Category Archives: Nursing

ECU faculty members inducted as FAANS

College of Nursing faculty members Dr. Sonya Hardin, left, and Dr. Donna Lake, right, were inducted as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. They are pictured at the induction ceremony with Dr. Susan Kennerly, a professor in the College of Nursing who was inducted as a Fellow in 2016. (Contributed photos)

College of Nursing faculty members Dr. Sonya Hardin, left, and Dr. Donna Lake, right, were inducted as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. They are pictured at the induction ceremony with Dr. Susan Kennerly, a professor in the College of Nursing who was inducted as a Fellow in 2016. (Contributed photos)

Two East Carolina University (ECU) faculty members were recently inducted as fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. The College of Nursing’s Dr. Sonya Hardin and Dr. Donna Lake were honored during a ceremony at the academy’s annual conference Oct. 5-7, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

“I am proud to welcome this talented cohort of nurses as they join the ranks of the nation’s foremost health care thought leaders,” said Academy President Bobbie Berkowitz. “They bring a rich variety of expertise to the table, and we look forward to recognizing their accomplishments at our policy conference, and then working with them to transform health policy, practice, and research by applying our collective nursing knowledge.”

Selection criteria include evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care, and sponsorship by two current Academy fellows. Applicants are reviewed by a panel comprised of elected and appointed fellows, and selection is based, in part, on the extent the nominee’s nursing career has influenced health policies and the health and wellbeing of all.

Dr. Sonya Hardin

Dr. Sonya Hardin

Hardin is a professor and the associate dean of Graduate Nursing Programs in the College of Nursing. She leads an interdisciplinary team as the program director for a $2.5 million Health Resources & Services Administration-funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program grant.

With extensive national service with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses setting national standards and developing the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care, Hardin has impacted more than 80,000 acute and critical care nurses currently certified worldwide in adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care. She has disseminated the model through consulting at hospitals across the United States. She is certified in critical care and as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. She received her nurse practitioner training from ECU, a PhD from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and post-doctoral fellowships at UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford University.

“It is an honor to be selected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing,” Hardin said. “My goal has been to make a difference in the outcomes of patient care and to strengthen the profession through patient advocacy. I am excited to have an opportunity to work with leaders within the US and from around the world to advance health policy and clinical practice.”

Lake is a clinical associate professor of advanced nursing practice and education. She has extensive international experience leading healthcare and academic teams within the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Africa. Prior to ECU, she spent 25 years in various executive and clinical nursing roles culminating as Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. She has also played an instrumental role in the improvement of corporate quality policies, health promotion and primary care for 68 medical facilities worldwide.

Dr. Donna Lake

Dr. Donna Lake

Lake is the only nurse representative on the $11 million American Medical Association grant-funded initiative Redesigning Education to Accelerate Change in Healthcare (REACH), creating the first of its kind “Teachers in Quality Academy.” She received her BSN from Stony Brook University of New York, a Master’s of Education from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD from Touro University.

“Being inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing is a very exciting and a prestigious honor,” Lake said. “Having met many of the Fellows during the induction and conference, it was incredible to learn of their expansive clinical, research, and global and national leadership impacts to the profession of nursing and healthcare delivery systems.

“I am more energized and look forward to my Fellow responsibilities and ECU faculty role to continue my work in engaging with other health leaders in transforming American’s health system, strengthening nursing and health delivery systems, nationally and internationally.”

Hardin and Lake are among 11 inductees from the state of North Carolina this year. They join five other current ECU College of Nursing faculty members as FAANs.

The academy is comprised of more than 2,500 nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy and research. Fellows include hospital and government administrators, college deans and renowned scientific researchers.

 

-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communications

Laupus Library exhibits “Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection”

Laupus Library is hosting the traveling exhibit “Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection” in the Evelyn Fike Laupus gallery on the fourth floor of the library.

On display from Oct. 23 through Dec. 2, the six-banner exhibit explores a unique archive of 2,588 postcards and over 100 years of images of nurses and the nursing profession from around the world, investigating the hold these images exert on the public imagination — then and now.

