Nurses Leading with Care by Supporting those in the Field with Data, Evidence and Best Practices

Nurses don’t always need to see patients to help. This month we feature stories on nurses who use data, evidence, and best practices to support in the field.

Not every idea will work but need a spark to get you going

Christina Nunnally, FNP-BC
Chief Quality Officer
North Mississippi Primary Health Care, Inc.
Ashland, MS 

Christina Nunnally, FNP-BC, started her career at a community health center assisting patients with pharmaceutical assistance applications. And nineteen years later, she is still in the health center world, noting that no year, no month, no week, no day is ever the same.

As the Chief Quality Officer at North Mississippi Primary Health Care, Inc., she collects and reports the data- but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t see patients. Every Tuesday, she provides women’s health services in the clinic.  “There is a need for these services in the area, and some patients are more comfortable talking to a woman, “Christina said.

She administers the quality program at an eight site health center serving almost 15,000 patients. Christina has implemented and overseen several expanded care programs including telehealth psychiatry, behavioral health counseling, and Hepatitis C treatment.  According to her colleagues, her desire to see her health center as a leader, not only locally and state-wide, but also on the national stage has improved the variety of quality of services available for patients in the service area.

She’s a problem solver. When the state reduced funding for the mental health program in her small rural town, she leveraged a telehealth program in partnership with a university so patients who were worried about being stigmatized for seeing a mental health clinician could safely do live video with a psych NP in a regular exam room. It was so successful that they added an in-person licensed clinical social worker. She was also able to integrate social determinants of health screening into the triage process.  “Health and well-being is made up of more than physiological processes. Social and environmental factors influence health so powerfully, and connecting patients with resources to reduce related risks is essential in community health,” Christina said.

Christina works with human resources to make sure nurses are fulfilled and not overworked at the health center. Not only does Christina want to help her fellow colleagues, but she is interested in teaching future nurse leaders.  She serves as an adjunct professor at Freed-Hardeman University where she provides instruction to masters and doctoral candidates in quality and behavioral health informatics.