Dr. Vessey received a BSN from Goshen College, a Developmental Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of Miami, and an MSN and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. She was selected to the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Nurse Scholars program at the University of California, San Francisco for her post-doctoral work. She later received her MBA in Medical Services Management from Johns Hopkins University. The decision to seek this degree came from her realization that understanding the economics and business practices of health care was essential to being able to contribute to related policy determinations for children with chronic conditions.
Throughout her career Dr. Vessey has focused on caring for children with, or at risk, for chronic conditions, and has been able to influence children’s and youths’ health outcomes through teaching, research and practice. Dr. Vessey holds the Lelia Holden Carroll Chair at the William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College and is a nurse scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital. She teaches undergraduate and graduate students, supervises the dissertation work of numerous doctoral students, and has also been a visiting scholar at universities in both the United States and abroad.
Dr. Vessey and her colleagues have conducted numerous descriptive, methodological, and intervention studies designed to improve the well being of children. Many of these studies have focused on teasing and bullying. Her interest in this area of inquiry began when she witnessed the difficulties that children with chronic conditions faced at school. Dr. Vessey’s research on bullying in the schoolyard, led to a related area of study, bullying and horizontal violence within the nursing workforce and its impact on quality patient care. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, professional organizations, and private foundations. As a content expert, she has consulted with the Department of Health and Human Services Stop Bullying Now campaign and the National Association of School Nurses. In addition, she serves as a grant reviewer for Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Vessey has presented widely and published more than 100 articles including the text, Primary Care of the Child with a Chronic Condition, which she co-edited with Patricia Jackson Allen. She has received numerous awards for her work including the Excellence in Nursing Research Award from the Society of Pediatric Nurses. Dr. Vessey is actively involved in the American Academy of Nurses and served as the co-chair of the Child and Family Expert Panel and a member of the task force that has promulgated the Healthcare Quality and Outcomes Guidelines, adopted by every major pediatric nursing organization.