The postcard is a fleeting and widespread art form influenced by popular ideas about social and cultural life in addition to fashions in visual style. Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards for over 100 years. In fact, no other art form has illustrated the nursing profession so profusely using such a variety of artistic styles and images.

These images of nurses and nursing are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men and work; and attitudes toward class, race and national differences. By documenting the relationship of nursing to significant forces in 20th-century life, such as war and disease, these postcards reveal how nursing was seen during those times.

The exhibition highlights only a small selection from the 2,588 postcards of the Zwerdling Postcard Collection, but over 500 more are available to view in the exhibition’s online digital gallery at http://nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/picturesofnursing/digitalgallery.

A “Pictures of Nursing” exhibit reception will be held on Nov. 16 from 4-6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the library and is open to the public. During the program a special collection of nursing artifacts from the Country Doctor Museum will be on display and museum curator Anne Anderson will speak about the history of nursing and healthcare during the early and mid-twentieth century.

“We were really delighted to have been selected as a host site for this exhibit, not only because we like connecting our nursing students and faculty with their profession’s past, but it also allows us a really great opportunity to showcase some of our excellent nursing artifacts from the Country Doctor Museum,” said Beth Ketterman, director for Laupus Library. “It’s a real pleasure whenever we can connect our students with the past in such a tangible way.”

The exhibit is available during operating hours posted at www.ecu.edu/laupuslibrary/about/hours.cfm, or call 252-744-2219.

The exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and curated by Julia Hallam, PhD.

For more information about the exhibit visit www.nlm.nih.gov/picturesofnursing or contact Kelly Dilda at 252-744-2232 or rogerske@ecu.edu.

 

-by Kelly R. Dilda, University Comunications

Webinar series helps nurses grow

Nurses in eastern North Carolina will have an innovative way to develop as leaders, thanks in part to a new webinar program starting this month.

The Emerging Leaders Institute Webinar Series, developed by the East Carolina Consortium for Nursing Leadership (ECCNL) and Eastern Area Health Education Center, offers six monthly webinars for nurses currently serving or aspiring to serve in leadership roles. These live one-hour webinars will cover various topics such as leadership competencies, communication and collaboration, mentoring and coaching, multigenerational workforce, patient safety and quality improvements, and emotional intelligence. The first webinar is Oct. 18; the deadline to register is Oct. 11.

Dr. Gina Woody, College of Nursing faculty member. (contributed photo)

Dr. Gina Woody, College of Nursing faculty member. (contributed photo)

“Participants will develop leadership skills that will enable them to grow personally and professionally and serve as leaders and change agents in promoting and shaping the future of health care,” said ECCNL Director Dr. Gina Woody, clinical professor in the College of Nursing at East Carolina University.

This program is open to nurses across the region in any practice setting. Nurses can register individually for any combination of webinars up to a week before each event. A discount is available on all six webinars through Oct. 11.

An agency subscription rate, which was available for employers who wished to make the webinars available to all their staff, allows teams to gather together and hear from content experts, according to Donna Moses, director of nursing and allied health education at Eastern AHEC. “It is our hope that the conversation continues after the webinar, where participants share their leadership insights and mentor new leaders and access further resources within their own organization,” Moses said.

“This innovative project is but one example of the consortium’s ongoing commitment to mobilize nurses to be influential leaders in promoting healthier communities,” Woody said. “The consortium promotes the personal and professional development of nurse executives, managers, clinicians, educators and other related health care professionals employed in all types of settings. At the end of this series the participant will be able to synthesize concepts of leadership, management, change, teamwork and communication as they relate to the role of the nurse leader.”

The Consortium for Nursing Leadership was established by the ECU College of Nursing in 2006 to promote leadership development for both students and practicing nurses through education, research and scholarship.

“We look forward to working with Eastern AHEC to help the people of eastern North Carolina by increasing educational opportunities for all nurses,” Woody said.

Moses added, “Leadership is the most desired and difficult skill set to develop. It has been said that it is lonely at the top. It doesn’t have to be when teams realize that leadership is a shared responsibility.”

