Jun 202014
 

Labor and delivery nurses care for women during one of life’s most transformative events. For Dorothy “Dot” Marshall Cummings, who guided hundreds of women through childbirth during her career, working with new mothers and babies was more than a job. It was her passion.

Cummings worked as a labor and delivery nurse for nearly four decades in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. A mother of six, she was known among colleagues for her eagerness to teach new moms how to care for their babies and for her commitment to mentoring young nurses.

Cummings, second from right in the front row, in her nursing class photo.

Cummings, second from right in the front row, in her nursing class photo.

“She adored children,” said her daughter, Sue Collier (BSN ’81, MSN ’91), who explained that even as she approached the end of her life at age 84, her mom drew others to her with the same engaging personality that so many of her patients loved.

To honor her mother’s lifelong commitment to nursing, Collier created the Dorothy Marshall Cummings Nursing Honors Scholarship. The new award will support full-time students who are enrolled in both the East Carolina University College of Nursing and the ECU Honors College. Students considered for the scholarship must, like Cummings, have an interest in maternal and child health care.

The award is one of two College of Nursing honors scholarships established this year. ECU alumni James and Selba Morris Harris of Alpharetta, Georgia, recently established the James and Selba Harris Honors Scholarship. That scholarship honors Selba Harris (BSN ’64), who graduated as part of the College of Nursing’s first class.

“It is the generosity of alumni like these that helps make the dream of becoming a nurse possible for our students,” said College of Nursing Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown. “We are so appreciative of their willingness to give back to their alma mater.”

It’s fitting that a nursing honors scholarship is named after Cummings, who embodied nursing’s motto of “service” long past retirement and years after learning she had Alzheimer’s disease. As a long-term resident at Golden LivingCenter in Greenville, she endeared herself to staff and other residents with her concern for the well being of others.

“If there was a resident who was upset across the room, she would try to get to them and comfort them,” said Tracy Taft, who cared for Cummings as an aide at Golden Living Center. “She still tried to help, even it was just holding your hand. That was her heart, that was the kind of person Dot was.”

Cummings’ love for nursing was so great that it inspired others to pursue it as a profession. Witnessing her dedication to helping others inspired Taft to go back to school and become a registered nurse.

“I knew she was a nurse and I wanted to give my life to helping take care of people, even if it wasn’t her,” she said.

Sue Collier

Sue Collier

Collier herself was inspired by her mother to become a nurse, dreaming of entering the profession from the time she was a little girl. Today the ECU College of Nursing graduate serves as a performance improvement specialist for patient-family engagement with the NC Quality Center at the North Carolina Hospital Association.

The scholarship is a way of building the future of the profession that has been so important to both Collier and her mother.

“A scholarship like this can be the difference between someone not finishing the program or not going to school and becoming a future nurse,” she said, urging others with the means to join her giving efforts.

And the fact that the scholarship honors a wonderful woman at the same time? It doesn’t get much better than that for Collier.

“I think the greatest way to remember someone is to help someone else,” she said.

If you are interested in contributing to this scholarship or setting up your own, please contact Mark Alexander at alexanderma@ecu.edu or 252-744-2324.

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Jun 032014
 
ECU ROTC cadet Teddy Protonentis

ECU ROTC cadet Teddy Protonentis holds the flag during a Veterans Day ceremony on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University’s graduate programs in nursing and business rank among the nation’s best in online education for veterans, according to a listing released May 20 by U.S. News & World Report.

The ECU College of Nursing ranked second in the country for masters of nursing programs. The online Master of Business Administration program in the ECU College of Business ranked 15 in the nation.

Now in its second year, U.S. News ranked bachelor’s programs and online master’s programs in business, computer information technology, education, engineering and nursing to help veterans and service members identify high-quality online degree programs to pursue college or advanced degrees under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“Veterans and active-duty service members face unique challenges as students, from transitioning between bases and grappling with deployment to balancing work and family life upon return,” said Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, noting the programs’ flexibility.

ECU’s College of Nursing offers seven online options in the master’s of science nursing program: adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery.

Students have previously completed undergraduate education in nursing and often have extensive clinical experience. Online coursework is augmented by periodic campus visits for hands-on training and education that is overseen by experienced faculty and community-based preceptors close to the students’ home.

