Biography

Dr. Ashley Apple is a triple 'Hoo, and earned a BSN, MSN, and DNP from UVA School of Nursing. She worked for more than a decade as an emergency department RN, caring for both adult and pediatric patients, before becoming a board-certified family nurse practitioner in 2020. In addition to her role as an assistant professor for the School's Accelerated Two-Year BSN Transfer program, she remains in active clinical practice in a pediatric urgent care setting.

Dr. Apple has been involved in numerous health policy and advocacy initiatives at both the state and federal levels. In 2020, she was awarded the Virginia Nurse Advocate Health Policy Fellowship, and received a grant to fund her scholarly practice project. She designed and implemented an evidence-based experiential learning program to coincide with the 2021 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly, during which graduate nursing students examined health policy and advocacy through the lens of health disparities and social justice. Dr. Apple facilitated interactive sessions with state and federal legislators, leaders from national and international professional nursing organizations, public health experts, legal and fiscal analysts, and nurse-lobbyists, among others.

Deeply committed to advancing equitable public policies, Dr. Apple continues to work closely with legislators and stakeholders to address sociopolitical barriers to wellness. She currently serves as commissioner on government relations for the Virginia Nurses Association, and is a member of the board of directors. In this capacity, Dr. Apple also leads the Virginia Legislative Nursing Alliance, a collaborative thinktank for specialty nursing organizations across Virginia. 

In the classroom, Dr. Apple has taught pathophysiology, clinical management, and competencies for nursing practice. She has guest lectured on health policy, the history of nurse advocacy and activism, the opioid epidemic, and caring for transgender and gender non-conforming young people in the primary care setting. As a community health clinical instructor, she has worked with students in various settings, including low-resourced and immigrant communities, public and private elementary schools, a day shelter and resource center for people experiencing homelessness, the Charlottesville Health Department, pop-up vaccination clinics, and the Jefferson Area Board for Aging.


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ASHLEY APPLE: Hey, there. I'm Ashley Apple. I'm an Assistant Professor of Nursing here at UVA. I'm a Family Nurse Practitioner and I'm the commissioner on government relations for the Virginia Nurses Association.

So what I love about my role here at UVA is all of the aha moments, that moment where learning happens, where new knowledge just clicks, where it makes sense. I came here as a student myself before I was faculty. I was an RN to BSN student and I was in my health policy class when I had probably my most profound aha moment. And at that moment, I realized that social justice is actually within the scope of my nursing practice.

And in fact, I was called by the ethical tenets of our profession to advocate for ethical and equitable public policies to help eliminate health disparities, to stand up for vulnerable populations. And that moment profoundly shaped the person that I am today, the nurse that I am today. And to experience that here as a student and then to get to turn around as faculty and see the eyes of students as they have those aha moments is just incredibly rewarding to see it when it clicks, to see it when it makes sense. And I can't wait to see all of the impact that it's going to have to our future nursing professions, to see all the good that students are going to do in the world as they learn these new and exciting things.

So why should you come to the School of Nursing? Because you can come exactly as you are. No matter what you're interested in, we have people here for you. We're not a nurse factory. We don't send students down an assembly line and try to pour them all into the same mold. Instead, we work to build an environment and give students the tools and the care they need to grow into the nurse that they want to be.

Like, are you interested in health policy and advocacy and activism? Come on, let's speak truth to power. Are you interested in global public health or LGBTQIA inclusive hospice and palliative care? Are you interested in knowing more about supporting mental health and well-being among our veterans or supporting the emotional and spiritual needs of our patients?

Come here, we have people here to support you in that. We built an ecosystem of clinicians and scholars and researchers and activists that want to help you reach that goal and really dig into what it is that moves you. And if you don't know what moves you, that's OK, we have people that can help with that, too.

If I had to describe UVA School of Nursing in just one word, well, anyone who knows me knows that that's going to be difficult for me because I have a lot of words. But I would say one word is home. You know, I was a student here myself. I arrived here after almost a decade in practice as an ER nurse, and I came to the RN to BSN program and I was terrified. I'd never experienced university life before.

And from the moment I stepped on grounds through this moment right now as faculty many years later, I felt loved and supported and respected. And so my advice to prospective students would be bring your authentic self, whoever you are, bring your lived experience, bring your inquisitive mind, and come join our family. Come home to UVA.

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Certifications

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC)

Research Focus

Experiential learning, nursing education, nursing engagement in policy and advocacy, evidence-based policy, vulnerable populations, praxis

Recent Grants

Virginia Nurse Advocate Health Policy Fellowship Grant, 2020

Service

  • Commissioner on Government Relations, Virginia Nurses Association
  • Virginia Legislative Nursing Alliance

Presentations

  • Apple, A., & Simpson, A. (2018). Drug-seeking behavior in the emergency department: A nursing duty to act. Rising Stars poster presentation at the Sigma Theta Tau International Leadership Connection, Indianapolis, Indiana.