Mary Susan Moss

Susan’s first career was teaching English and Spanish to high school students.  Although her grandmothers and her mom were nurses, she had resisted the career, then decided to explore health care projects through the Peace Corps.  She determined “This is what I want,” and set about obtaining her nursing degree.  Susan joined Duke in 2013 as an oncology nurse and has now combined her teaching and nursing skills to be our health system’s expert in Patient Education.  She is dedicated to and coaches others in best practices for health education and health literacy.  And, since she is fluent in Spanish, Susan has been vital in addressing needs specific to our Spanish-speaking populations.


This nurse lives the Duke Values every day in every interaction as a Clinical Nurse Educator.  Her integrity is found with her perseverance in helping the clinical team find the right resources to teach their patients.  Often this means advocating for what’s right for the patient and not “who’s right,” by sharing alternative ways of communicating messages using plain language and action-oriented statements with icons to promote understandability of the message.  In her patient education role, this may mean searching for the best illustration to communicate a critical message, or seeking the owner of the content to provide proper credits.  This nurse works tirelessly to translate complex medical documents into a format that enables the patient to find, understand and use the information and services to continue their care.  Once the material is developed, this nurse interacts with Duke Health Technology Solutions (DHTS) to have the resource available in MaestroCare for easy access among the DUHS team.


This bilingual nurse who taught high school English and Spanish prior to entering the nursing profession displays excellence in many forms, including but not limited to mentoring; presenting at local, regional and national meetings; and volunteering in the community.  Mentorship may be a virtual call to demonstrate how to locate resources, or assisting bedside nurses in using teach-back as the tool for promoting patient education.  This expert Clinical Nurse Educator is currently pursuing her national health literacy certification, which was just released Fall 2021.  In August 2021, this talented Duke Nurse was invited to join the Institute of Healthcare Advancement’s panel of health literacy experts.  She introduces best practices from national conferences back to DUHS at the monthly Patient Education Governance Council meetings.  An example is the adoption of best practices for infographics using a single image for each direction given to patients.


This nurse consistently looks for new ways to meet patient and family education needs.  During the pandemic, education delivery methods changed dramatically.  She was integral in helping to create materials for online delivery, as well as partnering with the digital strategies office to bring patient education directly into our patients’ homes.  This time also brought a need for increased video education.  She helped develop new videos, as well as bundle existing videos for specific populations and diseases.  Most notably, she began to create QR code sheets specific to disease process, incorporating different aspects of care that were important for patients and caregivers to learn.  This way, patients could access the information whether or not they had a MyChart account (which is a requirement for Digital Strategies delivery) by using their phone.  This avenue was able to reach a majority of every population and recognized extensively for its success, especially in our diabetic and hypertension populations.  The engagement and satisfaction from the hypertension providers and patients improved so significantly that the team hopes to publish these results in the near future so that others can benefit from the method she championed.


Collaboration is integral to this nurse’s practice.  She engages with the teams she supports on a daily basis, offering assistance and expertise consistently.  She reaches across departments and entities to engage additional multidisciplinary support for teams, when needed.  Most importantly, she engages patients and families in the process for development of patient and family education.  She works closely with Patient Advisory Council members and staff to make sure that the patient voice is incorporated into Duke Health education.  She serves as an active member of the DUHS Patient Education Governance Council, engaging administrators, clinicians from a variety of disciplines, community members, educators, patients, and families to review, edit, and approve all patient education for Duke Health.


When Dr. Swanson was thinking of her Theory of Caring, I believe she was envisioning a nurse such as this applicant.  Even though the demands of her role are exhausting, this nurse is often thinking of others.  During the early phases of the pandemic, this nurse was actively assisting with PPE training.  She later challenged the larger work team to adopt a unit to show that we CARED for them.  In a few weeks, this nurse led the effort of assembling and packing “care bags” for ED staff at the three hospitals.  A few months later, she led another project of assembling hundreds of care bags for the COVID units at the three hospitals.  This nurse was one of the first nurses to provide COVID-19 vaccines, and was instrumental in assisting with the employee and community vaccine clinics.  Outside of her normal work activities, this amazing nurse volunteers each month to assist with a community health clinic sponsored by her undergraduate school.


This nurse has been integral in expertly transforming patient and family education and mentoring others during rapidly changing times, environments, and disease processes, to meet unique physical and emotional needs; all while adhering to the highest standards in nursing and clinical practice as a whole.

FON Photos edited x Moss

Mary Susan Moss


Clinical Nurse Educator – Patient Education

Department of Clinical Education & Professional Development

Duke University Health System


Watson Family Award for Excellence in Patient and Family Education



Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021