#BlueRidgeGrad: Shannon Allison

Blue Ridge Student Embarks on Journey to Become Nurse Practitioner

Featured Photo: Shannon Allison graduated with her associates degree in nursing and will attend Duke University to obtain her nurse practitioner degree focusing on women’s health. Photo courtesy of Michele Handy.


This article was adapted from the original article by Michele Handy published by the Transylvania Times.

In May, Blue Ridge Community College recognized the associate degree in nursing graduates of 2024.

Transylvania County resident and Blue Ridge Community College graduate Shannon Allison has been accepted into the Duke University Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program where she will work towards obtaining a master’s of science degree in nursing.

Although Duke will require Allison to travel for three-to-five days of intensive training as part of the program, she will be able to remain in Transylvania County during her seven-semester program which will combine online coursework with extensive clinical hours performed in the local area.

Allison is changing careers as an adult learner to bring experience from working in supply chain management and serving as the Transylvania County Schools Educational Foundation’s executive director.

“I wanted not only the exceptional education Duke offers, but also the option of an accelerated track to become a nurse practitioner in the women’s health specialty,” she said.

Allison will continue to build local relationships in the community during her master’s program.

“Duke School of Nursing has an emphasis on rural community health and prioritizes advancing health equity and social justice, all of which are important to me personally and professionally,” said Allison.

The choice to specialize in women’s health nursing evolved from Allison’s own experience as a patient who lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that often results in joint hypermobility and chronic pain.

In June 2020, she underwent a hysterectomy and surgery to reconstruct her pelvic floor due to severe pelvic organ prolapse.

“I experienced multiple complications that had me in and out of the hospital and doctor’s offices in the thick of COVID restrictions,” she explained. “My family couldn’t be with me and the nurses and medical staff were my support system and caregivers during one of the most difficult times of my life. I knew I wanted to pay it forward and be that support for others, especially those struggling with women’s health related issues and complicated chronic illness.”

The Blue Ridge Nursing Program has played an important role in Allison’s preparation for a nurse practitioner program by providing the courses and clinical experience necessary for her to become a registered nurse after passing the NCLEX.

Blue Ridge Community College Associate Degree Nursing Instructor Lynde Mickey said, “Since Shannon started the nursing program at Blue Ridge, she has been a driven and determined student. The faculty admires her for being goal-oriented and high-achieving in her nursing education. With her tenacity, there is no doubt that she will achieve great things in her future endeavors.”

Information about the Blue Ridge Nursing Program and admission criteria are available at www.blueridge.edu/nursing or by calling the college’s admissions office at (828) 694-1800.

Information about all of Blue Ridge’s healthcare programs is available at www.blueridge.edu/healthcare.