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Q&A: Local Advanced Practice Nurse Shows What Going Above and Beyond Looks Like in Health Care


With 30 years of experience in pediatric neurology, Cooper University Health Care advanced practice nurse Nora Vizzachero puts in extra hours to offer her patients the highest quality of care. Typically hitting the office before her shift to get a head start on work, Nora usually stays late for meetings with her patients and their families, too. This non-stop schedules necessitates a reliable vehicle so she can maximize her time. 

With this in mind, Nora opted for a Subaru Impreza when it came time to treat herself after successfully completing her doctoral degree. The vehicle safely handles her Lincoln Drive commute, and, most of all, her summertime adventures. Today, she sat down with us to discuss the evolution of nursing, her favorite part of her job and the best advice she’s ever received.

As an advanced practice nurse, what does an average day look like?

As an APN at Cooper, I see my own panel of patients in collaboration with the rest or our team of Doctors, Nurses, APN’s, psychologists, social workers and support staff. I usually get in to the office early to get some work done while it is quiet, from about 7am to 8am. I fill prescription refills, complete charting and answer patient phone calls. From 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm (often spilling over longer) I see patients in our clinical area, usually about 12-15 per day. I manage acute and chronic health conditions, medications, diagnostic testing, educate patients and families, collaborate with primary and other specialty care providers and help them advocate for their children’s success. To handle the volume of patient care, I usually work a 12-hour day. The patient contact can be very gratifying but can also be exhausting. Many of our patients do not speak English, have low literacy or other socio-economic challenges.

What is your specialty?

I work in pediatric neurology and child developmental. I see kids with epilepsy, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, headaches and migraines, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, tics and Tourette syndrome.  I have been a pediatric nurse for over 30 years and a nurse practitioner for 18 of those years—all here at Cooper.

How has the nursing field evolved in the last ten years? How do you expect it to change?

Inpatient care has become much more acute with more minor and chronic conditions handled in the outpatient setting. The growth of Advanced Practice Nursing to meet the health care needs of our growing population with much greater rates of health care coverage has changed the conversation. Nurses have been advancing their educations to be more prepared for the increase of their roles in patient care. Greater percentages of registered nurses are now prepared with bachelor’s degrees and many more advanced practice nurses now have obtained or are working towards doctoral degrees. I completed my doctor of nursing practice (DNP) in August of 2014.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

One of my mentors from my Masters program (MSN UPenn ‘97) Ann O’Sullivan, director of the Pediatric Primary Care APN program, said then that the top three most important factors in health care are:

  1.       Patient satisfaction
  2.       Patient satisfaction
  3.       Patient satisfaction
  4.       Quality of care

Today in the competitive health care environment, this drive for top patient satisfaction scores is driving the market. Nurses and nurse practitioners are well prepared in this regard.

What is the best part of your job?

I feel amazingly honored to be let into families’ lives and stories and to touch people and help them every day. My goal is to educate them so they can become independent and successful. Seeing families and kids achieve this success is amazing!

What model Subaru do you drive?

I drive a 2014 Subaru Impreza sport in deep-sea pearl blue. This car was my reward to myself for my doctoral degree. I looked at Subaru [vehicles] to humor my husband, and because Subaru is a big sponsor of my favorite radio station WXPN (88.5) and their annual summer music festival, which coincidentally is held here in Camden New Jersey on the waterfront. I chose the Subaru over a few other cars I looked at. Two of my key features were good gas mileage and all-wheel drive. I also wanted some luxury. I have no regrets. I love my Blue Tooth to listen to music, I love the moon roof (I have never had one before) and I love the backup camera.

From which dealer did your purchase your Subaru?

Glanzmann Subaru in Jenkintown, PA—Keith Onorata was my salesman. We shared an interest in music.

How has your Subaru made your life easier?

I love the secure feeling of how the car handles. I drive Lincoln Drive every day. The Impreza makes this a secure, safe journey. Getting to work in all weather is important in all areas of health care; there is [often] an accident on Lincoln Drive when it rains. This helps me avoid being involved.

Subaru supports and thanks the entire medical community in the Greater Philadelphia area. Read more about their Subaru love stories. For more information about finding the right ride for you, click here.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.