Catherine Tanner DNP, APRN, FNPC

Catherine Tanner

Department Chair Co-Director of the FNP Program DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Programs and Courses Taught

MSN Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Online, DNP/ FNP Program

I teach didactic courses and clinicals in both the ELMSN and online FNP programs.
Professional Role Advocacy, Family Center Advanced Practice Nursing, Advanced Physical Assessment, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Care of Acute & Episodic Conditions, Care of Chronic and complex conditions and all 3 clinical levels.

About Me

I have been a practicing APRN in Family Practice since 2006. I like emphasizing prevention with my patients and I see all age groups in my practice, including women’s health. I have been teaching with SMU since 2007 part –time and currently full time faculty since 2015. I completed my DNP at SMU in 2019.  In my spare time, I like to hike, paddle board and garden. I head to the Sierras twice a year to sleep late and take in nature. I enjoy books in which I can learn something. I enjoy quiet time with friends, family and my cat. I was a studio art minor back in the day so I enjoy being crafty and creative. I love seeing live music and community theater. I still love learning and attend CME conferences as able.


I graduated from Samuel Merritt College in 2006 with an MSN FNP and have been primarily working in Primary Care community health setting and the under-served populations within Contra Costa and Solano Counties. I also worked with University Health Services Primary Care at UC Berkeley from 2012 to 2020, affording me experiences in the sub-specialty of adolescent health. My clinical experiences through Faculty Practice site include Primary Care Family Practice and Internal Medicine.
For the 10 years prior to nursing school, I practiced as an Occupational Therapist in Acute/ sub-acute and long –term care rehab, having graduated from SJSU in 1996.
I completed my DNP at SMU in 2019 a with a focus on practice policy and my project was called "College Health HPV Immunization Program (CHHIP): Increasing Human Papillomavirus immunizations in the 19-26 yo through a social media campaign”. 

Teaching Interests

I enjoy sharing with students not just the medicine parts of practice like DM and HTN, but the seemingly obscure, benign complaints that we commonly see, like normal aging and decline. Seeing the patinet as a whole person over a timeline. Such an opportunity for patient education!

I believe teaching is about building a knowledge base along with the utilization of resources so that a novice NP can manage anything that they see in clinic.
I love mentoring students and networking with them to improve current practice and establish opportunities for the future.

I have a strong background in Ortho stemming from my OT background and enjoy teaching it clinically.

Scholarly Interests

Inter-professional community activities with students
Increasing community access to health knowledge and care

Hearing screening in adults- or lack there of. This would be a good DNP  project!

Why are so many SMU faculty SMU alumni?


Contributor/ Editor for Clinical Guidelines for APP, 4th Ed. June, 2024.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

California Association of Nurse Practitioners -CANP
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners - AANP
Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society
Samuel Merritt College Alumni Association
San Jose State University Alumni Association

Community Service

I am an active leader in the community service area with FNP students. Prior to pandemic I traveled with FNP students to San Ysidro with the Podiatry students for an inter-professional experience screening and treating adults at the border without health insurance. I have participate with FNP students in the Allen Temple Health Fair, where advanced NP students provide pre-sport participation physicals and health checks to the Oakland community every August. I participate with SMU at the Special Olympics twice a year providing Health Promotion to athletes.

During COVID pandemic shutdown myself and 2 other FNP faculty created a pop up clinic in an Operation Safer Ground hotel in Union City. We, with 12 FNP students spent 3 days/ wk for 5 + months working with nearly 120 clients in getting PCPs and appointments, getting medications, assessing acute conditions and managements chronic conditions. 

I have been active in the local CANP chapter since 2027.  A board member nearly continuously; President from 2010-2013 and am currently back on the board as Co-Secretary.

Honors & Awards

2023 - Strommen Dillashaw award recipient

2005 & 2018 - Samuel Merritt College, Sigma Theta Tau 
1996 - San Jose State University, Cum Laude