Faces of Walden

Dr. Denise Prudencio

After earning his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2019, Dr. Denise Angelo Prudencio flew west to join Sacramento’s medical system as a nurse educator. Little did he know he’d soon be guiding staff through one of the biggest health crises this country has ever faced.

“The first few months of the pandemic, we were so busy,” he explains. “Even now, our ICU beds are fully occupied and our COVID-19 unit is full, too.” 

A consummate coach, Prudencio is adapting daily to best support his frontline nurses. He says that mentoring, a role he’s passionate about, plays a big part in helping his nurses stay healthy and resilient during a global pandemic. 

Prudencio credits his effectiveness as an educator to his personal experiences. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, he traveled to the U.S. in 2009 to further his education. He remembers the critical role his peer relationships played in helping him find his footing in a new country and culture. 

When he started his DNP program at Walden in 2015, he found similar support. “Online education was new for me,” he explains. “So I thought, ‘How will I make it, especially when English is my second language?’ But my Walden DNP mentor, Dr. Linda Matheson, really made time for me. We scheduled one-on-ones just to make sure I had everything I needed throughout the process. I remember when she told me, ‘Oh, I can call you Dr. Prudencio now.’ And I said, ‘Oh, my goodness.’”

“Nursing is evolving daily, and healthcare as well,” Prudencio explains. “In this ever-changing environment, having somebody to mentor you is so important.”

Today, Prudencio supports his own mentees by building rapport on a personal as well as a professional level. “If my nurses are stressed about work or about their personal life, I want them to know I’m here to be their shoulder to cry on or just to vent. Sometimes that’s the best way to prevent burnout, if you have somebody that you can lean on … someone you can trust to communicate your need. This is how we can help prevent that messy situation down the road.”

Baltimore magazine honored Prudencio in its 2019 Excellence in Nursing awards for his contributions as a nurse educator. And for now, it’s a role he embraces. “My goal ultimately is to move into leadership. But right now, I want to continue doing what I’m doing.”

What’s the best part about coaching other nurses? Prudencio says it’s watching someone else tap into their talent and potential. “When they learn or attain something after you’ve mentored them, you feel it’s your achievement, too. I think that’s where I find the most meaning.”