Nurses who wish to register should first check with their chief nursing officer or chief administrator to see if a series subscription was purchased by their agency.

For more information on this program, contact the Eastern AHEC Department of Nursing and Allied Health Education at 252-744-5220 or visit www.easternahec.net.

All webinars will be held 12-1 p.m.

Webinar schedule

October 18: Identify and Develop Your Leadership Competencies

November 15: Communication and Collaboration: The Importance of Nurses and Physician Relationship in Leading Patient Care

December 13: Modeling the Way: Mentoring and Coaching

January 17: Cultivating Leaders Across Generations

February 21: Improving Patient Safety and Quality Improvements within Health Systems

March 21: Building Emotional Intelligence

 

-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC

ECU’s College of Nursing offers new Master of Nursing Science concentration

A new online program launched this semester by ECU’s College of Nursing is poised to help the region address its shortage of mental health care professionals. Graduates of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program will earn a Master of Nursing Science (MSN) degree or a post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, of the nearly 234,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, only 1.8 percent are certified in psychiatric and mental health care. In 2012, the North Carolina Medical Journal reported that 95 percent of all North Carolina counties had an unmet need for medical providers who can prescribe psychiatric medications — a deficit that psychiatric nurse practitioners are able to fill.

For patients enrolled in government sponsored health insurance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, it can be even harder to access mental health care. The National Council for Behavioral Health reported in March that 40 percent of psychiatrists do not accept third-party reimbursements.

“I was in private practice for 20 years, so I can appreciate that,” said Wanda Lancaster, the director of the new program. “But we know this special population struggles with issues such as substance abuse or schizophrenia and tend to not have insurance. And nurse practitioners are more likely to be in clinics that accept Medicaid and Medicare.”

Lancaster said the program will have a special emphasis in treating patients that suffer from substance abuse, severe and persistent mental illness, and PTSD. Several of the students will be placed in Veterans Affairs hospitals to complete their clinical hours as well as area state psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, and detox centers.

“This is going to help the people of eastern North Carolina and across the state,” said Lancaster. “Because right now psychiatric beds are limited due to a great staffing shortage. This is causing issues for local emergency rooms with mental health patients spending days waiting on bed availability.”

Lancaster said completing ECU’s new program gives students an opportunity to gain an in-depth education and clinical experience in psychiatric care that “elevates the scope and standard of practice.” This will enable students to take the national certification exam, which ensures quality and competence and is now required for reimbursement in this specialty.

The program is only open to residents of North Carolina and admission preference is given to those currently practicing in mental health settings or who plan to deliver direct mental health care upon graduation. Currently, there are 13 post master’s certificate students and nine MSN students enrolled in the program.

For more information about the program visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/nursing/masters_pmh.cfm

College of Nursing welcomes 125 new students

More than 100 ECU students were officially introduced to the nursing profession during the College of Nursing’s twice-annual Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31.

The ceremony, held in the Brody School of Medicine auditorium, recognized 125 new students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program as family and friends looked on.

Meaghan Brown receives her lamp pin from a classmate at the College of Nursing’s Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Meaghan Brown receives her lamp pin from a classmate at the College of Nursing’s Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

During the ceremony Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the college, reminded students of the university’s dedication to service, a value shared by the college and the nursing profession. She emphasized Gallup Poll data that has consistently pointed to nursing as the most trusted profession among all professions, and urged new students to remain honest and ethical in order to preserve that trust.

“That is a wonderful characteristic that we want to maintain and instill in our nursing students,” she said.

Dr. Annette Peery, associate dean for undergraduate programs, introduced each student on stage as Brown presented him or her with a gold lamp pin representing Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The lamp symbol signifies service and light, and is also featured on the College of Nursing pin that students receive at graduation.

“As you wear that pin, think of these symbols and what they mean, particularly your orientation to service as part of the profession,” Brown said.

Nursing student Taylor Harrison recites the College of Nursing pledge at the Lamp of Learning ceremony at the Brody School of Medicine on Aug. 31.

