May 22, 2023

Congratulations to Tennessee's 2023 Rising Star Nurse Leaders!

Together with the Tennessee Nurses Association and the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Action Coalition acknowledges these young nurse leaders:

  • Kellie Ashburn, University of Tennessee at Martin 
  • Erica Barnett, State of TN-TN Dept of Health 
  • Laura Barry, UTK College of Nursing 
  • Mindy Brown, East Tennessee State University 
  • Jackson Butler, The University of Tennessee Medical Center 
  • Joe Callis, Cumberland University 
  • Helen “Maisen” Conley, Christian Brothers University 
  • Kelcey Flagg, Cumberland University 
  • Davena Hardison, Maury Regional Medical Center 
  • Kacie Hauldren, East Tennessee State University 
  • MiKayla Holloman, TriStar Skyline Medical Center 
  • Justina Holmes, Landmark Health 
  • Victoria Mitchell, East Tennessee State University 
  • Kayla Norman, East Tennessee State University
  • Courtney Nyange, Tennessee State University, School of Nursing 
  • Shkendie Papraniku, Loewenberg College of Nursing, University of Memphis 
  • Shaliea M. Ratliff, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare 
  • Monika Schmidt, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing 
  • Cory Smeltzer, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt 
  • Jenna Staggs, United Telehealth Services 
  • Ashley Walkner, Cumberland University 
  • John “Jake” Whicker, Cumberland University 
  • Brittany Williams, University of Tennessee Le Bonheur Pediatric Specialists 
  • Amanda Wrobleski, Tenet Hospital 
  • Michelle Zuercher, Cumberland University

This is an elite group of young Tennessee nurse leaders representing the three grand divisions of Tennessee, a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, frontline clinicians, academicians, and managers. 

The aim of the Tennessee Rising Star Nurse Leader program is to engage and empower young nurses to lead the profession in improving the health of Tennesseans.

For more information, please contact us at