Karen Semmens, D.N.P., R.N., G.C.N.S.-B.C.
A.G.P.C.N.P. Track Director and Clinical Assistant Professor
Karen Semmens has been a nurse since 1979. She started out as a licensed practical nurse on a medical-surgical unit. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science, majoring in nursing in 1990. At that time, she developed her passion for the elderly, and her main focus was long-term care. After pursuing her master’s, she became the first director of nursing for a for-profit psychiatric hospital. She had the unique opportunity of assisting the building of a psychiatric facility from the ground up.
In addition to a Master of Science degree, Karen also sat for her certification as an advanced practice registered nurse and is a geriatric clinical nurse specialist — one of only two in North Dakota. After six years of working with the psychiatric facility, she pursued her passion for the elderly by accepting a teaching position at the University of North Dakota, where she focused on teaching care of the elderly to nursing students. Her education was complete after obtaining her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2012 from the University of Minnesota.
Karen has taught multiple courses in the undergraduate program, including a clinical rotation in a nursing home. She was the original director of the gerontological nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist program, which was a HRSA-funded program at the start. That program has evolved into the current adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner program.
Karen also maintains a practice site as the regional education coordinator for a local home health agency. She conducts in-services at regional long-term care facilities on management of behaviors of the residents afflicted with a dementia illness or a psychiatric disturbance resulting in extreme behaviors.
Areas of Expertise
- End of life
- Vulnerable adult
- Geriatric psych
- N 531 Adult-Illness Management I
- N 533 Adult-Illness Management II
- N 597 Advanced Clinical Practicum
- N 997 Independent Project