King graduates serving as leaders with Ballad Health

Published 2:19 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Throughout Ballad Health’s service region, graduates of King University’s nursing program are serving in leadership positions, including as chief nursing officers (CNO) and hospital administrators.

The group includes alumni who received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University. Their advancement in the health system demonstrates the excellence of King’s School of Nursing, according to Dean Donna Fraysier, DNP, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC.

“I think it speaks to the quality of our program,” Fraysier said. “We prepare nurses to be leaders at all levels — from the bedside and beyond.”

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The connection between King’s nursing students and Ballad begins long before graduation, thanks to a beneficial partnership between the University and the health system.

“Ballad and King are partners in nursing education,” Fraysier said. “Our students complete clinical hours in Ballad facilities, and the system provides an opportunity for our graduates to live and practice here at home.”

King alumni making an impact in leadership positions include:

• Adnan Brka, ’11, serves as the CNO and vice president at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport. His responsibilities involve all nursing practices, including patient care and transfers, staffing, and quality management. He holds a bachelor’s degree from King and a master’s degree from Western Governors University.

• Alison Johnson, ’13, works as the CNO of Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City. Before her tenure as CNO, she served as director of critical care and led the hospital’s critical care stepdown and respiratory therapy departments. She holds degrees in nursing and business management from East Tennessee State University and a master’s degree from King.

• Greta Morrison, ’10, is an assistant vice president, administrator, and CNO at Russell County Hospital in Lebanon, Va. She holds a master’s degree in nursing administration, a master’s in business administration, and a bachelor’s degree from King.

• Stephanie Rhoton, ’18, began her tenure as an associate administrator and CNO at Indian Path Community Hospital in Kingsport in January 2022. In this role she manages nursing staff, monitors patient care quality, and ensures compliance with safety and regulatory standards. Rhoton has also served as the director of patient care services at both Indian Path Community Hospital and Holston Valley Medical Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from King.

• Melanie Stanton, ’06, has served as the CEO of Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City since November 2019. Prior to that, she worked as Ballad Health’s vice president of quality improvement. Stanton has more than two decades of experience and began her career as a staff nurse at Johnson City Medical Center. Stanton holds a master’s degree in business administration from King, as well as bachelor’s degrees in business administration and nursing from East Tennessee State University.

• Nikki Vanburen, ’10, now serves as the CNO at Franklin Woods Community Hospital and Woodridge Hospital in Johnson City. She previously served as CNO at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va. Vanburen earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from East Tennessee State University and her master’s degree in nursing from King.

• Melissa Whited, ’17, is an associate administrator and CNO at Johnston Memorial Hospital. She began her career as a registered nurse at the facility and previously served as the corporate director of clinical staffing support for Ballad Health’s float pool. She earned both her bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nursing administration from King.

Fraysier notes that numerous additional King alumni serve as leaders and nurses throughout Ballad Health.

“We provide a welcoming environment for students to learn the skills required to become a nurse or to advance their nursing education,” Fraysier said. “Our smaller class sizes allow for a more personalized experience, and our faculty go the extra mile to help students achieve success.”