Veronica Lee, DNP, NP, MSN
DNP '12; MSN ‘09 & BSN ‘06
Dr. Veronica Lee is an independent contractor Nurse Practitioner (NP). She has been a Primary Care Provider, Visiting/Home Health Provider, and Medical Examiner in New York State since 2010. She has also been a Private Tutor, Academic Coach, and Writing Consultant since 2002, assisting students in-person and online on health profession courses, research studies, and scholarly writings. Devoted to helping heal sick/injured people, Lee has been a Registered Nurse (RN) since 2004 after serving our communities as a Licensed Practical Nurse for about four years. Prior to her medical/nursing profession, Lee had two successful careers, which she enjoyed at the same time – as a Graphic Designer for 22 years and as a professional Dancer/Instructor for almost 20 years.
In response to her Call post 9/11 Attacks, Lee joined the Military in 2006 and has been serving our country in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Reserve ever since. She has been wearing different hats seamlessly blending Military-Civilian careers, School-Volunteer work, and Professional-Personal life together. “I wish I had a 50-hour clock that allows me to fulfill all of the roles I love,” she says.
“Behind my dreams and ‘success’ is one Man, Louis Mucciaccio,” Dr. Lee adds. “Born and raised in the West (when I was still in the East), Lou became my soul mate since we miraculously met. He is my rock and lighthouse, my right hand and left foot (my best Dance Partner).” She says, “I want to ‘walk the talk’ of the influential leaders and hidden heroes who inspired me.”
A holistic Provider, Dr. Lee actively listens to patients as a vital part of thorough Assessment. A people-oriented practitioner, she focuses on cost-effective preventive care, individualized health education, and impeccable follow-up for actual/potential health issues.
Utilizing her flexible lifestyle, top-notch organizational skills, and military training, Dr. Lee often works with locum tenens agencies to help bridge the gaps in health care especially in underserved areas. A strong patient advocate, she never hesitates to travel at dawn and dusk to manage House Calls regardless of distances and weather or road conditions. “I consider ‘success’ or ‘a good day’ when having made a difference in people’s lives,” she says.
Dr. Lee has stepped up to pioneer tutoring services – as Erie Community College (ECC)’s first and only Nursing Tutor on two campuses for RN students in all levels, 2002-2004; as Daemen College’s first Academic Coach for Master’s/Bachelor’s-level Nursing students, 2010-2011; and later, as a Private Tutor for DNP and NP students as well as other health profession/research students from different colleges/universities. Lee was hand-picked to be the ECC Student Employee of the Year 2003. In addition to receiving numerous compliments from tutees and praises from Faculty/Staff at Daemen College, she was commended in March 2004 by Colonel Walter Gordon, USAFR (ret.) for being “a prolific tutor of nursing in Western New York (WNY).”
Indeed, Dr. Lee is a “rare bird,” earning three degrees from Daemen College she claimed as her “second home” for nearly a decade: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). She always appreciates the Military Friendly School with close student-faculty interaction, helpful staff at all levels, and a state-of-the-art library RIC. “What always stick in my mind is Dr. Diane Ryan’s passion and dedication to students,” Lee recalls. “I always looked forward to learning from Dr. Cheryl Nosek’s pokes with her sharp stick called Constructive Criticism.”
Despite being a non-native English speaker/writer, Dr. Lee never makes excuses but pushes her limits. Lee earned straight A’s from a known “tough grader” Dr. Karl Terryberry; she credits him for being a great professor who turns pebbles into diamonds. She adds, “I never forget Dr. Theresa Joyce’s mentorship and continuous support as well as Dr. Virginia Hart’s thoughtfulness for students. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Amy O’Donnell, M.D. (DNP Capstone Project’s Clinical Chair from Buffalo VA); she has selflessly consumed herself to brighten my lives personally and professionally.”
Since graduation in 2004 with Associate Degree in Nursing from ECC, Lee has served the WNY community as an RN in various settings: nursing facility, assisted living, private homes, and hospitals (ISCU, Stroke, Step-down, Recovery, Orthopedic, Cardiac, Medical, Surgical, Psychiatric, and Long-Term Care units). In late 2000, Lee received the WOWs Recognition-&-Awards from Kaleida Health for 37 times as nominated by her patients. She also received Letter of Appreciation multiple times, being hand-signed by the President of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
Lee earned All-American Scholar Award 2006, was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society 2005, and made the 2004 DEAN’s List. In addition to several other honors, she received one of the highest (NYS) state awards: SUNY’s Chancellor Award for Student Excellence 2004 – for her integration of academic excellence (GPA 3.8-4.0) with accomplishments in leadership (elected Chapter President of Phi Theta Kappa Phi International Honor Student Society), community service (numerous charities), campus involvement (tutoring and volunteered works) as well as career achievement (Nursing). Lee also received a Letter of Congratulation in 2004 for her achievements from the U.S. Senate via Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Constantly challenged by cultural conflicts and resistance from her old-tradition-based family, Lee came a long way to fulfill her “American dreams” – dreams of being what as she wishes to be (Artist/Dancer/Teacher); dreams of doing what she truly enjoys to do (being creative, expressive, and sharing); and, dreams of making seemingly impossible dreams come true (with hope, faith, and love she is living by).
Despite lacking parental/family support, Lee survived her four-year Art program at OCAD University, formerly Ontario College of Art & Design, which is Canada’s largest and oldest art school. She graduated in 1986, specializing in Communication and Design. It took just a few weeks to land her a Graphic Artist job in an advertising firm. Lee rose quickly through the professional ranks of the Art/Design world and earned the Art Production Supervisor position at the Canadian-based Carlton Cards of American Greetings Corporation. Later, she took a chance and devoted to her own HUMMINGBIRD Art Studio for nearly a decade.
