College of Health and Human Sciences
School of Nursing
Dr. Tonya Hensley taught adjunct clinical courses at Western Carolina University for several years prior to moving into a full-time position in the Fall of 2016. She earned her DNP with a Family focus, as well as her MSN-FNP, from East Tennessee State University. Dr. Hensley is from Madison County where she started her nursing career in the CNA program during high school. She then earned an associate degree in nursing at AB Tech and a BSN from Lees McRae College. Dr. Hensley has a wide variety of nursing experience from OB care to family practice to home health and hospice. Dr. Hensley’s NP practice has been in school-based health since 2009, school-based telehealth since 2014, and corrections telehealth since 2020. She is certified in telehealth education and practice. She is a strong advocate for nurse practitioner practice, school-based health, and school-based telehealth. She involves her nurse practitioner students in telehealth visits whenever possible and brings telehealth training into the nurse practitioner and nursing courses at WCU. Dr. Hensley’s professional and research interests focus on school-based telehealth and training future providers in telehealth technologies.
Dr. Hensley enjoys teaching new FNP student in advanced physical assessment, diagnostics, and office procedures. She also loves teaching pediatric and adolescent medicine. She enjoys teaching seminar and residency classes for second year students as they prepare to go out into practice. Dr. Hensley has precepted her FNP students in pediatrics at her clinical telehealth practice. She also enjoys finding ways to use telehealth in the classroom to allow students to learn how telehealth can enhance their practice options. Most recently, she implemented a new primary care procedures course for the DNP FNP program.
Dr. Hensley’s research and grant funding has focused on childhood obesity treatment and increasing physical activity in schools. She enjoys research related to school health (relationships with teachers, administration, school nurses), childhood obesity prevention and treatment, School-Based Health Center impact on health and education, impacts telehealth in schools, school nurse attitudes of telehealth, corrections telehealth, and tele-mentoring with NP students.