FNP-BC (Family Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified)
PhD (Nursing), University of Kentucky, Lexington KY
MSN (Family Nurse Practitioner), Vanderbilt University School of Nursing,
BSN (Nursing), Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville TN
Leslie came to Belmont as a faculty member in the fall of 1994, along with the inaugural class of Belmont Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students. She assumed the role of Graduate Program Director in 1998 and has served in that capacity since then. Under her guidance, the MSN program has more than tripled its enrollment in the past five years and Belmont launched its DNP program in fall of 2012. She teaches in the clinical course sequence on the MSN level: Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Primary Health Care I & II, and FNP Intensive Practicum.
Leslie’s clinical experience as a family nurse practitioner spans more than three decades and she has watched the growth of the Nashville FNP community first from the perspective of full-time clinical practice at the Vanderbilt University Primary Center and now from the education perspective on the Belmont faculty. Her particular interests involve cardiovascular health, especially hypertension, and understanding patients’ compliance patterns with therapeutic regimens such as those for hypertension. She enjoys helping FNP students make connections between the pathophysiology of disease, the presenting symptoms of that disease, and chosen treatments for the disease. Leslie maintains her national certification as a family nurse practitioner by practicing PRN at the Campus Health Services at Belmont.
A personal note from Dr. Higgins. . . .
I always knew I wanted to be a nurse and have felt so fortunate that my profession has felt “right” for me since my earliest days. What I was surprised to find when I joined the Belmont faculty was how even more rewarding it is for me to help student professionals make connections between fundamental concepts like pathophysiology and disease, and to transmit to them my excitement about and respect for being in the family nurse practitioner role. I was also surprised to discover how much I love teaching Pathophysiology and understanding the way things work and go awry in the human body. Because of this interest, I have a growing and unexpected interest in genetics and genomics, which really underlie the workings of the body in response to stress and illness.
I have been blessed to have been at Belmont long enough to see my former students who are out in practice acting as clinical preceptors, mentors and role models for my current students. It is much like watching your own children grow up to succeed and nurture the next generation!
Outside of my professional work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and we have taken several interesting international trips together. My grown daughter lives in San Antonio and we travel there to visit her. We have a calico cat named Gracie who rules the roost in our household. I enjoy reading, especially English mysteries and histories of disease!