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Frances Feltner, DNP, MSN, RN, Director of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard, Ky.

June 2013

Q. What inspired you to become a nurse and choose the specialty of rural nursing?

A. As a child, I had many medical problems and spent a lot of time in the clinic and hospital. During that time, I had one nurse who really inspired me – she was an excellent caregiver and had such a caring attitude that I wanted to grow up to be just like her.

Being born and raised in rural Kentucky, I had family members who worked in healthcare in rural Appalachia, and I saw firsthand the need of each side of the healthcare system and the needs of the people in rural communities.

Q. What part of your current position do you enjoy the most?

A. I enjoy seeing all the components of the Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) working together to identify issues, develop solutions to healthcare access, and reduce disparities and barriers of rural Kentucky. The programs at the CERH are nationally recognized as models that work well for rural areas.

Q. What advice would you give to students, or potential nursing students, interested in rural health?

A. You are needed and welcomed. Rural areas are great places to live, work and start your career. The people are warm, caring and family-minded.

Q. So far, what has been the greatest moment of your career?

A. I have been given opportunities to work in many different aspects of rural healthcare and within the CERH. Those opportunities have enabled me to build relationships with the different communities at the local, state and national level – all while providing services, research and education. It has been my greatest joy to have all my experience come together as I serve as the Director of the CERH.

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