BOONE, N.C. — A partnership between Appalachian State University’s Department of Nursing and Ashe Memorial Hospital in Jefferson is allowing undergraduate nursing students at Appalachian to gain on-site, clinical experience in providing basic health care services to patients from underserved rural communities.
Dr. Jean Bernard, assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs in Appalachian’s Department of Nursing, received $10,000 in funding from the North Carolina Area Health Education Center (NC AHEC) program to develop a nursing clinical site at Ashe Memorial. The clinic became operational in September 2018.
“Nursing students who engage in this clinical experience and become acclimated to Ashe Memorial’s culture may well seek an entry-level nursing position in this setting,” Bernard said. “The partnership, therefore, stands to boost the nursing workforce and pave pathways for future employment much needed in this rural area.”
She said a clinical curriculum plan has been created through the partnership that will “broaden undergraduate nursing students’ perspective into the perseverance, resilience and wisdom of rural patients frequently challenged by financial burden and limited access to routine health care.”
Appalachian nursing faculty, clinical staff and members of the interprofessional team provide learning experiences that encourage students to look beyond their misconceptions and develop professional behaviors that strengthen skills of therapeutic communication, basic nursing care, and safety and health promotion for underserved, at-risk populations, she explained.
“Through interaction with professional role models and clients at Ashe Memorial, students will apply classroom theory to bedside nursing care and integrate principles of evidence-based practice,” Bernard added.
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About the Department of Nursing
The Department of Nursing in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences provides an evidence-based nursing education in an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment that is designed to prepare the beginning nursing professional with the knowledge and skills to practice in diverse settings in a highly complex health care system. The department offers two accredited Bachelor of Science programs: the nursing pre-licensure program and the online RN to BSN program, designed for current registered nurses seeking the bachelor’s degree. The department also offers a Master of Science in Nursing program that prepares registered nurses for leadership roles as educators. Learn more at https://nursing.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.