Deborah King, PhD, MS, RN


  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Experience in clinical psychology
  • Board-certified in clinical nurse specialist practice, emergency, critical care, and community health nursing


Deborah King, PhD, MS, RN, is a former writer for Verywell Health covering diagnoses. She is a clinical nurse specialist who has over 35 years of experience in a variety of settings, empowering individuals to be their own best advocates through education, informed decision making, and communication with their health care providers. She has worked in hospital, community, and private practice settings, supporting individuals through acute and chronic illness, health behavior change, and decision making across the spectrum of health and wellness. Assisting individuals to navigate through the maze of health care systems and options has been her focus since very early in her nursing career.

Dr. King has extensive experience in both nursing and clinical psychology, and she has held professional titles in clinical practice, health care management, research, and nursing education. Building on her many years of nursing experience, she specializes in using a holistic approach to empower individuals to advocate for their best health in mind, body, and spirit. Her approach is integrative and collaborative. She has served as an expert health consultant to various organizations and boards in her community, and incorporates her model of patient empowerment in her role as a nurse educator. Her own experiences as a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest, family caregiver, and parent of a child with autism serve to provide an ongoing, personal perspective on the vital relationship between patient empowerment and health.


Dr. King received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing (1976), her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (1980) (Clinical Nurse Specialist), and her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2005). She completed her predoctoral internship at Johns Hopkins University, and her dissertation research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). She has held board certifications in several clinical areas including clinical nurse specialist practice, emergency, critical care, and community health nursing. Dr. King has published for both professional and consumer audiences, and has received training in mediation, restorative dialogue, and critical incident stress debriefing. She has been an invited speaker on a variety of health care topics.

A Word From Deborah King, PhD, MS, RN

As a nurse and health counselor, I have always had a passion for helping people “demystify” medical jargon, diagnostic labels, the maze of the health care system, and the many options available in making treatment decisions. In recognizing your own expertise, freedom of choice, and autonomy, you are empowered to make better health care choices for yourself and with those that you may be caring or advocating for. I promise to offer you the same type of quality information, news, and insights that have helped me in my own journey as a patient, professional patient advocate, and family caregiver. I have helped countless patients to "take charge" of their health, and my goal is to help you to do the same. Remember, patient empowerment is about your life, your health, and your choices.

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