South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative

Keeping Nurses in Beaufort and Jasper Counties

South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative

Keeping Nurses in Beaufort and Jasper Counties

South Carolina Nurse Retention Initiative

Keeping Nurses in Beaufort and Jasper Counties


In the United States today, there is a persistent lack of diversity among healthcare professionals. Healthcare organizations must improve diversity to ensure that people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and genders are in the healthcare workforce.

Doing so has a positive impact not only on the organization itself but also on the individual patients and broader communities.

We have a leadership team of professionals from all different backgrounds who reflect the diversity of our Beaufort County community, committed to ensuring that this same level of diversity is in the SCNRI recipient group we select.


Dr. William Fuller

Dr. Fuller has had an accomplished, 40-year long career in veterinary medicine. After attending college and veterinary school at Cornell College and Iowa State University, Dr. Fuller and his family moved to Arlington, MA, where he ran a private veterinary practice for over 26 years. Dr. Fuller has been proud to call Bluffton, SC, home for the last 16 years and is working to improve our local healthcare system. He and Bob Elliott developed the SCNRI to keep nurses in Beaufort County, an effort that Dr.Fuller would love to see replicated across the state.

Dr. Fuller says that nurse retention plays a significant role in keeping the Lowcountry healthy, as the number of nurses present in local healthcare systems has a direct effect on the health and wellness of Beaufort County’s community members.


Bob Elliott

After retiring from a 38-year-long career in sales, marketing, and business management at the Dow Chemical Company, Bob Elliott, a resident of Bluffton, SC, put his love for golf and his “desire to give back” to work.

Elliott has chaired the committee responsible for the Hilton Head Hospital Auxiliary golf event fundraiser for the past five years. The event raises money for the hospital’s auxiliary programs, including scholarships for nursing students attending The University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Although this program helps nursing students enter the profession, Elliott realized there was little incentive for local BSN grads to stay in the area.

Elliott and Dr. Fuller partnered and created the SCNRI to employ nurses immediately upon graduation in Beaufort County. He says it’s been gratifying to work with Fuller on a groundbreaking program that will directly impact the health and wellness of Lowcountry residents. Elliott hopes to see programs similar to the SCNRI replicated across the state someday.


Connie Muscarella

A resident of Bluffton, SC, for the past fifteen years, Muscarella spent over twenty-five years in various Human Resource positions. As soon as she had her M.S. Degree from Auburn University in hand, she left Alabama for New York City. Her career in Human Resources began as a ‘retail’ recruiter for Lord & Taylor in their flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Thirty-plus years later, Muscarella retired as the Global Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for Thomas & Betts Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee.

When Dr. William Fuller asked Muscarella to lead the SCNRI Selection Committee, she felt like it was a “perfect fit.” She has experience in the candidate selection process, but more importantly, nursing runs in her family (Muscarella’s mother was a registered nurse).

“I am honored to be part of such an innovative program that will so positively impact our community.”

Isis Lucia Hart

Ms. Hart is a bi-lingual, fluent in Spanish, board-certified women’s health NP provider with a special interest in high-risk pregnancy, OB care, and preventative GYN. She is passionate about caring for women and has worked since 2001 in outpatient settings with diverse populations. She has always loved medicine and is thrilled to support the community as a member of the Riverside Women’s Care practice.

Hart grew up in a suburb outside of Boston and attended nursing school and later NP school in Boston, earning her WHNP and BC. She was born in Cuba, came to the US as a child, and moved to SC to avoid the NE winters in 2017. She was a national speaker/presenter for the Area Health Education Center, “Increasing Diversity in Nursing”, Las Vegas, June 2010. In March 2008, she was inducted – Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing. In 2006 and 2007 she was the Mary Clapham Endowment Scholarship Recipient, a merit-based award. In May 2005-2007, she was inducted into Iota Eta Pi Nursing Honor Society, MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is a Current Member of The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses.

When not serving patients, Hart enjoys time spent with her husband, adult children, and precious grandkids that she adores. She also enjoys her hobbies which include biking, playing pickleball, and traveling with family.


Diane Hynes

Diane Hynes was raised in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from The University of Virginia School of Nursing in 1982. She completed a year-long operating room internship at the Maine Medical Center and practiced nursing in the operating room for the next 20 years. Hynes and her husband, John, are proud parents and grandparents. They have lived in Bluffton for three years.  “It is imperative to the Lowcountry that we encourage nurses to remain locally. The area is increasing in popularity and so will the need for healthcare. Nurses are the gateway to healthcare. They are often the first and last smile and touch a patient will encounter”.


Rose Kearney- Nunnery

After holding nursing and educational administration positions in Louisiana, Florida, New York, Georgia, and South Carolina, I retired in March 2017 as Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.  I have served on various community boards addressing the health needs of the community including the Community Advisory Board for Hilton Head Regional Medical Center, the Beaufort County First Steps Board, and on the Board of Memory Matters on Hilton Head.  In the past I have also served on the South Carolina Board of Nursing and on the on the Board of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). I have a variety of publications including a text published by F.A. Davis entitled, Advancing your practice:  Concepts of Professional Nursing in its 7thedition in 2020.


Keith Brownlie

Mr. Brownlie moved to Bluffton after his retirement from Ernst & Young in 2009.  During his 36 years at EY, he had various leadership roles including 20 years as the Metro New York Area Life Science Industry Leader as well as serving on its National Life Sciences Committee.  Mr. Brownlie also co-founded the New Jersey Entrepreneur of the Year Program. He has extensive experience auditing and facilitating the public offerings of entrepreneurial growth companies, mergers and acquisitions, financing alternatives and other entrepreneurial business issues.  Since his retirement he has served on the Boards of numerous public companies as well as serving six years on the Board of Volunteers in Medicine of Hilton Head Island South Carolina where he was Vice Chairman for one year and Treasurer for four years.


“I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.” – Michael Phelps