College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation
Jul 102015

The East Carolina University College of Nursing has received 10 years of accreditation, the maximum granted by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The accreditation follows an extensive self-study and fall 2014 site visit, and applies to ECU’s baccalaureate, master’s and post-master’s certificate, and doctor of nursing practice programs. sim229

The DNP program, established in 2013, received the maximum five years allowed for programs undergoing initial accreditation. All of the ECU programs assessed met CCNE’s four accreditation standards and with no recommendations for changes.

“We are pleased to receive such a strong endorsement of the outstanding ongoing work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “The accreditation process itself was a team effort by every member of the college, both faculty and staff. We owe a special thanks to our taskforce for their extensive work in coordinating and collecting information for the self-study.”

The College of Nursing, which has been accredited since 1964, has more than 8,500 alumni and prepares the most new nurses of any institution in the state. It provides three pathways for nurses to earn their bachelor of science in nursing: the traditional BSN program, an accelerated second-degree option for students who already have a baccalaureate degree in another major, and the RN to BSN option for students who already have their two-year nursing degree and want to earn their BSN.

The college offers seven options in the master’s of science nursing program: adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, neonatal clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthesia, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery. The midwifery program, which is the only program of its kind in North Carolina, undergoes accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. The nurse anesthesia also undergoes a process with a specialized accrediting body, with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

The doctor of nursing practice program offers a BSN to DNP option for students with an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner focus. It also provides a post-master’s DNP option for advanced practice registered nurses. The college’s doctor of philosophy in nursing program prepares nurse scientists, with entry points for students who have their BSN, MSN or DNP.

A report provided by CCNE following the site-visit noted that testimonials from both students and community partners demonstrated the excellent quality of the college’s faculty. The accreditors also praised college staff, including the business and administrative affairs office, technology support, concept integration labs, student development and counseling, student services and marketing offices.

“The feedback we received from the accreditation team was stellar and the dedication of our faculty and staff was clearly evident,” Brown explained. “It takes a village to create such a positive learning environment for our students.”

The ECU College of Nursing is also designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, an honor bestowed on just 35 schools nationwide for outstanding achievements in student learning and professional development.


ECU Physicians recognized for exceptional use of digital records

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on ECU Physicians recognized for exceptional use of digital records
Jul 012015
ECU Physicians’ online patient portal, MyChart, allows individuals like ECU student Summer Tillman, pictured above using the MyChart web site, to access their health care team electronically.

ECU Physicians’ online patient portal, MyChart, allows individuals like ECU student Summer Tillman, pictured above using the MyChart web site, to access their health care team electronically.

The clinical practice of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has been recognized for significantly improving patient care through the use of their electronic medical record system.

ECU Physicians was recently awarded nearly $2.2 million by the federal government for demonstrating “meaningful use” of their EMR system during 2014. This designation means that every eligible ECU health care provider exceeded dozens of specific quality measures set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency that governs the use of digital health records in the U.S.

“This demonstrates that we’re using our EMR to its fullest potential to achieve greater transparency with the patient,” said Dr. Tommy Ellis, chief medical informatics officer for ECU Physicians.

“It means we’re communicating better, which leads to better data collection, which ultimately leads to better health outcomes,” Ellis said. “The only way we’re going to improve the health status of the citizens of eastern North Carolina is to improve how we collect health data from individual patients.”

Ellis said the $2.2 million award will be used to offset the cost of EMR implementation throughout ECU Physicians. This payment brings the total amount of federal stimulus payments earned by ECU Physicians to just over $8.6 million since the Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs were launched by the U.S. government in 2011. The goal of these programs is to encourage medical practices and hospitals serving Medicare and Medicaid patients to convert from paper charts to digital records.

“What we’re hearing from our colleagues elsewhere is that we’re the only organization in North Carolina to achieve this level of success with our electronic medical records system,” Ellis said. “Despite the initial headaches involved with implementing an EMR, our people stepped up to the task and have made it second-nature.”

He said the effective use of electronic medical records immediately improves the quality and safety of patient care. It empowers patients and their family members to take an active role in managing their own health because they have easy access to real-time information including lab results and treatment plans.

It also increases efficiency, Ellis said. When a patient’s data can be shared accurately and quickly between doctors and hospitals, it eliminates unnecessary duplication of tests and procedures, helps providers diagnose problems earlier and improves the coordination of care.

The ultimate goal of electronic medical records is better clinical outcomes and improved population health, Ellis said.

“This ‘meaningful use’ achievement represents a lot of hard work by many people,” said Dr. Nicholas Benson, medical director of ECU Physicians. “It validates that ECU Physicians is making the most out of our investment in EMR.”

Ellis said ECU Physicians is on track to earn the maximum incentive for 2015, and that the free online patient portal, MyChart, will play an increasingly important role to that end in coming months.

“It’s another way to improve the patient’s access to their health care provider, which strengthens the patient-provider relationship,” Ellis said. “Engaged, informed people take better care of themselves, which lowers health care costs.”