“Our online graduate programs offer the flexibility that veterans and active-duty service members need,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, College of Nursing dean. “We’re proud that this flexibility gives those who have served our country access to a first-class nursing education.”

During the 2012-2013 academic year, 45 military veterans and active service members were enrolled in the College of Nursing’s online nursing programs.

The online program in ECU’s College of Business is the largest online MBA program in the UNC system. This spring, there were 21 graduate students and 92 undergraduate students identified as veterans who were enrolled in the College of Business.

“Ties between business institutions and the military are crucial to developing leaders who make a difference in their communities,” said Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business. “The College of Business is proud to enable members of the military to earn their business degrees online, providing new tools and knowledge that prepare them for their next chapter of life. In turn, veterans bring a level of leadership and maturity to our program, enhancing discussions and adding value for their fellow students.”

ECU’s bachelor’s programs ranked 52 in the listing.

ECU, geographically, sits in the center of the third most concentrated military corridor in the country. Craven, Cumberland, Onslow and Wayne counties are home to six major military installations – the biggest are Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune – with approximately 125,000 veterans living in the four counties or a neighboring county.

ECU’s Student Veterans Services provides a seamless transition for veterans – both academically and socially – by helping them become fully integrated into the ECU community, said Trish Goltermann, assistant director of Student Veteran Services. “Our office helps ensure that student veterans are successful in their academic pursuits, adjust to the campus environment, and eventually, transition to civilian employment,” she said.

To be ranked by U.S. News, an online degree program had to report participation in four key programs that offer educational benefits to people with military service, such as the GI Bill and membership in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium. The programs also had to be included in the U.S. News 2014 Best Online Programs rankings released earlier this year. Those programs were measured on criteria including affordability, faculty credentials, student services and reputation, according to U.S. News.

The complete listing can be viewed at http://www.usnews.com.

Apr 302014
 

When the National Student Nurses Association Convention was held April 9-13, in Nashville, Tenn., the East Carolina University College of Nursing was hard to miss. More than 20 East Carolina Association of Nursing Students members attended the 62nd Annual event, with several of those presenting research posters or being honored as awardees.

ECANS_webECANS President Rachel L’Esperance accepted the grand prize for NSNA’s InTouch contest at the event. ECANS won first place in the 2013-2014 membership recruitment contest by attracting 129 new NSNA members. In addition to sponsored prizes, the group received one trip to the convention, including airfare, accommodations and registration.

“I love helping others, and that’s why I want to be a nurse,” said L’Esperance, a senior nursing student. “I love helping others professionally as well and giving everyone an opportunity to know about our organization.”

ECNAS, the North Carolina Association of Nursing Students and the parent entity NSNA are pre-professional organizations meant to aid students’ entrance into the nursing profession by giving them access to resources such as networking and leadership opportunities.

Also honored at the convention was first-year nursing student Corrie Hansen. Hansen is recipient of the Thomas H. Edwards Memorial Endowed Scholarship, given by the National Student Nurses Association’s foundation. The $2,000 scholarship will help offset Hansen’s tuition costs.

Additionally, eight ECANS students presented two poster presentations at the conference. Kelsey Bergstedt, Sydney Howard, Corrie Hansen and ECU dental student Sarah Loren Moles presented “Oral Health: Interdisciplinary Approach to Community Health Education.” Aaron Seigh, Kristyn Ruitenberg, Kaitlin Meade and Miranda Brady presented “Dollars and Sense: The Journey to NSNA Chapter Success.”

Clinical Associate Professor Gina Woody and Clinical Assistant Professor Mark Hand, the group’s faculty advisers, also attended the conference. The convention featured keynote speakers, an exhibit hall and numerous networking events for the students as well as faculty in attendance.

(Pictured from left to right are: students and NSNA conference attendees Kelsey Bergstedt, Corrie Hansen and Rachel L’Esperance.)

For more CON news, visit www.nursing.ecu.edu/news.aspx and follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact willye14@ecu.edu.

Apr 112014
 

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses a public health intervention you developed, you know you’ve done something right.

For Dr. Anonia Villarruel, that “something right” was conducting extensive research to determine the efficacy of ¡Cuídate!, a sexual risk-reduction program for Latino adolescents. The program is one of only several such initiatives to have demonstrated effectiveness for both Spanish and English speakers.

