We are proud to announce the completion of the first-ever Appalachian Nursing Academy (ANA). The Academy was made possible through funding from the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
The ANA was created in response to the shortage of nurses and other healthcare-related positions across Eastern Kentucky. Regional healthcare providers, such as Pikeville Medical Center, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, and King’s Daughters Medical Center, provided support for the ANA. More than 120 students from across Eastern Kentucky applied to the ANA. Seventeen students from 12 Eastern Kentucky counties made up the inaugural class. Students were honored during a ceremony on June 24 at the Appalachian Wireless Arena and presented with a $1,500 scholarship to continue their education.
For two weeks, the 17 students were immersed in hands-on learning at the University of Pikeville (UPIKE). Sessions ranged from earning certifications in CPR, First Aid, and Basic Life Support (BLS) to learning basic nursing techniques like injections, putting in IV’s, and watching a live-streamed open-heart surgery.
The shortage of nurses and other healthcare positions is not just an Eastern Kentucky problem, it is a national problem. SOAR created the ANA to provide a local solution, connecting students to the opportunities while in high school with a focus on creating a network of mentors and other services to bring greater attention to the jobs – and training – available locally.
Healthcare is the region’s top employment sector, making up 18% of the region’s economy. By 2024, our region will need nearly 700 registered nurses.
A true collaboration
Pikeville Medical Center, which recently announced that the Galen College of Nursing would open a nursing school on the hospital’s campus, said the Appalachian Nursing Academy is an example of the collaborative approach to tackling this issue in Eastern Kentucky.
“The Appalachian Nursing Academy is a shining example of how a community can come together to prepare our students for a future career in nursing,” said Pikeville Medical Center President and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “This project aligns perfectly with the mission of Project H.E.A.R.T. (Healthcare Employment Around Regional Training), and Pikeville Medical Center is proud to be part of this endeavor. Everyone involved in the Appalachian Nursing Academy is committed to inspiring our high school students and showing them how rewarding a nursing career can be. At the same time, we are working to meet the ever-growing demand for nurses and ensuring we can meet that demand for the years to come.”
The Appalachian Nursing Academy included a collaborative effort with King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) and Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH).
“The King’s Daughters team in Ashland is proud to have supported SOAR’s recent Appalachian Nursing Academy in Pikeville,” said Curtis Metzler, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “We believe the greatest resource for future medical professionals in Kentucky is programs like this one.”
“ARH is excited to have participated in the inaugural Appalachian Nursing Academy,” said Susan Ellis, Chief Nursing Officer at Highlands ARH Medical Center. “With students from 13 counties, SOAR is truly shaping the future of our young people. These individuals will ultimately be quality nurses for our communities.”
We are committed to working alongside healthcare providers from across the region to fill current and future healthcare positions by creating pipelines to education and training and greater awareness through the ANA.
“This is not only about filling much-needed positions for healthcare facilities, this is about the health and wellness of our people and our region,” said Colby Hall, Executive Director of SOAR. “If facilities cannot fill these positions, it will impact our ability to have access to care. It will also impact our economy because these are good-paying jobs going unfilled or being filled by companies filling these positions with people from outside the region. At a larger level, if we cannot fill these good jobs with our own, it only makes the recruitment of new business and industry more difficult.”
We are all-in on filling these jobs
Earlier this year, we hosted the first-ever Healthcare Career Pathway Fair at the Appalachian Wireless Arena. More than 700 high school students were able to learn about exciting careers from Pikeville Medical Center, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, and King’s Daughters Medical Center while being connected to local and regional colleges and universities that provide such training close to home.
We will host our second Healthcare Career Pathway Fair on September 9 in Corbin at the Corbin Arena. For more information on the upcoming Fair, email Kenny Ortiz, CDC Public Health Associate, at email@example.com.