Dr. Runez Bender


As program coordinator for the Family Nurse Practitioner program (FNP) and a Governors State University Alum, I wanted to provide you with some insight into the program and what achieving your Master of Science in Nursing in seven semesters will be like at GSU.

I have been a nurse educator for (many) years, teaching at various levels – ADN, BSN, and Master's entry—and I’ve taught in GSU’s family nurse practitioner program since 2016. I have had a lifelong love affair with the practice of nursing and nursing education, and GSU was a great fit for me as a student and now a professor. The socio-economic-ethnic diversity of the FNP program faculty and students makes for a rich teaching and learning culture. The small class sizes allow for more individualized and focused teaching/learning experiences, and the students develop collegial relationships with faculty and peers that continue throughout their careers.

The Family Nurse Practitioner master’s degree didactic coursework is offered online, considering the working nurse's needs. Our online ACEN-accredited FNP program incorporates national certification information in each FNP course. The post-master’s certificate program is four semesters or more, depending on the courses transferred in. Our clinical placement service, directed by Tareylon Charise, MSN, connects FNP students with qualified and experienced practicum preceptors. Preceptors form an essential educational connection between the faculty at the University and students in their practicum courses. You’ll get hands-on learning experiences through clinical practicum rotations in varied settings such as primary care clinics, private practices, and community health centers to ensure you get the required clinical experiences.

Like you, my interests are wide-ranging, and my clinical specialties are well-rounded. My clinical background includes adult health, critical care, and women's health. I am employed part-time as an FNP, a primary care provider in women's health, internal medicine, medication assistant treatment, and substance abuse program at a federally qualified health center. I am committed to social justice principles and apply such ideals to enable underserved, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and marginalized groups to access healthcare and wellness resources equally. Now that I have completed my psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program, I plan to specialize in the medication treatment of severe mental health disorders, i.e., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, and bipolar disorders in minority and underserved populations.

The year I graduated from GSU’s master’s in nursing program – I was the University’s graduating student commencement speaker, and I can’t wait to see you walk across the stage as well.