UMSON’s Gourley Awarded Dr. Peg E. Daw Nurse Faculty Recognition Award in Recognition of Excellence, Innovation, and Leadership

March 7, 2024

Baltimore, Md. - Bridgitte Gourley, DNP ’08, FNP-BC, assistant professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) and co-director of the University of Maryland, Baltimore Center for Interprofessional Education, has been awarded the Dr. Peg E. Daw Nurse Faculty Recognition Award in recognition of excellence, innovation, and leadership. Deans and directors of Maryland nursing programs may nominate one nurse faculty member for the one-time $10,000 award annually. 

The award is part of the Nurse Support Program (NSP) II, a statewide initiative funded by the Health Services Cost Review Commission and administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Previously named the Nurse Faculty Recognition Award, it was renamed this year in memory of Daw, DNP, RN-BC, CNE, FAAN, who significantly contributed to and made an impact on nursing and health care throughout the state of Maryland as the MHEC NSP II grant administrator for 12 years.  

Gourley was recognized for demonstrating excellence in “Engagement in the Nursing Program and Employing Institution,” one of five categories for recognition.

“Dr. Gourley is the consummate faculty instructor, leading innovation and modeling the way through her own service and practice,” wrote Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD ’11, MS ’05, BSN ’04, NNP, FNAP, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, in a letter of nomination. “She relishes her role as a teacher and holds herself accountable for helping to ensure the success of her students. At the same time, she also understands how to hold her students accountable for doing the necessary work to become clinically competent, caring, and compassionate nurse practitioners.”

Gourley joined the UMSON faculty in 2000 as a clinical instructor after receiving a Master of Science in Nursing, with an FNP specialization, from the Johns Hopkins University; she had previously received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Community Health from Johns Hopkins. In 2006, she became a member of the first class of the newly launched DNP program at UMSON, and upon completion of her doctoral degree in 2008, she was promoted to assistant professor. A year later, she began serving as the FNP specialty director.

The specialty has consistently ranked within the top 10 nationally for public schools of nursing in U.S. News & World Report’s “America's Best Graduate Schools.” In the 2023 edition, the FNP specialty was ranked No. 1 in the nation among all public schools of nursing out of more than 600 accredited nursing schools surveyed.

Gourley has been at the forefront of the growth of UMSON’s FNP program, now the largest specialty area within the DNP program, accounting for approximately 27% of the total DNP enrollment of more than 600 students. She has overseen the expansion of the FNP specialty to UMSON’s Universities at Shady Grove (USG) location as the principal investigator on a $1.6 million NSP II project grant; this has enabled the specialty to prepare additional students from western and southern Maryland who graduate and practice in medically underserved regions of the state. Gourley has recruited a diverse and collegial faculty who practice and precept students and she has creatively expanded practicum options that focus on caring for underserved populations in Maryland. These include academic-practice opportunities in rural and urban areas, hospital partnerships, and faculty practices and practicum opportunities in Head Start and Early Head Start Clinics in Baltimore City, and in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Frederick counties.

Her success in managing the specialty and providing state-of-the-art coursework is demonstrated by graduates’ 100% pass rate on the FNP certification exams, and it is acknowledged by her colleagues across the country through invitations to present at national education programs for advanced practice nurses and to serve on special interest groups. Her expertise is recognized by her UMSON peers; she is now the senior member of the DNP Faculty Development Committee and the Specialty Directors Nursing Essentials Workgroup that is engaged in restructuring the curriculum to meet the new American Association of Colleges of Nursing competency-based standards.

In recognition of her work, Gourley received the 2020 University of Maryland School of Nursing Distinguished Service Award. She is also a prior recipient of the School’s Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award.

Gourley is known among her colleagues for her willingness to step up and take on the complex tasks and the roles that require heavy lifting to get the job done; it is no surprise that her teaching workload and committee work far exceeds that of her peers, Ogbolu wrote. “However, her greatest gift is her ability to execute at the highest of standards while maintaining a light touch, providing perspective, and injecting humor and a sense of fun as needed, and through this combination to create an environment that allows students, faculty colleagues, and all those she engages with to relax into the hard work of pursuing excellence.”


The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,000 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.