Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement holds seminar

Published 11:03 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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The Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement wrapped up a two-day summit on Friday that brought together key state and regional stakeholders to discuss and plan ways to strengthen the nursing pipeline across the region and the state.
“The summit was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our vision and hear from key stakeholders as we refine our plan for the future,” said Dr. Holly Wei, interim director for the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement and interim executive associate dean and chief nursing administrator with the ETSU College of Nursing.
“I hope everyone left here today feeling energized and excited about what the next year will hold for us,” said Wei. “With broad support for our mission from people locally and in Nashville, we know the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement can make a real difference for our nurses, both current and future.”
The Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement was created in October 2021 thanks to a generous investment from Ballad Health to create a center dedicated to bringing the region’s academic nursing, clinical nursing and school systems together to increase the pipeline of opportunity and augment the supply of nurses and nursing support in the Appalachian Highlands.
The ETSU Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement serves the region and the state of Tennessee by collecting and disseminating data and developing a strategic statewide plan to address nursing workforce needs.
“We are really proud of the work of this center,” said ETSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle. “We are honored to have this partnership with Ballad Health to house the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement, and to host this gathering of nursing professionals.
“As part of the mission of this center, we are absolutely dedicated and focused on working with our partners across the region and state to address the challenges in the nursing workforce,” McCorkle said.
Attendees represented a wide variety of organizations and interests, including East Tennessee State University, Ballad Health, the Tennessee Nurses Association, the Tennessee Board of Nursing, the Tennessee Hospital Association and the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.
“We were so pleased to collaborate with our colleagues and examine opportunities and possibilities for the Center for Nursing Advancement in the future,” said Dr. Lisa Smithgall, Ballad Health’s chief nursing executive.
“Coming together and sharing our expertise, ideas and goals gives us more momentum to enhance nursing in Tennessee and, with it, the future of healthcare in our region.”
Staff from the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement presented an update on the center’s efforts over the last year and worked with attendees to identify priorities, plans for further data collection and future meetings.
“The Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement is poised to play a significant role in determining ways we can better strengthen the nursing pipeline in this region and beyond,” said Dr. Debbie Byrd, interim dean for the ETSU College of Nursing and dean of the ETSU Bill Gatton College Pharmacy. “By bringing together key stakeholders over the last two days, we were able to explore new ideas and refine plans for the future – plans we can use to not only attract new nurses to the field, but ones we can also use to better support our current nursing workforce.”

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