Directory Profile

Catherine Van Son

Catherine Van Son

Interim MN Program DirectorProfessor VLIB 210M 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686

Catherine Van Son is a faculty member at Washington State University and an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, School of Nursing. Her doctoral work was supported by institutional and individual pre-doctoral fellowships from the National Institute of Nursing Research. In 2011 she was awarded one of seven competitive post-doctoral Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity fellowships from the John A. Hartford Foundation. Her clinical experience spans over 30 years and includes the continuum of community-based care: long-term care, assisted living, PACE model care settings, home health, hospice, and congregational health. As part of the faculty at WSU, she teaches gerontological nursing for the undergraduate program and nursing education courses for graduate (MSN/PhD) students and recently worked with the first cohort of DNP student on their transformational projects. She serves on the College of Nursing’s Global Perspectives Committee. Her research focuses on ethnogeriatrics and the challenges late-in-life immigrants face managing their chronic health conditions. These challenges include issues related to cultural beliefs and behaviors, health literacy, ethnomedicine, dietary practices, and health status monitoring. She primarily uses qualitative methods such as ethnography (participant observation and interviews) along with focus groups for data collection.


  • PhD, Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland, OR
  • MSN, Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland, OR
  • BSN, University of Colorado, Denver, CO



Gerontology, managing chronic conditions, qualitative methods, late-in-life migration, health literacy, gero-education


  • American Geriatrics Society, 2011-present
  • Gerontological Society of America, 2001-Present
  • Western Institute of Nursing 2001-Present
  • Sigma Theta Tau International 1986-Present


  • First Hartford Foundation/Oregon Health & Sciences University Hartford Center Regional Geriatric Nursing Education Award—Western Institute of Nursing, 2012
  • JAHF/Atlantic Philantropies Claire M. Fagin Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2011-2013
  • Hartford Institute Geriatric Nursing Research Summer Scholar, 2008
  • Carol Lindeman Award for New Researcher-Western Institute of Nursing, 2007


Kritchbaum, K., Wyman, J., Van Son, C., & Kaas, M. Facilitated Learning to Advance Geriatrics: Faculty development to improve teaching effectiveness by actively engaging students in learning about older adults. The Gerontologist. (in press)

Van Son, C.R., & Stasyuk, O. (2014, Mar-Apr). Older immigrants from the former Soviet Union and their use of complementary and alternative medicine. Geriatric Nursing; 35, (2 Suppl):S45-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2014.02.019

Van Son, C.R. (2014). Developing culturally targeted diabetes educational materials for older Russian-speaking immigrants. The Diabetes Educator. Mar 25; 40 (4):418-426. doi: 10.1177/0145721714528247

Vines, M., Dupler, A.E., Van Son, C., & Guido, V. (2014). Improving client and nurse satisfaction through utilization of bedside report. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 30(4), 166-173. doi: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000057

Van Son, C.R. (2013). Relying on what they know: Older Slavic émigrés managing chronic conditions. Qualitative Health Research, 23(12), 1660 – 1671. doi: 10.1177/1049732313508842

Van Son, C.R., & Fitzgerald, C. (2012). The sensory kit: Teaching about sensory changes in older adults. Nursing Education Perspectives, 33(2), 201-203.

Northrup-Snyder, K., Van Son, C.R. & McDaniel, C. (2011). Thinking beyond “the wheelchair to the car”: RN/BS student’s understanding of community/public health nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 50(4), 226-9.

Purath, J., Van Son, C., & Corbett, C. (2011). Physical activity: Exploring views of older Russian-speaking Slavic Immigrants. Nursing Research and Practice. Doi:10.1155/2011/507829.

Van Son, C. & Nielsen, H.J. (2010, December). Mindre medicin, mere paedagogik [Less medicine, more education]. Dement & Voldsom [Dementia & Violence]. Copenhagen, Denmark.

Miller, L., Van Son, C., Cartwright, J. & Allen, T. (2010). Enhancing the capacity to teach gerontological nursing: A faculty development project. Journal of Continuing Nursing Education. 41(5): 211-216.

Schoessler, M.T., Van Son, C., Overall, J.W., Koleva, Y., Ostrovskaya, I., Marriott, D. & Surma, M. (2009). Healthcare workforce development through an international workshop series. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development 25 (2): 64-69.

Van Son, C., Schoessler, M., Overall, J., & Ostrovskaya, I. (2010). Ðóññêèé-àìåðèêàíñêèé ñåìèíàðû ïî óõîäó çà ïîæèëûìè ëþäüìè (Russian-American seminars on geriatric nursing). Ìåäèöèíñêàÿ ñåñòðà [Russian Nursing], 11(3), 41-43.