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Nursing 9 The Pulse – October 2023

The Pulse – October 2023


100% of May 2023 Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN) graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)!  Join Dr. Bentley, faculty and staff in congratulating the following outstanding graduates and new R.N.s on their achievement:

  • Loraleigh Huguely
  • Charlotte Lucas
  • McKenna Marion
  • Emily Miller
  • Katelyn Ratliff
  • Ashley Summers
  • Ella Vittitow
  • Jacob Wever

The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN) program was approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) to reinstate enrollment in the summer of 2020 following a brief period of suspended enrollment by the University. The new class was admitted in fall 2020 under the newly formed School of Nursing (SON), and the first graduates were celebrated in spring 2022. The ASN degree was approved for a change in title beginning in fall 2022 to an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN). This change offered students additional opportunities for scholarships and financial assistance by being enrolled in an applied science degree.

Nursing AASN Graduates


School of Nursing (SON) undergraduate students are learning how to care for clients requiring complex care through the use of high-fidelity simulation.  Students in their junior year of the BSN program participated in a heart failure simulation. The SON simulation team and course faculty work together to bring students opportunities to engage in simulated high-stakes patient care scenarios without risk of patient harm!

Breaking News! The SON BSN program is nationally ranked as a 2024 Best BSN Program by US News & World Report. The BSN program moved up 23 spots in the ranking for academic quality and graduate outcomes.   BSN graduates are ready to contribute to the healthcare workforce needs in our service region. Read the EKU Stories article here.

EKU BSN ranked #183 for best BSN Programs





BSN Students


MSN – FNP: EKU has expanded its Rural Medicine Scholarship. Congratulations to the Anthem Rural Medicine (ARMS) 2023 Scholarship Recipients! Family Nurse Practitioner students Julia Taylor, Kayla Purvis, Jennifer Benites and Kasi Smith.

At the September 7th scholarship ceremony on the EKU campus, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Medical Director, Daniel Brunner, presented a $100,000 check to EKU President David McFaddin. Anthem is dedicated to addressing access to care and improving health equity in Kentucky’s rural areas by expanding the number of culturally competent, primary care providers (PCPs). Read the EKU Stories article and view the WKYT news video. See pictures below.

MSN – PMHNP: C. Richard Mattingly has spent his entire career dedicated to philanthropic efforts. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Eastern Kentucky University, Mattingly, ’78, began his career working for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), where he spent nearly four decades committed to the pursuit of finding a cure for the disease.

Through Mattingly’s innovative fundraising strategies, market development philosophy, and state-of-the-art non-profit management structure, the CFF saw a dramatic increase in philanthropic support. Annual revenue increased from $20.3 million to more than $304 million. Mattingly’s hard work and expertise has been recognized both through national awards and promotions within the CFF.

Mattingly retired from the CFF in the spring of 2015 after the tragic loss of his wife and fellow EKU alum, Carolyn C. Mattingly, ’79, whose life was taken by an individual who suffered from a mental health disorder. Mattingly immediately founded The Luv u Project, Inc. to honor his wife. The mission of this public charity was to turn an unacceptable tragedy into a quantifiable agenda—taking responsible actions to advance the understanding of, and treatments for, mental health. Mattingly actively serves as the organization’s president in an all-volunteer capacity. Through the work of The Luv u Project, a partnership was created with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to create the first-ever academic center in the country focused on research and development of mental health in the workplace.

In combining his passion for mental health treatment and his expertise in philanthropic fundraising, Mattingly gives back to his beloved alma mater through both his talents and his financial support. The Carolyn C. Mattingly Endowed Scholarship has been established as a lasting gift from her husband and her daughter to continue her legacy and most significantly to annually assist Eastern Kentucky University PMHNP nursing student recipients to expand education in the area of mental health care and services.

The Carolyn C. Mattingly Scholarship was previously awarded to Tiirini Hill. This year’s Carolyn C. Mattingly Scholarship recipient will be announced in spring 2024.

Carolyn C. Mattingly

Carolyn C. Mattingly

MSN Panel

MSN Anthem Panel

Anthem Scholarship recipient Kasi Smith

Anthem Scholarship recipient Kasi Smith

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Medical Director, Daniel Brunner, presented a $100,000 check to EKU President David McFaddin


DNP students are encouraged to engage in scholarly writing and publication. In the DNP Experience I clinical, the students are encouraged to submit an article for the Doctors of Nursing Practice OUTCOMES e-Newsletter. This could be related to their future DNP Project, clinical practice or nursing leadership. EKU DNP students have been successful in getting their short articles published in the e-Newsletter. Click on the links to read some of the monthly publications by a few of our current students.

