Carissa Arens

Associate Professor of Practice
  • School of Nursing
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(617) 521-2516

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  • University of Cincinnati, Master of Science in Nursing
  • Excelsior College, BSN, ASN


  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse

About Me

I am a recent transplant from central Minnesota, where my four grown children still reside. Over the last several years, I took up teaching myself construction skills and built two bathrooms in my house, and also added an apartment with a kitchen in my basement for my daughter. Trees are my favorite things in the world; I have planted many trees and bushes in the last few years. I enjoy running and figure skating, Japanese anime and Chinese dramas, science fiction, and music.

Area of Expertise

  • Nursing critical care (NICU, ICU, ER)
  • Medical care in convenience and telehealth settings
  • Salutogenesis

What I Teach

Starting in Fall '21, I am teaching Complex Nursing Care Management Across the Continuum and Medical Surgical Nursing I in the undergraduate nursing program. I have been teaching Clinical Decision Making with [email protected] for five years, and hope to stay active in that role.

Community Engagement

I can't wait to get involved! I hope to be a student advisor, a 'first-generation' mentor, and to get increasingly immersed in our community at Simmons and in Boston. I am the newly-appointed VP at Simmons for our Sigma chapter and hope to organize some community events (I am looking for ideas!).

Research/Special Projects

I am fascinated by evidence-based research and the concept of 'salutogenesis,' or the scholarly investigation of why people move toward a pole of health or disease. I am a stalwart patient and student advocate, and a proponent of health empowerment through knowledge and also of non-capitalistic health care.


Arens, C.A., White, T.L., & Massengill, N. (2014). Attitudinal factors protective against youth smoking: An integrative review. Journal of Nursing Scholarship (46)3, 167-175

“The Role of Salutogenesis in Improving Quality of Life Worldwide.” World Congress on Nursing and HealthCare, Cenetri Publishing Group; Copenhagen, Denmark, June 4-5, 2018

Toward Better Help from Health Care, November, 2020, Education

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • The American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Sigma Theta Tau International


  • Ruth V. Matheney Memorial Award (for academic excellence)
    Excelsior College, 2011
  • Magna Cum Laude, Excelsior College, 2010
  • National Merit Scholarship Honorable Mention, 1987