Nursing student Taylor Harrison recites the College of Nursing pledge at the Lamp of Learning ceremony at the Brody School of Medicine on Aug. 31.

Krista Whitley, a nursing student from Kinston, was among those having pins affixed to their purple scrubs.

“It’s really special,” she said. “It makes me want to work even harder. Ever since high school I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I job shadowed in high school and observed a couple of surgeries. It really pumped me up and made me want to be a nurse.”

Admission to the College of Nursing’s BSN program is very competitive. In addition to meeting the university and college requirements, students’ scores on a required national pre-admission exam are taken into account along with their GPA, enrollment status and other factors. Students accepted into the program this year had an average GPA of 3.7.

Phyllis Burt attended the ceremony to watch her daughter Heavenlee Burt receive her pin.

“She worked hard for this and I love her. I am very proud of her,” Burt said. “I came a long way just to catch her in this moment. I think the world is going to be a better place.”

 

-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

ECU Colleges of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences open joint research hub

The process of finding new ways to help patients live healthier lives may have just become a little easier for faculty in East Carolina University’s College of Allied Health Sciences and College of Nursing.

The two colleges have been working together on research for years, but a new collaborative research hub promises to make the grant application and administration process more efficient, leaving faculty members more time to focus on improving patient outcomes and overall health and wellness.

The CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub, located on the university’s West Campus in the Health Sciences Building, aims to maximize support for faculty members by providing the administrative components involved in pursuing grants and conducting the research funded by them? It is the first collaborative research hub on the university’s health sciences campus.

Associate Deans for Research and Scholarship Dr. Patricia Crane, from nursing, and Dr. Heather Harris Wright, from allied health, will oversee the hub along with an administrative board that includes the colleges’ associate deans for research and Interim Health Sciences Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Kathy Verbanac.

From left, Susan Howard, Jessica Miller and Latoya Sahadeo will staff the new CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub. (Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)

From left, Susan Howard, Jessica Miller and Latoya Sahadeo will staff the new CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub.
(Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)

“The point of it is to capitalize on resources,” Crane said at the hub’s open house on May 18. “Traditionally, in each college we’ve had one person that did pre- and post-award (grant management),” Crane said. “If that person was out sick or we had more than one grant, or we had multiple grants or someone was on vacation, we were just lost. We’d have to go find someone else. It was a struggle.”

Creating a central hub to help faculty with administrative grant work was a perfect solution given that the two colleges have been collaborating on research efforts for years. Nursing’s three-year, $2.5 million Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant involves the CAHS’s Physician Assistant Studies program, and the three-year, $2.1 million grant from the Versant Center for the Advancement of Nursing involves the CAHS Department of Health Sciences & Information Management.

The hub will have one pre-award grant manager and two post-award grant managers. Jessica Miller, the pre-award grant manager, will provide budget support and preparation, seek out funding opportunities and help faculty with grant application development. Post-award managers Latoya Sahadeo and Susan Howard specialize in different types of grant management and will aid faculty members once a grant has been awarded.

“All the funding agencies, while there are some commonalities, they’re so vastly different in expectations and how they’re administered, and the rules and regulations associated with them,” Crane said. “This allows us to designate people that that’s their area of expertise. Instead of being a generalist in everything, now we have two experts in that for post-award.”

Wright agreed that the additional resource provided to faculty by the hub would be helpful as they pursue new research.

“As the funding portfolio for College of Allied Health Sciences continues to diversify and more faculty are seeking external funding to support their programmatic lines of research, increased support for pre- and post-award grant activities is needed,” she said. “The Hub will greatly benefit faculty across both colleges. We will be able to provide more support for the faculty and allow them to focus their time and energy on their science by providing them support in identifying funding opportunities, helping with proposal development, and administrative support.”

 

 

-by Natalie Sayewich 

 

Annual lecture series focuses on academic writing

A recent lecture series hosted by East Carolina University’s College of Nursing aimed to help nursing faculty members increase their academic writing.

