Liz Domino with NIFA’s RNFA Program Director Jeremy Gofton.

From the November 7, 2008 Issue

Liz Domino, MSN, ARNP-C, CRNFA (NIFA ’98) and NIFA’s newest faculty member, is passionate about advanced education for nurses. AORN members can go to the AORN Journal archives and read her 2005 paper on the topic, “Nurses Are What Nurses Do — Are You Where You Want to Be?”

Liz’s regular job is at Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida in Ft. Myers, FL, where she works closely with one surgeon in a practice of 10 surgeons.

But when NIFA asked this very busy first assistant to go back to school – that is, as an instructor – she said “yes.”
With two masters degrees under her belt and a strong commitment to lifelong learning, she’s eager to help other nurses expand their skill sets.

Learning and the Service

Liz started her career at age 15 as a Candy Striper in Ft. Myers. After attending a community college briefly, she went into the U.S. Air Force and became an OR technician. She was stationed at a large California hospital from 1977 to 1981.

After her service, she returned to Ft. Myers, finished her associate degree and then enrolled in the nursing program at the University of Florida as an ROTC student. She graduated in 1985 as a second lieutenant. Soon after, she met her husband, also an Air Force officer. They’ll be celebrating their 22nd anniversary next month.

He outranked her, so Liz followed as his career took him from Florida to Japan and back again. Along the way, she gained experience in everything from med/surg to obstetrics. She has been in the OR since 1990.

Hurricane Andrew “blew” them to Georgia, where her husband retired into civilian life and earned a doctorate in higher education. Liz was right behind, earning a master’s in public administration while running a small Air Force operating room. Soon thereafter, they headed to the Air Force Academy in Colorado, with him now following her! In 1999, Liz retired as a major, became a NIFA-educated RNFA and transitioned seamlessly into a position at a city hospital in Colorado Springs. But soon she and her husband decided to return to Florida, this time to care for her ailing parents. “I have a husband who gave up an incredible faculty position at the Air Force Academy so that I could be there with my mom and dad,” she points out, with deep appreciation.

In 2000, Liz taught for NIFA the first time, presenting the six-day SutureStar™ workshop in numerous cities until a combination of factors – the events of 9/11, and her parents’ increasing need for care – forced her to cut back.

A Thirst for Education

But not for long. In 2002, she enrolled in another master’s program, this time for nursing – a longtime goal. Despite the challenges of having both parents die within a year of each other during this period, she graduated in 2004 with her master’s as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Since then, thanks to Dr. Gardner, the orthopedic surgeon she has worked with since 2000, she has developed into an Orthopedic NP with ever-deepening knowledge about the musculoskeletal system.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” she says. “I love it. But when I talked to Dr. Gardner about also teaching occasional courses again for NIFA, he didn’t hesitate for one second. He said, ‘Go for it!’”

Besides being on the student faculty, Liz will start teaching NIFA courses later this month. Welcome back, Liz!