CANYON, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — A prominent Amarillo nurse practitioner and owner of several family care clinics will assume leadership of West Texas A&M University’s Department of Nursing.
Dr. Holly Jeffreys will begin her new role Aug. 17. She is a nationally certified rural health clinic professional and the owner and provider for the Family Care Clinic of Panhandle, Family Care Clinic of Boys Ranch, Family Care Clinic of Claude and Family Care Clinic of Bushland.
“I wanted to join the nursing department at WT because our missions go hand in hand and the experience at WT will allow me the opportunity to make a bigger difference in ensuring Texans have access to health care and positively impact the lives of Texans across the state,” Jeffreys said. “I hope to work with the department to reach new heights of commitment and success by focusing on the mission of the department and University, positively impacting the lives of our students —our future health care workers — and ultimately positively impacting the lives of countless individuals and communities across the nation.”
Jeffreys completed her bachelor and master of science in nursing at WT, and she completed her doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Texas.
“WT prepared me for my career by offering me the opportunity to not only obtain education and hands on skills for nursing but also the professionalism I needed to succeed as a nurse,” Jeffreys said. “I chose to stay in this area because I recognized the need and opportunity to improve the health of patients in this area, particularly the health of rural residents of the Texas Panhandle.”
Jeffreys’ extensive experience made her a clear pick to lead the department, said Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
“She is a very good educator, understands the health and wellness needs of rural communities and has been a strong advocate legislatively on behalf of nurses, in addition to her outstanding work as a clinician,” Nelson said.
Jeffreys will fill a position last held by Dr. Helen Reyes, who has returned to full-time teaching after a decade as department head.
“I have an enormous amount of appreciation to Helen for her excellent work throughout a decade as Nursing Department Head,” Nelson said. “Along with a mountain of day-to-day stuff, Helen led the department through accreditation site visits, program and enrollment growth, new facilities and much more. I can’t even count the number of curricular national recognitions and awards the department has earned during Helen’s tenure.”
Jeffreys’ professional focus has been on rural healthcare. She leads a multidisciplinary healthcare team utilizing current evidence-based research along with effective communication in patient teaching, including mobile medical visits to underserved rural communities, group education classes, telemedicine, and social media to enhance patient engagement.
“Rural residents suffer from greater health disparities than urban residents for a number of reasons. Regardless of the reasons, many of the health disparities can actually be prevented with appropriate access to healthcare,” Jeffreys said. “Keeping rural Texas healthy is so important because rural Texans keep food on our table and clothes on our back. Rural is the heart of Texas, and just like our heart needs appropriate care and attention, rural residents need care and attention including the opportunity to access healthcare and education.”
In 2014 Jeffreys was appointed to serve on the Health Care Advisory Board for Lt. Governor Dan Patrick where she continues to serve today. Jeffreys also served as the Panhandle Regional Representative on the Texas Nurse Practitioners Board of Directors and is current Chair of the TNP Policy Council.
In 2017, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Jeffreys the 2017 Texas Panhandle Small Business Person of the Year for her achievements as a successful entrepreneur, and in 2018, Jeffreys received the Nurse Practitioner Excellence Award from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award from her state association, Texas Nurse Practitioners.
Jeffreys is the current Board Chair for West Texas A&M University College of Health Sciences Advisory Board and President of Bushland ISD Board of Trustees
WT’s online bachelor of nursing program recently was named one of the 10 best in the country