Breast Cancer Screening By Missy Stipp, MSN, APRN, FNP
DNP Student at Eastern Kentucky University

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) By Missy Stipp, MSN, APRN, FNP
DNP Student at Eastern Kentucky University

Missy Stipp

Missy Stipp


Evolution of the Electronic ICU (E-ICU): Is it Here to Stay? By Kim Kenney, MSN, BS, CCRN-K
DNP Student at Eastern Kentucky University

Kim Kenney

Kim Kenney


Social Media as a Tool for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice By Hanna D. Schimmer
DNP Student at Eastern Kentucky University

Hanna Schimmer

Hanna Schimmer


Dr. Brigette Holleran: I am an assistant professor at EKU. I am teaching pharmacology (for undergraduate and graduate students) and courses in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. I am from Lexington, KY, but have considered myself a Colonel for many years! I received my BSN (2000), MSN (2014), and DNP (2017) degrees from Eastern Kentucky University.  I have been practicing as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Internal Medicine in Lexington since 2014. Prior to earning my master’s degree my nursing career was focused in Emergency Nursing at Baptist Health Hospital in Lexington (2001-2014). I also worked part time at Ridge Behavioral Health in pediatric and adolescent psychiatric care and as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for the Lexington Police Department during those years.

I live in Lexington with my husband, Jackie. We enjoy spending time with our children: John, Savannah, Tate, and Hannah. We also enjoy traveling and outdoor activities. We have one granddaughter, Hadley, who keeps us busy and laughing most of the time!

Dr. Brigette Holleran

Dr. Brigette Holleran


Dr. Beth Killian: I grew up in Lexington and got my BSN at UK in 1992. I never wanted to be a nurse growing up, but God had other plans for me and directed my path into nursing. I worked at UK Hospital in the Cardio-Thoracic ICU for nine years. While working there, I took a six month leave of absence to work at a mission hospital in Zimbabwe, Africa. While I was there, I decided I should go back to school to be a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). I graduated from EKU’s FNP program in 2001 and began working at an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics clinic in Winchester. Five years later I got a post-MSN certificate for Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from Spalding University. I have spent the last 22 years working in primary care, internal medicine and pediatrics. I have also worked part-time at a school-based clinic, Urgent Treatment Center, EKU Student Health Services and performing Medicare home risk assessments. I have been an online facilitator in the FNP program for nine years, and joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in August, 2023.

I teach Advanced Health Assessment for nurse practitioner students, Health Informatics for Doctorate of Nursing Practice students, and Health Assessment lab for Bachelor of Science in Nursing students. Fun fact about me, I learned to read music and play the violin at age 40, and learned to Irish dance at age 42. I am married, have an Australian Shepherd named Luna, two children, four step-children and two grandchildren.

Dr. Beth Killian

Dr. Beth Killian


Professor Amberlyn Whitaker: Hello! I am beyond thrilled to have joined the EKU School of Nursing program at the beginning of September (2023) as a Clinical Faculty member. Currently, I am a clinical instructor for two pediatric clinicals (AASN and BSN) and a Public Health clinical for senior level BSN students. I also assist with health assessment labs on Friday mornings. My background is mostly pediatric inpatient and outpatient. I have some outpatient nursing management experience and accreditation and regulatory experience in the hospital setting. Most recently, I taught and was the Clinical Coordinator at MedQuest College in Lexington for the Licensed Practical Nursing program. Fun fact…I recently had twin boys in March of 2023 (Hudson and Harlan) and have a 2 year old son as well (Waylon). The Whitaker household can be a little chaotic at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We adopted a cat recently and although we thought it was a girl, it turned out to be a boy (tried to have a girl in some way… but boy mom for life). I love spending time with family and friends and enjoy a little reality TV on occasion. My husband and I enjoy EKU football games (Go Colonels!!) and anything outdoors. I am so excited to be here!

