is never enough time to do all the things I want to do. I always imagined that I would get better at prioritizing, become more comfortable with sometimes saying "no". Instead, I am busier now than I have ever been, and there is no end in sight. This is not a situation in which I "have" so much to do, but rather, there is so much that I care about doing.

5. Please share anything else that you would like to add.

My role as General Faculty is one in which I am completely content. I have worked hard to earn the respect of my students and of my colleagues, whether they be administrative, tenured, tenure-track, general faculty, or staff. In return, I have found that I can count on real support for my goals. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as a faculty member at UVA for the past 2 decades, and look forward to many more challenges, adventures and rewards here in the years to come.

To view previous General Faculty Spotlights, click here.