The 9th annual Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series on April 6 featured presentations by Dr. Kim Skarupski, associate dean for faculty development at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Dr. Paul Silvia, a Lucy Spinks Keker Excellence Professor in the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s Department of Psychology and the author of How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing.

Dr. Kim Skarupski discusses how faculty members can dedicate more time to writing during the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series on April 6 at Eastern Area Health Education Center. (Photos by Conley Evans)

Dr. Kim Skarupski discusses how faculty members can dedicate more time to writing during the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series on April 6 at Eastern Area Health Education Center. (Photos by Conley Evans)

In her presentation, Skarupski discussed how faculty members can learn to prioritize writing every day and make it a habit amidst a full schedule of other duties. She recommended writing accountability groups, or WAGs, where participants convene regularly to work on writing and to encourage and hold each other accountable for reaching their goals.

“This is not an option if you’re an academic,” Skarupski said of writing. “You have to do the scholarship portion… The mantra should be, ‘Writing is my job. I do my job every day.’”

She said it’s important for busy faculty members to carve out a small amount of time for writing each day and to remain dedicated to that specific amount of time — no more and no less.

“The whole concept of a WAG is to get people to write more frequently, more regularly, because you’re trying to establish a habit, but for shorter durations,” she said.

Skarupski also suggested expanding the definition of writing to include actions that aren’t necessarily putting words on paper, but that are necessary elements for the writing process. This could include collecting data, copying tables and sending emails requesting information.

Copies of How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, written by visiting scholar Dr. Paul Silvia, were distributed to participants of the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series.

Copies of How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, written by visiting scholar Dr. Paul Silvia, were distributed to participants of the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series.

“Once you expand your definition of writing, you’re taking a huge weight off your shoulders,” she said. “Now it’s not just words, words, words. Now it’s all those components,” Skarupski said. “If you expand that definition of writing, now when you have a 10-minute block open because a meeting ended early or a student cancelled on you…smart objectives are being met.”

Silvia, who studies the psychology of creativity and what makes things interesting, also recommended consistency in writing over scheduling large writing “binges.”

“Because time is so self-renewing and self-replenishing until it isn’t, we really take it for granted,” he said. “So we don’t use it as well as we could.”

Silvia used the example of faculty who lose two weeks of potential writing time because they rationalize the decision not to write the week before spring break – because they are “building up to it” – and not to write the week after spring break – because they are “burnt out.”

“So for whole swaths of the semester, people just totally abandon it,” he said. “Today, there might not be four hours, but there’s an hour, and that might be the only hour we have this week. The slow and steady approach is very powerful.”

The Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series began in 2007 through the generosity of ECU faculty members and spouses Dr. Mary Ann Rose, professor of nursing, and Dr. Walter Pories, professor of surgery and biochemistry. Rose and Pories named the series after Pories’ uncle, a World War II veteran, to honor the nurses who cared for him throughout an extended illness.

 

-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

College of Nursing inducts 10 into Hall of Fame

The East Carolina College of Nursing inducted 10 members into its Hall of Fame on Friday, March 31, during a ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel Greenville. The event, which also recognized the college’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus, honors outstanding contributors to nursing in the areas of education, administration, research and practice.

The college of Nursing inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame and honored its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at the Hilton Greenville. From left, Polly Johnson, Genemarie McGee, Debra Pomeroy, Sharon Overton, Donna Montana-Rhodes, Linda Hofler, Dean Sylvia Brown, Donna Gardner, Jean Matthews, Jayne Holland, Sonya Hardin and Mary Holland. (Photos by Conley Evans)

The college of Nursing inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame and honored its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at the Hilton Greenville. From left, Polly Johnson, Genemarie McGee, Debra Pomeroy, Sharon Overton, Donna Montana-Rhodes, Linda Hofler, Dean Sylvia Brown, Donna Gardner, Jean Matthews, Jayne Holland, Sonya Hardin and Mary Holland. (Photos by Conley Evans)

This year’s class includes inductees that hold leadership roles in major medical centers, the CEO of a statewide nonprofit nursing organization, esteemed nursing faculty members and one former U.S. Navy commander.