Amberlyn Whitaker

Professor Amberlyn Whitaker


Professor Whitney Harmon: My name is Professor Whitney Harmon and I am a full time Faculty member in the EKU School of Nursing. I teach Adult Health III and Pediatric clinicals –and also teach in the pre-nursing skills lab. In the past, I have worked in oncology/women’s care and Pediatric ICU. I currently work in a Medical ICU and have for the last 10 years! I love teaching and am excited to be a part of the BEST School of Nursing around! : )

Whitney Harmon

Professor Whitney Harmon

Theta Nu

Theta Nu (EKU Chapter of Sigma Honor Society of Nursing) and School of Nursing faculty hosted a Welcome Back Luncheon for nursing students. Lunch was provided for 450 students! Faculty and students enjoyed fellowship and food to kick off the start of the fall semester.

Check out the Theta Nu blog here.

Theta Nu Welcome Back Luncheon    Theta Nu Welcome Back Luncheon    Theta Nu Welcome Back Luncheon    Theta Nu Welcome Back Luncheon

Theta Nu Welcome Back Luncheon


Taylor Hill: The C.A.R.E.S. Award is presented to students who have demonstrated the characteristics of Caring, Advocacy, Resilience, Excellence and Service. Each semester the School of Nursing participates in an interprofessional collaboration activity. The objective of this semester’s activity was to improve client outcomes through collaboration between different disciplines. The AASN students joined dietetic students and worked together to develop care focused on assessment, labs, and nutrition. During this interprofessional event, faculty noted one nursing student in particular who went above and beyond to assist the dietetic students in learning key assessment findings, implications of the findings and interventions that might be needed. This nursing student was Taylor Hill. Taylor demonstrated the characteristics of the School of Nursing’s C.A.R.E.S. philosophy. A senior AASN student, Taylor,  is from Richmond, KY and attended Model Laboratory School located on EKU’s campus. Taylor comes from a long line of nurses in his family, and chose to follow in their footsteps , most specifically his sister, Tara Hill, an ICU nurse. Taylor has spent two years working in Lexington as an Emergency Department  tech and now as a nurse extern. Taylor plans to pursue his passion for emergency department and critical care nursing upon graduation. Taylor shares, “I am honored to have been nominated for this award. However, each one of my classmates and peers are just as deserving of this award. They all have demonstrated these important nursing qualities throughout our program, and I have no doubt they will all be fantastic nurses!” Congratulations, Taylor, on receiving the first C.A.R.E.S. Award! See photos below.

The C.A.R.E.S. Award: C.A.R.E.S. represents the philosophy adopted by the School of Nursing. The acronym represents Caring, Advocacy, Resilience, Excellence and Service. A student C.A.R.E.S. Award has been initiated to recognize students displaying these characteristics and going above and beyond in actions that exemplify C.A.R.E.S. Faculty nominate students for this award based on actions displayed to fellow students, patients, patients’ families or any member of the health care team. Award recipients are recognized in the classroom by the School of Nursing Chair, Associate Chair and Program Coordinator. Each student awardee is presented a C.A.R.E.S. Certificate, School of Nursing t-shirt and recognized on the C.A.R.E.S bulletin board in the hallway of the Rowlett Building. Check out the CARES logo below.

The DAISY Award: The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died from complications of an autoimmune disease, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), at the age of 33. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.  The DAISY Award is given to celebrate the extraordinary care and compassion nurses provide patients and families on a daily basis. One DAISY Award will be given to an extraordinary AASN and BSN student in the SON each semester. One DAISY Award for extraordinary nursing faculty will be given each spring semester.

Taylor Hill

Taylor Hill


Dr. Gina Purdue, Taylor Hill, Dr. Brooke Bentley and Dr. Lisa Jones

Dr. Gina Purdue, Taylor Hill, Dr. Brooke Bentley and Dr. Lisa Jones


EKU Nursing Cares and The DAISY Foundation logos


One in six EKU students suffer from food insecurity. Not having enough food to eat negatively impacts a student’s ability to learn. An important resource to help fight hunger is The Colonel’s Cupboard. Located in Powell 215, The Colonel’s Cupboard provides food, toiletries, and clothing to currently enrolled students of the University (full or part-time) in need. The Colonel’s Cupboard will provide any student, who is worried or concerned about food, with food, clothing, and toiletry items, as well as connect them to other local services to help with long term challenges they may be facing.

Need help or other resources?

The Colonel's Cupboard

A Colonel's Cupboard worker

School of Nursing

 521 Lancaster Ave
Rowlett 223
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: (859) 622-1827
Fax: (859) 622-1972