Through an executive order signed on Oct. 26, Zinker began a three-year term on the GBON. Since its establishment in 1907, the GBON has served as the regulatory agency for all licensed practical nurses, registered professional nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, licensed practical nursing education programs, and registered nursing education programs. They are responsible for developing rules and regulations that set the standards for nursing practice and education, provide the minimum qualifications for licensure, and ensure that the disciplinary process is implemented in a fashion that guarantees due process and public protection.
“Being appointed to the Georgia Board of Nursing is a huge honor,” said Zinker. “I am grateful to Governor Kemp for the opportunity to serve in this new capacity and recognize the immense responsibility that comes with this appointment. Nursing has always been one of my greatest passions and I look forward to being able to further contribute to the nursing field on a larger scale.”
Zinker has been with Colquitt Regional since 2002, when she started as a clinical coordinator. Since then, she has served as director of ICU and respiratory care and director of emergency services. In 2012, she was named Chief Nursing Officer and added the title of vice president of patient services in 2013.
“Dena has been an integral part of the Colquitt Regional family,” said Colquitt Regional President and CEO Jim Matney. “Through her leadership and vision, our hospital, in particular our nursing division, has reached new heights. She is a true leader and will be a tremendous asset to the Georgia Board of Nursing. Our organization is extremely proud of her and she has our full support. I commend Governor Kemp for his recognition of Dena’s unwavering commitment to nursing and the healthcare industry.”
Throughout her tenure, Zinker has played a key role in the implementation of numerous service lines, safety protocols and procedures. Notably, in 2020, she led Colquitt Regional to become the fifth hospital, and first rural hospital, to receive the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Pathway to Excellence designation.
Zinker also helped develop the hospital’s first clinical ladder for nursing employees within the organization, which allows direct-care nurses a way to advance their careers while remaining in a clinical setting and continuing to provide patient care.
“Dena is a fierce advocate for our nursing staff,” said Hospital Authority Chairman Richard E. Turner, Jr. “She is not only invested in the prosperity of our health system, but she is equally concerned with the well-being of our nursing staff and ensuring that they receive the resources and training necessary to set them up for success, both at the bedside and in their professional development.”
The GBON is made up of 13 members appointed by the Governor: two registered nursing educators, one practical nursing educator, two registered nurses employed in nursing service administration, one registered nurse employed in nursing home administration or nursing service administration, two advanced practice registered nurses, one additional registered nurse, three licensed practical nurses, and one consumer member.