News

Zanetos named Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Volunteer of the Year

(R) Joanne Zanetos was recognized for her volunteer efforts by (L) Heather Heath, executive director of the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities.

Joanne Zanetos, DNP, MSN, RN, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, has been named the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Volunteer of the Year.

Zanetos has more than three years of service with the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association and has racked up service hours at First Friday events, by selling tickets at Sounds by the Sea Concerts and by ushering for various concerts held at the Ritz Theatre.

After moving to Georgia from Ohio where she actively volunteered with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra League and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Women’s Association, Zanetos knew she wanted to continue her effort to give back to the community. She got involved with one of her favorite causes to date, “The Big Read,” a National Endowment for the Arts initiative to encourage literary reading.

“I was stationed at a local thrift store passing out books to the local children,” she said. “I will never forget the face of a young red headed boy, maybe 6 or 7 years old. He was wearing clothes tattered and torn. The store gave him a shirt to keep him warm on that cool autumn day. I gave him the book, Huckleberry Finn. The boy looked at it opening all the pages. He looked like he was admiring it as if he had never seen or had one. I told him it was his to keep. He had a smile on his face from ear to ear. The child thanked me and held the book close to his heart. I will never forget him or his face.”

Zanetos uses her volunteer work as a way to give back to the community that has given her the opportunity to advance her career in the nursing discipline. During her time volunteering with the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities, she has met many individuals that she would consider worthy of the title, so she was surprised when she was named.

“I am honored to represent the community in achieving this award,” she said.

Zanetos’ winning plaque is on display in the Ritz Theatre in Brunswick, Georgia.


School of Nursing Receives $1.6 Million Grant

Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing recently received a $1.6 million grant for a Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program. The BHWET program aims to develop and expand the behavioral health workforce serving populations across the lifespan. This program will increase the number of providers prepared to deliver team-based psychiatric/mental health services to rural and medically underserved populations in South Georgia.

“Primary care providers continue to be the most common portal of entry into our health care system. Area mental health providers are few and mental health needs currently overwhelm area primary care settings, emergency rooms and communities,” stated Melissa Garno, EdD, RN, professor and BSN program director. “This program will provide support over the next four years for the education of psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) students in settings practicing an integrated model of mental health and primary care using a team approach.” Support from this grant will enhance interdisciplinary educational partnerships between the Georgia Southern University School of Nursing PMHNP program and statewide community service boards (CSBs) and Southeast Georgia federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that implement interprofessional care. All Georgia counties are served by one of 13 CSBs. Southeast Georgia FQHCs that provide comprehensive behavioral health and primary services include J.C. Lewis Primary Healthcare Center, Savannah, GA; Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, Savannah, GA; and East Georgia Healthcare Center which has ten satellite clinics throughout Southeast Georgia.

BHWET will provide much needed subsistence stipends to BSN-DNP students choosing the psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner specialty during their clinical education when placed in these or other approved agencies that provide interprofessional or team-based care, including primary care (PC) services. “The program’s clinical requirements often necessitate reducing professional practice schedules to a part-time basis, thus severely impacting the student’s financial resources during this year. Without this support, many students would have difficulty incurring the costs of graduate school,” stated Garno.

Clinical placements at qualified agencies will assist in closing the gap in access to mental health services. “The project not only creates an avenue for PMHNP students to participate in interdisciplinary education at selected clinical partner sites, but will also create a pipeline for CSBs and FQHCs to recruit and hire additional PMH providers upon graduation,” noted Garno.

The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), on behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Garno serves as the BHWET grant principal investigator/director, along with co-authors Lee Broxton, scholarship and research specialist at the Center for Nursing Scholarship and Research, and Stephanie Broxton, administrative assistant for the PMHNP Track in the graduate program.


Nursing Ranked No. 3 for Best Online Bachelor’s in Nursing

Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences has been ranked No. 3 as one of the 30 Best Online Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) for 2017 by Best Degree Programs.

Over 70 accredited colleges and universities were reviewed. Only BSN programs that have received one or more rankings from a major publication were selected. Programs were than ranked based on affordability.

“We are pleased to receive this honor recognizing our RN-BSN program. The hard work and dedication of faculty teaching in the program has resulted in this award for excellence,” stated Sheri Carey, DNP, APRN, PCNS-BS, CCRN, assistant professor and director of the RN-BSN program.

“Influenced by our reputation of excellence, students from around the state of Georgia apply for admission to the program.” The RN-BSN program is fully online and designed exclusively for individuals who are currently registered nurses who wish to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and achieve professional advancement and personal enrichment.


School of Nursing Receives $1.3 Million Grant

Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing recently received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Workforce, Division of Nursing and Public Health for an Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) project. ANEW aims to support innovative academic-practice partnerships that will prepare family nurse practitioner (FNP) and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) students for practice in rural and underserved communities in southeast Georgia.

With this grant, academic-practice partnerships between the School of Nursing Graduate Program and five federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) will be created to increase the number and readiness of FNPs and PMHNPs graduates to care for rural and underserved populations.

The five FQHCs are as follows:

  • East Georgia Healthcare Center to include its ten satellite clinics throughout SE GA;
  • Christ Community Health Services in Augusta, GA;
  • J.C. Lewis Primary Healthcare Center in Savannah, GA;
  • Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care in Savannah, GA; and
  • Appling Healthcare System/Southern Peaches in Baxley, GA.
In addition to providing primary care in fixed facilities, East Georgia Healthcare Center offers a mobile unit. J.C. Lewis Primary Healthcare Center and Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care also provide psychiatric-mental health and behavioral health services, in addition to primary care services.

“The partnership will also offer nurse practitioners employed at the FQHCs the opportunity to attend the yearly School of Nursing’s Graduate Intensive for professional updates and to learn about the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to further their education,” stated Ursula A. Pritham, Ph.D., WHNP-BC, FNP-BC, SANE, associate professor and graduate program director in the School of Nursing, and the ANEW Grant Principal Investigator/Director. Grant co-authors included Kathryn Hoehn Anderson, Ph.D., ARNP, PMHCNS-BC, LMFT, professor and director of the Center for Nursing Scholarship & Research and Mr. Lee Broxton, scholarship and research specialist at the Center for Nursing Scholarship & Research.

ANEW will also provide traineeships to nurse practitioner students, many of whom would not otherwise be able to afford the costs of attending graduate school. “Furthermore, ANEW will create a pipeline from nurse practitioner student practicums to nurse practitioner graduate employment in those settings. Such a partnership will assist FQHCs in their ability to access and hire additional primary care providers, particularly GS graduates familiar with their practice setting, culture and processes without an extensive start-up period,” noted Pritham.


School of Nursing Named No. 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Nurse Practitioner Degree

The Georgia Southern University School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences has been ranked No.10 as one of the most affordable online colleges for a nurse practitioner (NP) degree in 2017 by OnlineU.

“Our graduate degree and post-master’s certificate programs are 95 percent online and allow for the flexibility that working nurses need to advance their education,” said program coordinator Ursula Pritham, Ph.D., WHNP-BC, FNP-BC.

Focus for the review was placed on schools that provide students seeking a variety of healthcare degrees with economical options to obtain higher education. The School of Nursing currently offers certificate- and doctoral-level nurse practitioner programs.

School rankings were based on the level of degree requirements, available degrees, tuition rates, whether programs were offered online, and program coursework.

“We work one-on-one with students to create full-time or part-time personal programs of study that are affordable,” said Pritham.

For more information on the programs offered in the School of Nursing, visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu/nursing.


School of Nursing • Georgia Southern University