Villarruel, the Nola J. Pender Collegiate Chair and Associate Dean for Research and Global Affairs at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, discussed her research as part of the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series at the East Carolina University College of Nursing on April 8.

Villarruel, who will assume the role of dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in July, said that ¡Cuídate! uses activities such as role-play and group discussion. The program helps adolescents develop knowledge and skills to reduce their risk of STDs, HIV and unplanned pregnancy through strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use.

She tested the intervention with at-risk youth in Philadelphia, with both youth and parents in Mexico, and with parents in a computer-based version of the program. The randomized controlled trials she conducted showed that participating youths had reduced incidence of unprotected sex and increased condom use.

“You have an adult that’s engaged with a student, listening to them, not talking down to them, accepting to them,” she said about the program. “That’s what I think the magic is.”

2014-04-08 13.11.09

It was that success that caught the attention of Dr. Kim Larson, associate professor in the ECU Department of Undergraduate Nursing Science. She consulted with Villarruel over the course of several years to bring ¡Cuídate! to eastern North Carolina in 2013. Larson and a team of academic and community partners worked with two public schools to study the program’s efficacy with a new Latino sub-group in a rural region of the southern United States.

“Our pilot study successfully implemented ¡Cuídate! with adolescents of Mexican and Central American origin in a rural, conservative geographic region of the country using a community-based participatory research approach,” Larson said. “This was a pilot study that will provide data for a community-level intervention trial to further advance the research in this area.”

In closing her talk, Villarruel encouraged the audience to consider the policy implications of their research. She also emphasized the importance of communicating research results not just with medical practitioners but also with the public.

“It’s about somebody else taking on that banner and moving it forward to better their community,” she said. “I think that is the work that we are all about.”

The Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series is sponsored by the ECU College of Nursing and the Sigma Theta Tau Beta Nu chapter.

The series began in 2007 through the generosity of ECU faculty members Dr. Mary Ann Rose, professor and chair of the department of graduate nursing science, and Dr. Walter Pories, professor and surgery and biochemistry. The couple named the series in memory of Pories’ uncle, who greatly respected the nurses who cared for him throughout an extended illness.

(Pictured from left to right are: Brenda Nuncio, program director at Wayne County Cooperative Extension; Larson; Villarruel; and Dr. Sharon Ballard, chair of the ECU Department of Child Development and Family Relations. Ballard, Larson, Nuncio and two school health nurses who are not pictured made up the research team that implemented ¡Cuídate! in North Carolina.)

Want more CON news? Visit our news page or follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact willye14@ecu.edu.

Apr 012014
 

Nurses who work in bariatric surgery units or care for patients who are morbidly obese face unique challenges. A conference being held Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, at the Greenville Hilton Hotel will give the health care professionals educational tools they need to help care for this specific type of patient.

The conference, “The Many Faces of Bariatric Nursing,” is co-sponsored by the East Carolina University College of Nursing and the National Association of Bariatric Nurses. It will kick off with a networking reception at 7 p.m. Thursday and continue with daylong programming on Friday. Sessions will cover topics such as caring for children affected by obesity, the relationship between obesity and exercise, the effect of bariatric surgery on couples’ relationships and more. (The conference brochure, available for download here, includes the complete agenda.)

“These obese patients present many nursing challenges,” said event organizer Dr. Mary Ann Rose, explaining that issues range from safety concerns for nurses transferring patients to skin care problems for patients with a lot of weight bearing down on their joints.

rosem

Rose, who is pictured at left, is professor and chair of the department of graduate nursing science as well as founding president and emeritus board member of NABN. She said the event is an excellent continuing education opportunity. Organizers have requested that it count as .7 contact hours, which will be awarded to participants upon completion of the program.

Registration costs $100 for regular admission, $50 for ECU faculty and Vidant employees, or $25 for ECU students. Fees include the evening networking reception and daylong program as well as a one-year membership in the National Association of Bariatric Nurses.

Rose pointed to North Carolina’s relatively high obesity rates as one motivating factor for holding the event. About 28 percent of adults in the state are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The statistics are even higher in eastern North Carolina,” she said, “so we wanted to provide nurses here with an educational opportunity to support them in serving this population.”

Want more CON news? Visit our news page or follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact willye14@ecu.edu.