news-category: Alumni

Celebrating Alumni – Dr. Victoria Harlan Honored for Service

Celebrating Alumni graphic

Cherokee Indian Hospital Emergency Room Nurse Manager Earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2022

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Students are the focus of Gardner-Webb University’s mission. Faculty members seek to engage students with unique, experiential learning opportunities to prepare them for their next steps as GWU alumni. Whether they choose to begin a career or accept the academic challenges of graduate school, they are equipped with knowledge and skills to lead, and inspired to serve and impact their communities.

Gardner-Webb celebrates these alumni who are making a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others.

Dr. Victoria Harlan, left, poses with staff members at Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority.

The faculty of the Hunt School of Nursing celebrates the accomplishments of Dr. Victoria Harlan, who earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2022. She was honored recently with the 2023 Lula Owl Gloyne Person of Excellence Award from the Cherokee Indian Hospital Foundation. Gloyne was the first registered nurse of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Through her advocacy efforts in front of Congress, a fully-functioning hospital was established on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina.

Harlan, an EBCI tribal member and former U.S. Marine, has served as the nurse manager of the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority Emergency Room (ER) for 13 years. Through educational and influential interactions with community members, Harlan instilled the community’s trust in the ER department, ultimately making it the provider of choice for emergent needs.

Dr. Victoria Harlan, front, received the 2016 Emergency Nurses
Association’s Nurse Manager of the Year Award.

Before her role in the ER, Harlan worked the front line, night shift, and was a member of the ER staff. Those who nominated her for the award said that Harlan earned the trust and respect of her peers as she advocated for them from her direct past experience as a front-line member of the team. They praised her servant-style leadership, selflessness and fundamental belief in self-care.

Harlan’s past accomplishments include being named the 2016 Emergency Nurses Association’s Nurse Manager of the Year. She also obtained certification as a Patient-Centered Medical Home and accreditation in Joint Commission Surveys. While working on her doctorate, Harlan was named to Gardner-Webb’s Dean’s list and inspired other indigenous women through the school’s billboard campaign on the boundary.

One nominator summed up her recommendation: “She truly exemplifies the importance of walking the walk and not just talking the talk, minding the gap, and not climbing your ladder before analyzing all of your data. Community members know Dr. Harlan on a first-name basis and frequently stop her in passing to ask specific questions about their care knowing that she will follow through and see that their needs are met. In a world where most do not take the time to really assess or even listen, Dr. Harlan’s genuine intuition, empathy, compassion and leadership is noticed by all that interact with her.”

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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

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