Meet Rita Dundon, Nurse Practitioner
Rita M. Dundon, MSN, CRNP, is a nurse practitioner with Einstein Physicians Plymouth Meeting Family Medicine and Einstein Physicians North Wales Family Medicine. She is board certified as an Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). She received a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a nurse practitioner certification from Jefferson University.
We spoke with her recently about her career, her interests, and being a nurse practitioner with Einstein Healthcare Network.
Q: Why did you become a nurse and then continue your career as a nurse practitioner?
A: I always felt a calling to nursing, but due to life circumstances, I put nursing on hold. When I was pregnant with my second son, I found out I had developed gestational diabetes. My OBGYN doctor referred me to an endocrinologist who prescribed a week-long outpatient diabetes education program done right at the old Montgomery Hospital, where I learned to inject myself with insulin. Learning about how to manage insulin-dependent diabetes further piqued my interest in a nursing career.
My gestational diabetes subsided after the baby was born. However, several years later I was faced with the new development of my first son being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Having the prior knowledge and experience of diabetes management was very helpful in managing our son’s diabetes. I’m happy to say both sons are happy, healthy adults now.
Q: Tell us about your education background
A: I found myself finally pursuing this calling to nursing in my 30s. After completing an associate’s degree in nursing from Montgomery County Community College, I began a nursing job with Montgomery Hospital. They were offering a new RN mentorship program. I worked on medical-surgical, orthopedic and telemetry floors for three years. While working there, I was able to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Immaculata University.
Then, when I was working in an outpatient office at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. I absolutely loved it! It was very invigorating being within the academic setting at Penn. I had contemplated taking the nurse practitioner track; however, it didn’t really work with my work schedule at that time, so I pursued the health leadership and education track.
Q: Why did you choose your specialty?
A: I’ve always loved the role of the nurse practitioner (NP). I admired them even prior to becoming a nurse, when taking my children to various doctors’ appointments, and while working over the years with nurse practitioners. I decided to become one myself after working as a nurse for about 11 years. I found I was continuing to feel a calling to continue my education and to pursue the NP certification. I loved the role and longed for more knowledge to share with my patients in a different capacity. I found I just kept leaning into it.
I love working with adults and the elderly, in particular. So I enrolled in Thomas Jefferson University’s post-master’s certificate program in Primary Care Adult/Gerontology. Because I much prefer working in an outpatient setting, I chose primary care rather than acute (inpatient) care.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: After graduating, I was having trouble finding the right NP position until one day I received an email from Einstein Medical Center Montgomery saying that they were recruiting for a new NP mentorship program. I applied immediately and attended this “speed-dating” type of interview process where many candidates were interviewed simultaneously. We rotated among the recruiting tables with different providers who were seeking nurse practitioners.
When I met Dr. Jennifer McCarthy, we clicked immediately. After further consideration, I was offered a position at Plymouth Meeting Family Practice with Dr. McCarthy as my mentor. I have been seeing patients at Einstein Physicians Family Medicine practices in Montgomery County since 2019. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and everything I learned during my three-month mentorship period.
Q: What are your clinical interests?
A: My clinical interests include diabetes education, of course, prevention of chronic health conditions, and reversal of chronic disease. For several years, I have been researching and educating myself on whole-food, plant-based nutrition and its role in improving chronic health problems. I have been incorporating this style of eating within my own diet because of having learned of all its health benefits. I love discussing what I have learned about plant-based nutrition with my patients.
Q: Why should people choose Einstein for their care?
A: People should choose Einstein Medical Center Montgomery for its caring, community-like atmosphere, where very dedicated, longstanding staff work together to provide outstanding care to their patients. It feels like family here and will always be a part of me.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: My interests include reading nonfiction, especially about nutrition; cuddling with my two 80-pound Labrador retrievers, who think they are lap dogs; hanging out with our baby grandson, Jack, who is just so adorable; and relaxing on the beach in Brigantine, NJ, with my husband.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: My favorite book is The China Study, about a comprehensive study on nutrition, weight loss and health.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: My favorite movie is Nights in Rodanthe, starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere.
Q: What was your favorite vacation?
A: My favorite vacation was one we took in 2019; it was a cruise in Alaska. It was absolutely beautiful! I would love to get back there someday.
Q: Is there something that others may not know about you?
A: What most people may not know about me is that I love to dance!
Find out more about primary care at Einstein.