Diana Dedmon, DNP, FNP-BC, goes where she is needed. As a nurse practitioner, she has seen patients in settings ranging from health clinics to their own homes. Now she is bringing her commitment to health care access to her new role as assistant professor, director of Clinical Affairs, and Michael Carter Endowed Professor for the College of Nursing at UT Health Science Center.
Dr. Dedmon joined the College of Nursing faculty in November to develop a faculty practice program that meets the needs of the community. “Nurses are very creative people. We like to look for ways around barriers for people who don’t have access to health care,” she said. “When someone has a need, nurses typically figure out a way to help.”
As a nurse practitioner, Dr. Dedmon has worked in rural West Tennessee and in Memphis. Nurse practitioners can assess, diagnose and treat patients – including writing prescriptions. The faculty practice program of the UTHSC College of Nursing likely will take the form of nurse-led clinics, Dr. Dedmon said.
The first steps toward the development of a clinical practice for the College of Nursing are researching models that other universities have followed, developing relationships with health care partners, and performing a needs assessment. “We want to identify the needs of the area without replicating what already exists,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be traditional brick and mortar. It could be something mobile. It is however we can best serve the community.”
With a strong history of faculty in clinical practice, the UTHSC College of Nursing has a wealth of experience to build upon. Dr. Dedmon looks forward to leveraging that clinical experience as the college develops a practice plan. A realistic goal for reopening a faculty practice is in the next 12 to 24 months, she said.
“Development of faculty practice is key for the UTHSC College of Nursing,” said UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, ARNP-BC, FAANP. “Not only does it meet the unmet needs in our communities, but it provides faculty the ability to maintain and enhance their practice skills, thereby augmenting the mentoring and teaching of our nursing students.”
While working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, Dr. Dedmon developed a nurse-led clinic focused on addressing non-emergent conditions that primary care or urgent care offices were not equipped to take on. The new clinic resulted in higher patient satisfaction and fewer emergency room visits, she said.
Dr. Likes said Dr. Dedmon was the obvious choice to lead the college’s faculty practice. “She has a great depth of experience in various practitioner roles and has experience in working with an academic center in initiating and developing a College of Nursing practice,” she said.
Dr. Dedmon also comes from a long line of nurses, starting with her great-grandmother – a sharecropper in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, who served as a midwife in the community. Dr. Dedmon’s grandmother was a licensed practical nurse and worked for many years at the hospital in Lauderdale County, returning to school at age 50 to attain her bachelor of science degree in nursing.
Dr. Dedmon’s mother became a registered nurse in 1963 and then a family nurse practitioner, graduating from the UTHSC College of Nursing in 1997.
A native of Ripley, Tennessee, Dr. Dedmon said, “I have always had a heart for the underserved. I come from a community that is underserved, and I truly believe that I was intended to be a nurse.”
Dr. Dedmon earned her BSN at Union University, her MSN at the UTHSC College of Nursing and her DNP at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.