Department of Nursing and Health Professions

Dr. Denise Baxter


  • Ed.D., Higher Ed Admin, Vanderbilt University
  • M.S., Primary Care: Family, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • B.S., Nursing, Boston College


  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Failure to Thrive
  • Maternal & Child Health
  • Curriculum Development


Dr. Baxter has been a nurse for thirty-six years. She has been teaching for twenty-nine years. She began her nursing career in pediatrics for a few months and then entered the military (army nurse corps) for eight years. Dr. Baxter worked in a variety of areas in nursing, although her first love has always been maternal-child health. She started teaching in an LPN program and found that she loved teaching. She taught a variety of courses there and then moved to teaching in an Associate Degree program at Rivier, where she taught Maternal-Child Health, Adult Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Trends and Issues in Nursing. Dr. Baxter is currently teaching in the Baccalaureate and Master’s degree programs at Rivier.

In addition, Dr. Baxter is a Family Nurse Practitioner in Lowell where she helped establish a Growth & Nutrition Clinic sponsored by the MA Department of Public Health for children with various growth issues such as Failure to Thrive. She also worked as an RN on a Family Birth Unit for many years.

Academic Philosophy

“I believe the role of the teacher is that of a facilitator of learning. I believe the educator plays a crucial role in the learning process by (a) assessing the learning needs of students, (b) providing appropriate information and presenting it in unique ways, (c) identifying progress being made and giving feedback and follow-up, (d) reinforcing learning in the acquisition of knowledge, the performance of a skill, or a change in attitude, and (e) evaluating learner’s abilities. I believe the educator is vital in giving support, encouragement, and direction during the process of learning. The educator helps identify optimal learning approaches and then provides assistance in choosing learning activities that both support and challenge the learner, based on individual learning needs, readiness to learn, and learning style”.

Recent Publications and Proceedings

  • Empathy: Its Role in Nursing Burnout. UMI Dissertation Service, Ann Arbor, MI. (1992)