news-category: College of Health Sciences

Dr. Anna S. Hamrick Named Director of the Hunt School of Nursing

Anna Hamrick in the hallway of the College of Arts and Sciences

GWU Alumna Excited to Build on the Foundation of Previous Nursing Administrators

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Dr. Anna S. Hamrick has been named director of the Hunt School of Nursing (HSON) at Gardner-Webb University. A GWU alumna, she has served as the school’s associate director since 2020. Hamrick will step into her new role on July 1, and current HSON Director, Dr. Tracy Arnold, will take on a new position, associate dean for the College of Health Sciences.

Professor and Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Dr. Nicole Waters commended Hamrick’s wealth of experience and profound dedication to nursing. “Her progressive leadership, academic excellence, and clinical expertise position her uniquely to lead the Hunt School of Nursing,” Waters praised. “We are confident that under Dr. Hamrick’s leadership, the School of Nursing will continue to achieve new heights in educational quality and community engagement. I am looking forward to supporting her in the new role as we work together to advance the future of nursing.”

Arnold also offered her support and added, “Under Dr. Hamrick’s leadership, I am confident the Hunt School of Nursing will continue to excel in offering high-quality programs that produce compassionate and skilled nursing professionals.”

Hamrick is excited for the opportunity to build on the achievements of previous Gardner-Webb nursing administrators. “We have a strong legacy of nursing, of women in leadership,” Hamrick asserted. “The foundation that we get to build upon is strong because of those who have gone before us — Tracy Arnold and Nicole Waters and Sharon Starr, Susie Beck-Little and Shirley Tony. There have only been a small number deans/directors in the nearly 60-year history of the School of Nursing and I’ve been blessed to know all of them personally.”

In her new position as HSON director, Hamrick will be guided by her life motto, which is posted in her office, “Love God, Love People, and Love What You Do.” One of her goals will be to further strengthen relationships with clinical partners and alumni. “After the pandemic, healthcare is very different and I just want to meet and learn from them,” she said. “What do they need in their future workforce and how can we help prepare our students? I also want to strengthen our relationships with our alumni and make sure that their story is told, because they’re doing some amazing things, such as opening their own practices and winning awards.”

Hamrick is grateful that along with her new responsibilities, she will continue to teach and maintain her clinical practice. “When I started in my career, I had to be focused on the patient,” she reflected. “Then, when I started my career in education, I focused on the students. And now, I’m transitioning to make sure that the faculty and staff have what they need to be able to support their students. My circle of influence may have changed a little bit, but my goal hasn’t changed. We have an amazing group of faculty and staff in the HSON who are dedicated to preparing the next generation of nurses and I look forward to serving alongside them in my new role.” 

A native of Sylva, N.C., Hamrick cites the support of her family, her faith, and the health occupations course of study at Smoky Mountain High School as foundational to her pursuits. She came to Gardner-Webb in 1999 to begin her nursing education, and Toney was one of her professors. Hamrick earned her Associate of Science in Nursing in 2001 and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2003. While pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., Hamrick worked in GOAL admissions as the recruiter for GWU nursing.    

After earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2008 from the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Hamrick was an adjunct professor for both Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina University. She also worked full-time as a nurse practitioner in ENT surgery and palliative care in Shelby, N.C. 

In 2013, Hamrick joined the HSON faculty full time as director of the recently started Gardner-Webb MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program. In 2019, she helped to develop and launch the Doctor of Nursing Practice program for Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. In 2024, she completed service as chair of the full-time faculty, the first member of the School of Nursing to hold this position.

As part of maintaining her clinical practice, Hamrick is at the forefront of telemedicine, currently serving part-time as a telehealth nurse practitioner for the Center for Rural Health Innovation – Health-e-Schools in Spruce Pine, N.C. The program works with school nurses in 10 rural NC counties. Through electronic devices at each school, Hamrick can complete virtual assessments, including examination of a child’s ear and listening to heart and lung sounds.

Hamrick has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on varied nursing practice, palliative care, and academic topics. She was selected as one of five 2016 National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Leadership Mentoring program participants, the 2018 GWU Daisy Faculty Award Winner, and a 2018 Great 100 N.C. Nurse. Hamrick expressed deep gratitude for those who are part of her support system, especially her husband, children, and extended family. “I have been abundantly blessed, and I desire to be a blessing to others,” she affirmed.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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