Within her years of first profession (Artist), Lee enjoyed her flexible lifestyle which allowed her explore Dancing, primarily Ballroom and Country/Western (C&W) Dance. Since 1992, when she was not trying to finish her art works, she was dancing. Her second dream (Dancer) came true when Lee became an internationally-known Dance Instructor/Choreographer and Performer, specializing in C&W Dance.
“I appreciate all forms of dances; among all, I enjoy C&W Dance most for its Fun-Variety-Friendly-Family nature,” Lee says. “I love Country Music because it is about life, telling stories that have truth in them and are all relatable.”
A professional Dancer and Choreographer, Lee also created some sign-language dances including a special Country Waltz “Amazing Grace” that was choreographed to the original song and later became the signature dance of VICKIE Country Dancers she led for years. At the end of dance shows, the international trio dance team signed (with American Sign Language synchronizing with the lyrics) while kicking up their patriot-design Western boots.
Gradually, Lee danced into her third profession (Teacher) since she received dance/choreography awards and was named “Queen of C&W Dance” in Ontario, Canada in 1994. Lee started MISS VICKIE Country Dance Club with family atmosphere for all ages and with non-alcohol, non-smoking environment even before the Smoking Ban. Lee’s unique ideas later captured the attention of a C&W dance enthusiast from the States … MISS VICKIE Country Dance Studio was born in 1996 at Buffalo, NY, which became WNY’s first and only dance studio specializing in C&W Dances and also providing classes for people with special needs (hearing/visually-impaired and mentally/physically-challenged).
Lee’s advertising and design skills also accounted for the dramatic growth in her C&W Dance business. With classes fully filled seven-day-a-week and all-year-round, she has taught hundreds of C&W dance students ranging from 5-year-old kids to an 102-year-young senior. Amazingly, Lee bumped into the senior dancer at a restaurant in Toronto, Canada when she turned into age 104 and was still “walky” independently.
Besides finding her education roles rewarding as a Dance Instructor and later as a Tutor, Lee says, “I enjoy providing individualized patient/family teaching as a health professional to reinforce patient compliance and self-care.”
A proud American, Lee carried out her desire of "give back" to the Land of the Free and the Brave with providing nursing care for veterans at Buffalo VA Medical Center. Upon BSN graduation, she wasted no time and joined the USAF Reserve as a health profession Officer. Her dynamic roles encompass Medical Technicians Education-and-Training, Unit Historian, Medical Readiness, Nursing In-Service, Immunization, Hearing Conservation, Annual Tours, and other additional duties.
Lee’s military duty locations vary from home-station to out-of-state military medical centers and overseas U.S. military hospital such as in Germany where she worked with Medical/Nurse Corps Officers and Medics to provide combat casualty care. Lee expresses, “Our special bond (among men/women in uniform) is indescribable, regardless of military branch and rank/position. The more I care for the wounded warriors, the more I want to be there for them.”
Lee received an American flag from overseas, which “was flown by request with wounded warriors on a tactical Aeromedical Evacuation mission … on 23 June 2008, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom In Honor of Lt Veronica Lee,” as cited. Lee was also honored with a Certificate of Appreciation from Baghdad Hospital, Iraq in 2010 with citation: “This mission would not be possible without your faithful support to our nation and to the United States Armed Forces.” The certificate was signed by Captain Joshua Imme (USAF Aircraft Commander) and Captain Kathy Martin (USAF Aeromedical Evacuation Flight Nurse). Lee was humbled by Colonel Renata T. Sierzega, USAFR (ret.)’s delivery of the Flag and the Letter upon safe return from deployment.
“I am so proud of the Daemen Student Veterans Alliance (SVA)’s President (and Founder) Frank Grillo, US Army Combat Veteran, and all those who help build the special organization. I have enjoyed SVA events since those “Listening Circle” evenings in 2011,” Lee says. “I am inspired by the leadership of the Center for Veterans and Veteran Family Services’ directors: formerly, Dr. Patrick Welch, USMC (ret.) and currently, Colonel Walter Gordon, USAFR (ret.).” She expresses her sincerest gratitude for their compliments addressed to her Unit Commander:
“Captain Lee remains a force at Daemen … continues to set a terrific example for the students … She supports all the Veterans programs sponsored by my office, the Daemen Veterans Resource Center … “Another cited, “(Captain Lee) always willing to offer her assistance and had an excellent rapport … She has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, can work independently and is able to follow through to ensure that the job gets done.”
Lee adds, “I feel honored to be the third Inductee of the Daemen Veterans Hall of Fame following Lieutenant Colonel Patrick E. Perretta (USAF Reserve) and Major Kevin Joseph Klostermann (USMC Reserve). They are my inspiration.”
It seems like it was only yesterday Dr. Mary Lou Rusin (Nursing Department Chair) commended Lee in 2005 to the USAF for being “highly motivated, energetic … attention to detail, good communication skills, and a professional demeanor …” Lee says, “I never forget her voice injecting confidence for my future: ‘Veronica will succeed at anything she sets out to do.’”
Born and raised in (British) Hong Kong, Dr. Lee became an American Citizen in 2000 after being a Canadian Citizen for nine years. Lee admits that she did experience with cultural shock within her early years after landing in North America. “I lived and survived. As time went on, I started to appreciate the fact that I was not alone and never will,” she says. “I learn to ‘ride it out’ my roller-coaster journey and to count God’s blessings everyday.”
“Just believe, and put all of our heart into what you want to achieve.” – Dr. Veronica Lee, Doctor of Nursing Practice