Faculty Sketch

Kelly Ambrosi Wolgast, DNP, MSS, RN, FACHE

Assistant Professor
Director of MSN in Healthcare Leadership


Dr. Wolgast is an Assistant Professor in the MSN in Healthcare Leadership. Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt in August 2011, she served 26 years on Active Duty in the United States Army as an Army Nurse and retired as a Colonel. Her experiences include earning the Bronze Star for combat experience as Deputy Commander and Chief Nurse in Afghanistan, a deployment in support of Hurricane Katrina relief operations in New Orleans, serving as a Hospital Commander, and serving as the Senior Nurse Executive of the US Army Medical Command. Kelly has many years of executive nursing and healthcare leadership experience and has a strong background in Medical-Surgical Nursing. Kelly earned her Baccalaureate degree in Nursing from Penn State University, a Masters of Science in Nursing (Administration and Education) from Vanderbilt University, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (Executive Nurse Leadership) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Educational Background:

2012: DNP (Executive Nurse Leadership), University of Alabama Birmingham, Birmingham, AL  
2005: Masters in Strategic Studies, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA
1993: MSN (Administration and Education), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
1985: BS, Nursing, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA



2008-present     Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives
1997-present     Certified Healthcare Executive, American College of Healthcare Executives
1995-2004        Certified Emergency Nurse, Emergency Nurses Association



Wolgast, K.A., Taylor, K., Garcia, D., and Watkins, M. (2011). Measuring nursing essential contributions to  quality patient care outcomes. The United States Army Medical Department Journal (October-December), 72-81.


Prue-Owens, K., Watkins, M., and Wolgast, K.A. (2011). Optimizing nursing care delivery systems in the Army: Back-to basics with care teams and peer feedback. The United States Army Medical Department Journal (October-December), 66-73.


Wolgast, K.A. (2005). Command decision making: experience counts. U.S Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA.


Srsic-Stoehr, K., Rogers, L., Wolgast, K., Chapman, T., and Douglas, R. (2004). Success skills for the nurse manager: cultural debut and sustainment. Nurse Leader. 2 (6). 36-41.    


Lewis, J.B., Morey, A.F., Wolgast, K.A., and Ward, J.A. (2002). Outpatient urethroplasty: outcomes analysis and patient selection criteria. The Journal of Urology. 168, 1024-1026.


Wolgast, K.A. (1997). TRICARE Region Nine Resource Sharing and Resource Support User’s   Guide. TRICARE Region Nine, San Diego, CA

Contributing Author, (1989). U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Command Nurse Counselor Operation Guide, Office of the Chief Nurse, U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Command, Fort Monroe, VA


Awards and Honors:

Civilian: 2008, Named as “Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Distinguished 100 Graduates;” 1993, Founder’s Medal, Vanderbilt University;1991-1993 Full Tuition Scholarship, Vanderbilt University; 1991, Outstanding Young Women of America Award; 1981-1985, Three Year ROTC Scholarship/Distinguished Military Graduate, The Pennsylvania State University


Military: Order of Military Medical Merit, Expert Field Medical Badge, Legion of Merit (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Achievement Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, The Army Surgeon General’s 9A Designator for Excellence in Nursing Administration


Professional Experiences: Health Systems Management Program Director and Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, TN. Prepare graduates for the advanced role of nursing leadership and health care management.  This specialty is designed to prepare nurses at the graduate and doctoral levels to lead and manage the delivery of nursing and health care services across the spectrum of health care settings.  Professional practice includes process leader for ongoing medical home transition program for children and youth with special health care needs and development of clinical and community partnerships.  In addition, professional practice includes on-going liaison with military and Veterans outreach activities for the School of Nursing.


Additional Professional Background: Served 26 years on Active Duty in the United States Army.  Retired at the rank of Colonel on 30 September 2011. July 09-Aug 11, Chief Nurse Executive, U.S. Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, TX; 2007-2009, Commander, Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, Co; 2005-2007, Deputy Commander and Chief Nurse, 14th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Benning, GA (deployment to Operation Katrina in New Orleans as well as one year deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan); 2002-2004, Senior Staff Officer to the Chief, Army Nurse Corps, Fort Belvoir, VA; 2001-2002, Senior Instructor, Nursing Education, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX; 1999-2001, Head Nurse, Same Day Surgery, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX;  1997-1999, Nurse Consultant, Office of the Lead Agent, TRICARE Southern California, San Diego, CA; 1995-1996, Nurse Methods Analyst, Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Benning, GA; 1993-1995, Head Nurse, Emergency Services, 16th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, Fort Riley, KS; 1989-1991,  Nurse Counselor, Headquarters, 3d Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, (ROTC) Fort Belvoir, VA; 1985-1988, Clinical Staff Nurse, Medical/Surgical/Emergency, Frankfurt Army Regional Medical Center, Frankfurt, FRG.


Professional Activities:

2012-present     Member, American Nurses Association
2009-present     Member, American Organization of Nurse Executives
2005-2013         Member, Association of the United States Army
2005-present     Member, U.S Army War College Alumni Association
2004-present     Member, Interagency Institute for Federal Healthcare Executives
1999-present     Member, Army Nurse Corps Association
1997-present     Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives
1995-2005         Member, Emergency Nurses' Association
1985-Present    Member, Sigma Theta Tau