Home » Partnership in Appalachia creates pathway for nurses to graduate debt free

Partnership in Appalachia creates pathway for nurses to graduate debt free

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — The University of Pikeville (UPIKE) announced its latest partnership with Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) during a signing event, at the Elliott School of Nursing.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear joined UPIKE President Dr. Burton J. Webb and PMC President and Chief Executive Officer Donovan Blackburn in announcing the Rural Health Nursing Fellowship, a new educational and employment opportunity that will not only benefit nursing students but also Appalachia.

Students eager to pursue a career in nursing can now earn a two-year associate degree from UPIKE and graduate debt-free by making a commitment to work at PMC upon becoming a licensed RN. With their commitment, the hospital agrees to cover the remaining education costs once financial aid is applied.

UPIKE and PMC are innovatively working together to address the ongoing nursing shortage in the commonwealth. Together, they are creating an opportunity for education and employment in a lucrative career path that greatly benefits the people of the region both organizations serve.

President Webb is proud to invest in the future of students wishing to further their education in nursing at UPIKE. He believes the collaboration with PMC will make a significant impact in creating a solution to Kentucky’s nursing shortage.

“Pikeville Medical Center and the University of Pikeville have a long history of working together to solve the healthcare and educational challenges that face Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia,” said Webb. “This partnership is another example of our two organizations coming together to solve the nearly intractable problem of not enough nurses in the region. We believe that offering students a program that covers all of their tuition, room and board, and fees while they are in nursing school, provided they agree to work for PMC for a time, removes all of the financial barriers to becoming a nurse. Over the next several years, we expect this program to substantially solve the public health crisis stemming from an inadequate number of highly trained, highly skilled nursing professionals.”

PMC’s continued partnership with UPIKE strengthens the workforce in the Appalachian region. Blackburn is optimistic about this new endeavor and is happy to provide these nursing fellows with a career path at the hospital.

“Pikeville Medical Center is thrilled to partner with the University of Pikeville and Governor Beshear’s administration to launch this new fellowship program with the prestigious UPIKE Elliott School of Nursing,” said Blackburn. “We are honored and humbled to have this level of a nursing education combined with the opportunity for nursing students to enter the workforce debt-free and with the opportunity of starting a new career as an RN while serving the people of their community. The fellowship offers an environment where nursing graduates receive the professional development necessary to become successful and increases the number of nursing graduates to help with the nursing shortage while creating many new career opportunities for both traditional and non-traditional student fellows.”

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