He explained that MyChart allows patients to send and receive secure messages to their health care team from their computer, tablet or smartphone, to view their test results and medication lists, to request appointments and refill prescriptions and to receive reminders about preventive and health maintenance issues like flu shots and mammograms.

More than 26,000 ECU Physicians patients are using MyChart, with an average of more than 50 new users signing up daily.

Today about three-fourths of the country’s medical practices and hospitals use electronic records, motivated in part by the federal health law tying Medicare reimbursements to how successful providers are at getting and keeping patients healthy. At the end of 2014, all ECU clinics were using the practice’s current EMR, created by the software company Epic.

Although it’s difficult to quantify the dollar amount saved by “going paperless,” Ellis said, “theoretically, the quicker you can get your hands on more information, the better decisions you can make, and in a more timely manner – which is cost-saving for patients and for health systems.”

Scott inducted as fellow in National Academies of Practice

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Scott inducted as fellow in National Academies of Practice
Jun 232015

Dr. Elaine Scott, associate professor and director of the East Carolina University Ph.D. program in nursing, has been inducted as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the Nursing Academy of the National Academies of Practice.

At a gala honoring inductees, from left: Dr. Evelyn Clingerman, vice chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Dr. Joanne Singleton, chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Scott; and Dr. Satya Verma, president of the National Academies of Practice.

At a gala honoring inductees, from left: Dr. Evelyn Clingerman, vice chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Dr. Joanne Singleton, chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Scott; and Dr. Satya Verma, president of the National Academies of Practice.

Scott was elected for fellowship based on her significant and enduring educational and research contributions to practice. Her research interests center around the concepts of leadership development and theory, transitions in practice, and patient outcomes, as well as organizational and interprofessional behavior. Most of her scholarship has focused on advancing clinical leadership capacity, new graduate transition and managing change.

Scott, a faculty member of the ECU College of Nursing since 2005, also is the founding director of the ECU-based East Carolina Center for Nursing Leadership. She is the past director of the college’s nursing leadership concentration. She is a member of the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame and a past recipient of ECU’s Scholar-Teacher Award. Prior to entering academia, Scott worked for 20 years in a variety of clinical and administrative roles, including as founder and president of a regional home health care organization in North Carolina.

The National Academies of Practice is a nonprofit organization with membership representing 14 health care professions willing to advise governmental bodies on health care. Fellows, who are elected by their peers, must have an exemplary career of 10 years or more, and be committed to interprofessional practice and accessible, affordable health care for all.

Jun 162015

Coming this fall Laupus Library will host the brand new traveling exhibition, Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions. The six-banner traveling exhibition explores the factors that have shaped the changing definitions of some of our most potent drugs, from medical miracle to social menace.

Mind-altering drdrugugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. The transformation of a particular drug, from an acceptable indulgence to a bad habit, or vice versa, is closely tied to the intentions of those endorsing its use, and their status in society. These classifications have shifted at different times in history, and will continue to change.

The exhibit will be on display from September 21 through October 31 in the Evelyn Fike Laupus exhibit gallery located on the 4th floor of Laupus Library.

A “Digital Gallery” offering a selection of digitized, historical texts from the History of Medicine Division’s diverse collections can be found as part of the online version of the exhibition. These images provide viewers with new avenues to explore beyond the exhibition. Educators will also find expanded resources online for middle school and college level classroom use.

Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions was produced by the National Library of Medicine, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and began traveling around the United States in April 2015.

 For more information, contact or visit us on the web at:


Medical school names first female surgery chair in the Southeast

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on Medical school names first female surgery chair in the Southeast
Jun 092015

TuttleNewhall,Betsy-c57The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has named a new chair for its Department of Surgery, making Brody the first medical school in the Southeast to have a female in that position.

Dr. J.E. “Betsy” Tuttle-Newhall is the seventh woman to be appointed surgery chair at any of the nation’s 200-plus medical schools, according to the Association of Women Surgeons.

Originally from Madison, Tuttle-Newhall has returned to North Carolina after serving as the division chief of abdominal transplant surgery and primary transplant surgeon at Cardinal Glennon Pediatric Hospital in St. Louis. She was also vice chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the St. Louis University Hospital School of Medicine and co-director of their Abdominal Transplant Center.

While in St. Louis, Tuttle-Newhall was the recipient of multiple clinical and teaching awards, as well as several Medals of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her efforts to improve and expand organ donation and transplantation processes.

Her research efforts have focused on living kidney donors, critical care of transplant recipients, and transplant center design and governance.

After earning a medical degree from Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1988, Tuttle-Newhall completed a surgery residency and a clinical fellowship in surgery at the New England Deaconess Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. She furthered her training with a surgical critical care fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an abdominal transplant surgery fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.

Following her fellowships, Tuttle-Newhall held several academic positions at Duke, including associate professor of surgery and critical care, and director of the medical school’s physician assistant residency in surgery.

She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in health care administration at the St. Louis University School of Public Health.