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October 2, 2017

The Heart of Boda Zhaos Practice in Shawano

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Colleagues, Communication (and Climate!)

Boda Zhao is a nurse practitioner at ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano who has the qualifications to be addressed as “Dr. Zhao.” Although not a medical doctor, he holds a doctorate nurse practitioner’s degree from the UW Oshkosh School of Nursing, a degree known as a DNP. “There is a growing national movement for master’s-prepared nurse practitioners to earn their doctorates,” Zhao said. He entered the doctoral program directly after undergraduate school, bypassing the master’s level training and aiming straight for the top-level degree. “The program gives nursing students many more hours of clinical experience and advanced training in clinical research, management and leadership. Our role as nurse practitioners in health care is changing and expanding.”

After having grown up the son of a neurosurgeon in Shenzhen, a vast Chinese city just north of Hong Kong, Zhao was at a crossroads: should he apply to a Chinese university or study abroad in the United States? “When you’re young, you’re not afraid of anything,” he laughed, so he was only 16 when he arrived at UW-Stevens Point in 2007 for his first year of college, far from everyone and everything he had ever known. Shortly thereafter, he was fortunate to meet another Chinese student who would eventually become his wife, Lingfei. As Zhao sought a field of study that would engage him, his physician-father encouraged him to investigate health care. Fast forward 10 years and both Boda and Lingfei are fully committed Wisconsinites with DNP degrees from the UW Oshkosh School of Nursing.

“I fell in love with Oshkosh and the Fox Cities,” Zhao said of his time in college and his clinical rotations at ThedaCare Physicians-Oshkosh. “Where I lived in China, it is like Florida here, more tropical and hot. We love the four seasons here, especially the snow.” Zhao and his wife own a home in Green Bay, where Lingfei works as an urgent care nurse practitioner. Their black lab Kimbo joined the family a short time ago. The couple travels to China to visit family and also hosts visitors in Green Bay. Their extended family enjoys Wisconsin snow skiing, fishing, and farmers markets and has plans for a 2018 camping trip.