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Addressing the Importance of Quality Healthcare in Eastern Kentucky

Dr. Audria Denker

Galen College of Nursing’ Executive VP of Prelicensure Nursing Dr. Audria Denker RN, MSN, DNP, discussed the quality of healthcare and the importance of Galen’s Hazard campus in Eastern Kentucky. She was one of four panelists who addressed the exodus of nurses in the region during the 2019 Eastern Kentucky Leadership Foundation’s conference held recently at Southeast Kentucky Community Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky.

The biggest concern is the quality of nursing in Eastern Kentucky as hospitals staff their facilities with traveling nurses who come in for just 13 weeks to work and then leave, Dr. Denker said.

“They’re temps,” she said. “A temporary nurse is not going to care at the same level about your patients or outcomes. Also, doctors are less likely to come to an area and work unless they know there are permanent nurses on staff. Nursing can have an effect so many things.”

Galen’s Hazard campus has students that come from 23 counties and three different states: Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. Denker is hopeful that Hazard students who are building a connection with Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) will be encouraged to continue their nursing career in Eastern Kentucky.

“It’s too soon to tell if our students will stay in the area, but they are receiving a great education in Hazard,” she said. “It would be beneficial to everyone if they’ll want to continue to give back to the facility that allowed them to learn how to be a nurse. ARH has facilities all over Eastern Kentucky.”

Galen’s Hazard campus is fulfilling a need in the area, she said. Some students drive more than two hours to attend the College because “we’re one of the best nursing schools in Kentucky,” she said.

“Healthcare organizations acknowledge that continually. That’s the beauty of it,” Dr. Denker said.

The two-day conference’s topics included growing a hemp economy, capitalizing on the economic potential of lakes, using 21st-century technology to build your business, and broadband in Eastern Kentucky.


Photo courtesy of WYMT

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