As a 4-year-old with severe asthma, Cheryl Meguid, DNP, MBA, formed a special bond with the nurses who took care of her in the hospital as she lay, isolated, in a special heated tent.
It was a bond so special that Meguid knew even then that she would grow up to be a nurse.
“I have no family members in the medical field, but when I was in high school, I applied early to college for nursing,” says Meguid, now a nurse practitioner in charge of the multidisciplinary oncology clinics for the University of Colorado Department of Surgery. “I went to Towson University in Maryland, which had a great nursing program. You could work at Johns Hopkins as a nursing student, then be guaranteed to be hired as a nurse once you finished nursing school. I worked weekends to start, and I was placed randomly on the surgical oncology floor. I loved it right away.”
Becoming an NP and joining the CU team
Meguid went on to become a nurse practitioner and eventually joined the team of Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, who was then chief of surgical oncology at Johns Hopkins. When Schulick came to the University of Colorado School of Medicine to become chair of the CU Department of Surgery, Meguid and her husband, cardiothoracic surgery professor Robert Meguid, MD, MPH, soon followed.
“Dr. Schulick already knew my work ethic, and he totally trusted me to build these multidisciplinary clinics. It's literally a dream job,” Cheryl Meguid says. “I have the best team and a lot of support, and it's been a really wonderful career so far.
Meguid, rear, with her team in the pancreas and biliary cancer multidisciplinary clinic.
“I love that I can do a lot,” she continues. “I can do everything a surgeon can do, except operate. I like the autonomy to be able to talk to patients about their disease type and enter orders for them. I make decisions: I tell the surgeons where and when to show up and when they’re going to operate. It’s really satisfying that I can make these high-level decisions and get patients treated very quickly.”
The faculty track
When she arrived in Colorado 11 years ago, Meguid also was happy to learn that the CU School of Medicine is one of just a handful of medical schools in the country that allows advanced practice providers (APPs) — a blanket term for nurse practitioners and physician assistants — to join the ranks of faculty. She quickly began to explore that path as well, publishing research, teaching classes, and leading quality improvement projects. In July, she will become the first APP in the CU School of Medicine to become a full professor.
“One of my big selling points, when I talk to APPs who are interested in coming here, is that this is a really great opportunity for APPs who are interested in doing research, quality improvement projects, and teaching, and get the credit for it,” she says.
As passionate as she is about her own academic journey, Meguid also is passionate about helping other APPs move through the ranks, which is why she recently took on a new role: associate vice chair of faculty affairs for APPs. In this position, her primary role is to work with Joseph Cleveland Jr., MD, vice chair of faculty affairs, on the annual promotion process for APPs that helps them advance in the department and upgrade their titles.
“I'm also hoping to work with our HR department to create a mentorship program for APPs,” she says. “I currently mentor many APPs for promotion inside and outside of the department, helping them spice up their CV and things like that. It’s great that APPs have the ability to be promoted here, and it’s inspiring to be in the middle of that and help others reach success.”