The Hall of Fame has raised approximately $94,000 for a merit-based student scholarship fund since its inception in 2011.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Linda Hofler, left, and College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Linda Hofler, left, and College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown.

“The Hall of Fame was established to recognize the service of nurses who are considered to be among the most highly regarded nurse leaders and to acknowledge the significant impact that inductees have made to the advancement of nursing,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “This Hall of Fame not only recognizes our outstanding leaders, but is another way to give back to future generations of nurses.”

The 2016-2017 Hall of Fame Scholarship recipient, Kelly Bulloch, a master’s student in the nurse anesthetist program, was recognized at the event.

The 2017 inductees join a list of 90 Hall of Fame members. Each new member receives a flame-shaped award that resembles the lamp illustrated on the college’s nursing pin. The lamp and its associated flame symbolize a commitment to service and a vibrant life. This year’s Hall of Fame class:

  • Donna Jean Gardner, Freeport, PA
  • Sonya Hardin, Greenville, NC
  • Jayne Holland, Savannah, GA
  • Mary Holland, Greenville, NC
  • Polly Johnson, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Jean Matthews, Ahoskie, NC
  • Genemarie McGee, Chesapeake, VA
  • Donna Montana-Rhodes, Washington, NC
  • Sharon Overton, Greenville, NC
  • Debra Pomeroy, Winterville, NC

On a night set aside for celebrating influential nurse leaders, the college also recognized the recipient of its 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award. This year’s awardee is Linda Hofler of Greenville, who earned both her master’s and PhD in nursing from ECU. Hofler serves as the senior vice president — nurse executive at Vidant Medical Center, the level-one trauma center that serves a 29-county region in eastern North Carolina.

Learn more about the College of Nursing’s Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumnus Award by visiting www.nursing.ecu.edu/hof.cfm.

 

 

-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

College of Nursing graduate named Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate

Jonathan Jeffries, a recent graduate of East Carolina University’s College of Nursing, was named a Distinguished Graduate at his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December.

The honor is given to the top 10 percent of the Air Force ROTC graduating class nationwide, which this year included 1,815 graduates from 144 detachments. The award is predicated on success and leadership in academics, ROTC and in the community.

Jonathan Jeffries, right, receives a sabre in recognition of being named a Distinguished Graduate during his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December. (Contributed photo)

Jonathan Jeffries, right, receives a sabre in recognition of being named a Distinguished Graduate during his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December. (Contributed photo)

“I think he’s the whole person concept as far as what we would need as a leader,” said Lt. Col. Roxane Engelbrecht, Jeffries’ commanding officer who nominated him for the award. “He is physically fit and he excels academically — those are the first two things. The third is leadership quality and his ability to lead groups of people, not only in the Air Force and Air Force ROTC, but his demonstrated leadership at the university is somewhat unparalleled by most cadets.”

Jeffries was the College of Nursing’s fall 2016 senior class president. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing in December with a 3.89 GPA. He helped to organize a relief effort to aid Greenville flood victims following Hurricane Matthew in the fall of 2016. He also spearheaded his class’s efforts to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society during the 2016 Walk MS fundraiser.

Engelbrecht has nominated five cadets for the award since she came to ECU in 2014. Of those, Jeffries is one of four to have been selected as a recipient.

“It was a huge shock and a huge honor,” Jeffries said of the award, which came in the form of a sabre Engelbrecht presented him at the ceremony. “I’m not one to care about being recognized, but when it does happen it’s definitely nice to see all the effort and all the hard work you’ve put in – throughout your time either with ROTC or at the College of Nursing – be recognized. It was a surreal moment. It was probably one of the best days of my life so far.”

Prior to attending ECU, Jeffries served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three and a half years, but separated from that branch after being injured in pre-deployment training.

Jeffries plans to make a career as an Air Force nurse. He will go to Arizona in February for the Air Force’s 10-week nursing training before being stationed at Eglin Air Force base in Florida.

 

-by Natalie Sayewich

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