Assistant Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Evelyn Brewer to participate in discussion panel about the future of nursing

The May School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Lees-McRae will be part of a virtual discussion panel on Thursday, Feb. 17. The panel, titled “Future of Nursing: Resetting Rural Nursing for the Future,” will take place from 7–9 p.m. that evening.

The panel will dissect the new “Future of Nursing 2020–2030” report—which compiles data and information to make recommendations for the next 10 years of nursing—and discuss these recommendations through a rural lens. The report builds upon its 2010 predecessor of the same name.

“The National Academy of Science is sponsoring this new report, which carries over some recommendations from the previous report in terms of nursing education and practice, but is more inclusive of what we’re seeing with social determinants of health, health equity, and the influences those two factors have on health outcomes,” Interim Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Claire Cline said.

The panel is made up of five experts who specialize in rural nursing and have experience working in Appalachia, including the college’s own Assistant Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Evelyn Brewer. All panelists are part of the Appalachian Regional Tristate Chapter (ARTS), the local chapter of the Rural Nurse Organization.

The Rural Nurse Organization is a national organization that seeks to provide resources and support for rural nurses all over the country. ARTS, which was formed in 2019, will be hosting the panel, and encouraging the nurses and nursing students who are attending the event to join the organization. Cline is the chapter’s secretary.

“One of our goals as part of this organization is to support and advocate for nurses who work in rural settings, and to recognize that rural nursing really is a specialty,” Cline said. “We have unique challenges and opportunities in a rural setting.”

According to Cline, challenges in rural nursing range from less funding to fewer resources than other regions. These are important concerns for Cline and the other academic staff at the May School, as Lees-McRae is in a rural area and is in a town with a relatively small population.

“The community setting is quite significant, and when you start comparing urban settings with rural settings those social determinants of health really come into play,” Cline said. “At one time in Watauga County the poverty rate was closing in on 30%. Socio-economic levels and education levels contribute to the health of the population, and rural nurses have those social determinants that they’re facing every day.”

The panel is geared toward nursing students and practicing nurses in the area. Nursing students and staff from Lees-McRae, Appalachian State University, and East Tennessee State University have been invited to attend. If you wish to attend the virtual panel you can preregister here.

This is a valuable opportunity for nurses and future nurses to stay on the cutting edge of healthcare research and development and become part of ARTS, an organization that strives to provide much needed support for rural nurses.

“Individual nurses who join ARTS receive support, advocacy, up-to-date information about rural nursing, and continued education,” Cline said. “We want to help them provide quality and accessible healthcare in their rural communities.”

By Maya JarrellFebruary 15, 2022