February 24, 2020

Emily L. Forbes, RN, MSN-HCA, FNP-C

Medical Professional Spotlight
Recognizing Outstanding Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in Hampton Roads

Nurse Practitioner

Forbes_EmilyEmily Forbes always knew she wanted a career in medicine. When she was little, she told her family she was going to become a doctor. “But at five,” she says, “you don’t really understand what it’s like to be a doctor.” As she matured, she found that the role of Nurse Practitioner was the right path for her. It’s a role she has embraced and even expanded, to serve the patients she cares for as part of the cardiology team at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center.

Forbes received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winona State University in Minnesota. She enrolled in the Nursing and Healthcare Administration program at the University of Minnesota, and earned her Master of Science as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, concurrently with a Master’s in Nursing and Healthcare Administration. She went on to complete a post-Master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Hawaii Pacific University.

Forbes served on the nursing faculty at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and Hawaii Pacific University. She’s Board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a member of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, and a Board member of the Tidewater Nurse Practitioner Council.

She came to Hampton Roads with her military husband, and secured a position with Bon Secours Cardiology Specialists at Maryview Hospital. “I can’t say enough about the team I’ve worked with,” Forbes says, especially Amy Barco, a PA who, she says, “took me under her wing when I first came on. She was a mentor.” Nine months later, Forbes was transferred to the fledgling cardiology practice at DePaul.

“The practice was in early growth, so patient load was not at full capacity at DePaul yet,” she recalls, “so I started going to meetings to learn more about how things were done.” Because of her background in administration and her previous work at a magnet status hospital in Hawaii, she was often asked to share her perspective.

As DePaul’s cardiology practice grew, Forbes observed that patients were often readmitted, especially with congestive heart failure. “The light bulb came on when I had a patient come back to the hospital with heart failure three times within 30 days,” she says. “I knew we had to do something about it.”

And she did. “I asked the physicians if I could have a couple of clinic days to see patients in the out-patient setting,” she says. In September of 2011, she started the heart failure clinic at DePaul. She calls it an education issue: “Patients don’t always completely understand their diagnosis, and what they’re supposed to do when diagnosed with heart failure. Nurse Practitioners are best known for their patient education.”

She started with just a few patients. She’d have them come to the clinic a week after discharge, and again after two weeks, so she could assess them, talk with them and reinforce their education. In the nearly two years since she opened the clinic, DePaul’s readmission rate for heart failure patients has significantly improved.

Forbes created a 16-hour curriculum for nurses, utilizing the American Academy of Heart Failure criteria, and developed a telemetry class to improve cardiac monitoring, education and knowledge of DePaul’s nursing staff. She recently added the role of interim educator for the Intensive Care Unit, and sits on several committees at DePaul Medical Center.

All of which she juggles with her latest role: new mother. She and her husband welcomed their first child earlier this Spring.

She was also recently selected by her peers to receive the 2013 Daisy award for stewardship during Nurses Week.


If you work with or know a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner you’d like to nominate for a profile in Hampton Roads Physician, please call our editor, Bobbie Fisher, at 757-773-7550.