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Hillcrest Healthcare’s Donna Kelley earns honors as ‘Director of Nursing of the Year’

Donna Kelley of Hillcrest Healthcare Communities, Inc., has been recognized as the Grace Healthcare Director of Nursing of the Year for 2018, after an evaluation of more than 20 facilities in seven states.

  donna kelley
Donna Kelly; image submitted

Kelley joined Hillcrest Healthcare in 1996 and has served as director of nursing since 2007 at the Beverly Park Place Health and Rehab campus in North Knoxville. Grace Healthcare, Hillcrest’s management company, provides managerial oversight and support to over 20 centers in the eastern United States, and selected Kelley out of a large group of qualified applicants.

Ava Green of Grace Healthcare presented the award, which was based on clinical performance of the center, state survey results, quality measures and peer review.

“Donna is an extraordinary and dedicated leader, which is evident in the success she’s had at Beverly Park Place,” said Green, chief clinical officer of the Clinical Support Partners division of Grace Healthcare. “The director of nursing is responsible for every clinical event in the facility, and Donna is ready to help residents, staff or family members day or night. She does this while keeping key metrics such as re-hospitalization rates well below industry benchmarks. I congratulate her for this well-deserved honor.”

Kelley, who also earned the 2014 Director of Nursing of the Year award, said, “I give credit to the leadership team that surrounds me, our nursing staff that provides excellent care to our residents, my mentor and administrator, Susette Williamson, and my husband, Chris. I would not be who I am or the leader I am today without their support. I appreciate the award, and it is always an honor to be recognized for your work.”

While at Beverly Park Place Health and Rehab, Kelley has maintained re-hospitalization rates in the single digits in an industry where the national benchmark is set at 15%. Under her leadership, Beverly Park Place Health and Rehab has been awarded with bronze and silver quality awards from the American Health Care Association (AHCA). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has given Beverly Park Place its highest five-star rating.

Kelley, who has spent her career with Hillcrest Healthcare, earned an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) from Lincoln Memorial University. She has served in several capacities, including registered nurse, nurse manager, staff educator, staff development coordinator, and director of employee health and certified nursing assistant (CNA) classes.

Kelley resides in Corryton with her husband, Chris. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, gardening and canning, and spending time outdoors at East Tennessee’s lakes. She also is an avid University of Tennessee sports fan.

Hillcrest Healthcare operates three skilled nursing, rehabilitation and long-term care facilities in north, south and west Knoxville. With 560 beds and more than 500 employees, it is the largest provider of skilled nursing care in Knoxville. Hillcrest Healthcare is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, providing services to the citizens of Knox and surrounding counties since 1960.

Hillcrest Healthcare Communities, Inc. operates three skilled nursing, rehabilitation and long-term care facilities in Knoxville, Tennessee. With 560 beds and more than 500 employees, Hillcrest Healthcare is the largest provider of skilled nursing care in Knoxville, with locations in the north, south and west communities. Chartered in 1960 as a 501(c)(3) organization, Hillcrest Healthcare continues its original charitable mission to provide long-term care and skilled nursing home beds to the citizens of Knox and surrounding counties regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. For more information, visit, or

Published May 13, 2019

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