By Charlotte Underwood

LAFOLLETTE, TN. (WLAF)- Campbell County Rotary Club members learned about good health practices for longevity at Tuesday’s Rotary Club Luncheon.

Tennova Nurse Practitioner Rebekah Blair guest spoke at Rotary at the LaFollette United Methodist Church.

Blair is from Ohio and moved to Tennessee in 2007.

She worked as a medical assistant and quickly decided she wanted to pursue a further career in the medical field with Tennova.

Tennova Nurse Practitioner Rebekah Blair guest spoke at the Campbell County Rotary Club Luncheon on Tuesday.

“As a medical assistant, I knew there was a great need for more medical staff here in this rural area,” Blair said.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing from South College and became an ER nurse at Tennova in LaFollette.

“I worked through the Pandemic and during that time, I really saw the needs of rural health, so I pursued and obtained my master’s in science from Lincoln Memorial University as a nurse practitioner,” Blair said.

She spoke on some of the needs for a rural health population. 

“Patients in this area need the proper education about their health care. It’s all about promoting health and making sure people understand about vaccinations, or if they are diabetic to encourage healthy lifestyles. When I look at the community and living in a rural health community, patients need access to education to learn what measures they need to work with their illness and what preventative health measures they can take as well,” Blair said.

She touched on how important it is to have nurse practitioners in rural areas to make up for the lack of enough providers.

“Providers are in lower numbers in rural areas and having nurse practitioners increases the number of providers in a rural area,” Blair said.

Her study of focus at LMU was “promoting medical access in rural areas.”

“Tennova has done wonderful bringing specialists in, which helps so people don’t have to leave the community to go to Knoxville to get the care they need. We have cardiology, wound care, and others, orthopedics will be coming on board soon too; I can’t wait to see how it grows,” Blair said.

She gave some advice on how to be healthier, saying the most important was having a healthy diet and daily exercise.

“Steps to take to improve health can be as simple as walking 20 minutes a day; it will improve your quality of life. As we age, it is important to stay active,” Blair said.

She encouraged a heart healthy diet with low sodium such as lean meats like chicken and fish to improve overall health.

“Diets need to be tailored to meet your needs, such as if you’re diabetic or have heart health needs. Visit with your primary care physician and have them tailor a diet to fit your health needs,” Blair said. 

She also said it was never too early to work on your health and encouraged parents to “lead by example for your kids with what you eat and how active you are.”

“You can still promote healthy eating at home, and it starts at the dinner table,” Blair said.