Walker Proclaims Nurse Practitioner Week at Lee Nov. 12-18

Alumni, News, School of Nursing

Lee University President Mark Walker has issued a proclamation (full text appended below) declaring next week, Nov. 12-18, Nurse Practitioner Week at Lee recognizing the critical role of nurse practitioners (NPs) as part of the annual National Nurse Practitioner Week (NP Week). Walker included recognition for Lee’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) alumni and NP faculty and staff at the campus. 

NP Week recognizes the positive impact NPs make in the lives of patients and the role NPs play in the health of the nation. These NPs practice in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, nursing homes, private practices across the country, and wherever patients are in need. 

“We believe nurse practitioners are of crucial importance today in America,” said Walker. “In the act of recognizing the contributions of NPs around the country, we especially want to honor those serving our campus community in the university’s Health Services unit, those who are delivering excellent nursing education in our DNP program, and those alumni who’ve emerged from that program and are serving with excellence in their respective communities.

Alumni of Lee’s DNP program include Drs. Alex Cooke, Shelby Davis, Rachel Harwood, Taylor Hellin, and Riley Whittington, who all graduated in the fall 2021 semester. Graduating in the summer of 2022 were Drs. Jennifer Blankenship and Abigail Houston. In the fall 2022 semester, Lee conferred the DNP degree to Drs. Marisa Calfee, Shelby Day, Alexa Pierson, and Jaime Yaich. Summer 2023 graduates included Drs. Susanne Clark, Marda David, Kaitlyn Pierce, and Jonathan Weatherly. 

NP faculty at Lee include Dr. Glenna Lashley, family nurse practitioner (FNP), Lee’s FNP track coordinator, assistant professor of nursing, and graduate faculty; Dr. Kelli Noble, FNP, assistant professor of nursing, and graduate faculty; and Dr. Samantha Spinks, acute care nurse practitioner, assistant professor of nursing, and graduate faculty. 

“I am so proud to be one of the 355,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the United States,” said Lashley. “The purpose for celebrating NP week is to build awareness of the significance of NPs in our patients’ lives and to celebrate how our profession strives to provide excellent, high-quality, patient-centered care. NPs are the health care providers trusted by millions of Americans, and 80% of adults have been treated — or know someone who has been treated — by an NP.  In all 50 states, NPs assess patients, order and interpret tests, make diagnoses, and provide treatment — including prescribing medications. Most importantly, as clinicians who blend clinical expertise with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to patient care. This week, be sure to thank NPs for delivering care patients trust — and consider an NP for your health care needs.”

“Every day, NPs deliver high-quality care to their patients, improving the access, delivery, outcomes and efficiency of our nation’s health care system,” said American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) President Dr. Stephen A. Ferrara. “This year, the NP role was named as the number one job that helps people, according to U.S. News & World Report.”

In 1965, Drs. Loretta Ford and Henry Silver developed the first NP program. Almost sixty years later, the nation’s NPs are improving the health and lives of millions of patients and their communities. 

According to the AANP, NPs are leading the way in providing high-quality, cost-effective care and helping to solve the country’s pressing health care access challenges. Each year, patients turn to NPs in over 1 billion visits for primary, acute, specialty, and long-term care across every health care setting. As clinicians who blend clinical expertise with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to health care. 

Lee’s School of Nursing offers programs designed to empower healthcare professionals, nurturing confident leaders who deliver exceptional and compassionate care on a global scale. It holds a commitment to supporting vulnerable and marginalized communities with a strong focus on rural, global, and disaster-stricken environments. 

For more information about Lee’s Family Nurse Practitioner program, contact Lashley at (423) 614-8531 or email

For more information about Lee’s School of Nursing, visit or call (423) 614-8526. 

For more information about the AANP, visit 


*Whereas, nurse practitioners (NPs) play a critical role as trusted providers of health care for patients in our community; and

*Whereas, NPs work to expand health care access in underserved communities, promote health equity in care and improve health outcomes for all; and

*Whereas, patients depend on the more than 355,000 licensed NPs in the United States, and over 15,000 in Tennessee alone, to diagnose, manage and treat their chronic and acute health care conditions; and

*Whereas, NPs provide high-quality primary, acute and specialty health care services while emphasizing health promotion, disease prevention, health education and counseling, guiding patients to make smarter health and lifestyle choices every day; and

*Whereas, the confidence that patients have in NP-delivered health care is evidenced by the more than 1 billion visits made annually to NPs across the country; and

*Whereas, more than five decades of research demonstrates the high quality of care provided by NPs; and

*Whereas, better utilization of NPs through modernized state laws and improved policies creates better health through a more accessible, efficient, cost-effective and higher-quality health care system; and

*Whereas, NPs serve as the provider of choice for many residents and play a pivotal role in the health and welfare of our communities; and

*Whereas, Lee University is proud to recognize and honor the service of NPs in our community and beyond;

Be It Resolved, therefore, that I, Dr. Mark L. Walker, hereby declare November 12-18, 2023, as National Nurse Practitioner Week for the Lee community in recognition of the countless contributions NPs have made over the past half century and will continue to make on behalf of the health and well-being of the Lee family and citizens across this nation.


Lee U Marker Icon

Explore The Campus
Through Our Interactive
3D Map