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Astria Health Director of Quality receives master's degree and new health designation

Astria Health is pleased to announce that their Director of Quality, Rhonda Wellner, recently received her Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Management degree, as well as the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality designation. 

“This is an incredible achievement and we’re really proud of Ms. Wellner for her dedication, diligence and drive,” said Brian Gibbons, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astria Health and Astria Sunnyside Hospital. “Both of these achievements distinguish her skillset and showcase her knowledge of healthcare quality practices and competencies, as well as, in nursing.”

Wellner started working for Astria Health in June 2005 as a Nurse Tech II while working toward her Bachelor of Nursing degree from Washington State University. Over the past 16 years, Wellner has worked in a variety of nursing settings. In 2012, she began serving in Quality leadership and is currently serving as the Astria Health System Director of Quality. In this role, she is responsible for the administrative development and management of programs and activities related to quality, risk, and infection prevention. This responsibility includes strategic direction, oversight and planning for quality improvement (QI) programs, analyzing patterns and trends, and promoting continuous process improvement. Wellner works with both Astria Sunnyside Hospital and Astria Toppenish Hospital to provide administrative support for their respective Quality Improvement Councils. In addition, she works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Joint Commission to ensure Astria Health is compliant with quality and safety regulations for patients and staff. 

Wellner states that she knew that she wanted to challenge herself to receive her master’s in nursing (MSN) one day. She began pursuing this dream when she enrolled in the MSN program at Western Governors University in 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic completely turned the world upside down. 

“I’m proud I was able to persevere while working full-time during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wellner said. “Looking back, I’m glad I registered for classes in December 2019 and started January 1, 2020, before knowing what we would endure with the SARS CoV-2019 virus.” 

Wellner gives credit to her husband, children and the team at Astria Health for supporting her throughout her entire career and specifically to encouraging her to achieve this goal of personal and professional growth. Her desire to become a nurse started as a very sick patient and the parent of a very premature baby.  

“Nursing was a calling,” Wellner said. “Becoming a nurse was a way I could give to others the amazing healthcare I received.”   

Astria Health is proud of Wellner and for the commitment and compassion that she provides daily to patients and to her coworkers. She is an integral part of the Astria Health team. 

The Astria Health System, headquartered in the heart of the Yakima Valley, is the parent nonprofit organization of Astria Sunnyside Hospital and Astria Toppenish Hospital along with outpatient Astria Health Centers with healthcare sites and providers conveniently located in towns and cities throughout the region. Specialized in orthopaedics, cardiology, behavioral health and more, Astria Health is Always Here for individuals and families to receive the finest compassionate care, close to home. 


Posted January 24, 2022

Astria Health Director of Quality receives master's degree and new health designation

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