May 242013

Chances are good that you have encountered a nurse who has played a big role in helping you recover from and illness or injury during your lifetime. But, chances are low that your nurse was a male. In fact, only 6-7% of practicing nurses are men, but this statistic is beginning to change.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, based in Washington, DC, estimates that more than 11% of students currently enrolled in nursing undergraduate programs are men. East Carolina’s College of Nursing reflects this trend with approximately 80 males enrolled in our BSN program. However, specialized graduate fields like nurse-midwifery do not have as much gender diversity. In fact, Ben Kitchin is the first male nurse-midwifery student at  ECU College of Nursing.

Kitchin, a Registered Nurse from Goldsboro, spent the majority of his career working as a critical care nurse and as a flight nurse for EastCare. Now working as a labor and delivery nurse at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Kitchin began his nurse-midwifery coursework this spring. Ben makes a great point that “Good care is not gender dependent; good care is a result of good nursing care!” Nurse-Midwives care for women throughout the lifespan, as well as provide prenatal, labor and birth care.

ECU offers the only nurse-midwifery education curriculum in North Carolina. Started in 1990, over 150 nurse-midwives have graduated from the ECU College of Nursing’s MSN Nurse-Midwifery concentration. Nurse-midwifery coursework is 100% online at ECU, and students complete clinical components of the degree in healthcare centers near their hometown.

The number of male nurses is increasing every year and it is likely that you will see a male nurse in a clinical setting soon. Take a minute to ask a male nurse why he chose nursing and you will be impressed with the dedication and passion of the response!

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor
ECU College of Nursing


Apr 022013

Even though health care legislation is on the minds of everyone, it is important to take a step back and think about how important it is to care about yourself, your colleagues and your patients.

Dr. Jean Watson visits ECU this week to talk with nursing faculty, students and guests from Vidant Health Systems about her human caring theory which is a staple in clinical agencies and academic programs around the world. Watson’s theory encourages nurses to consider a caring model that includes her Ten Caritas Processes™. The processes urge nurses to be reflective and aware of patients’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Watson is the guest speaker for the annual Siegfried Lowin Distinguished Scholar Series Lecture, created by Drs. Mary Ann Rose and Walter Pories in 2007. It is named in memory of Dr. Pories’ relative, Siegfried Lowin, who died in 1989. Lowin greatly respected the nurses who cared for him throughout his extended illness and the lecture series was given to the ECU College of Nursing in his honor.

Nurses touch many lives during their daily work. Sometimes, patients and nurses do not immediately realize the significance of these touches. Be sure to notice the impact you have on others—your kind words will stay with a patient for a lifetime.

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor
ECU College of Nursing

Feb 152013

East Carolina University College of Nursing will be home to a new degree program in the fall! The UNC Board of Governors gave approval for ECU to offer a doctor of nursing practice degree beginning in August 2013.

Recent studies by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine call for nurses to achieve higher education levels to meet changing healthcare needs. For nurse practitioners and other advance practice nurses this means additional education with a strong focus on clinical practice.

East Carolina’s doctor of nursing practice program coursework is 100% online, and clinical practice sites include primary care clinics, hospitals, and public health care agencies. Students are required to attend skills sessions at the College of Nursing several times a year.

As a leader in distance education, ECU has invested in the technology and resources to make the program successful. The College of Nursing is nationally recognized for online graduate education, so the new degree will be a natural fit in a graduate program with a proven history of successful online course delivery. Students can expect interactive coursework and considerable experience with our virtual clinic environment.

The initial DNP student cohort is for master’s prepared advance practice nurses. The program will be available to Registered Nurses with bachelor’s degrees in fall 2014. Prospective students may contact Dr. Bobby Lowery, director of DNP implementation, for application information.

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor

Nov 302012

This post is the first in a series from the College of Nursing highlighting what draws nurses to the profession. We invite our nurse-readers to comment and share your “Why I Became a Nurse” story.

As I write this narrative I am looking at a photograph in my office taken at Christmas when I was about five years old.  There I am in front of a Christmas tree in a nursing uniform hand-made by my Grandmother, complete with a nurse’s cape and cap alongside a bassinet with a baby doll.

So, I guess from an early age the idea of becoming a nurse was ruminating in my mind.  However, my real ambition to become a nurse began when I was a sophomore in high school.  At this time, my Grandmother,  who I loved dearly, (the one who made my nurse’s uniform) suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.  I saw the competent care that she received by nurses in the intensive care unit, as well as the care and compassion that was shown to her and my Grandfather.  This event made it clear to me that this was the career path that I wanted to take. I then decided to take a health careers class in high school which was taught by a nurse.  She was an excellent role model and further influenced my decision to study nursing.  The reputation of ECU School of Nursing was stellar and I knew that I wanted to pursue my study at ECU.  I loved nursing from the very beginning class.

As I was completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that one day I wanted to also teach nursing.  I truly admired the faculty and loved the teaching aspect of nursing as well as the clinical aspect.  One of the great attributes of nursing is the variety in roles one can have while in this profession.  I have been in a variety of roles– from clinician, educator, researcher, and administrator during my career.  Each role has been fun, rewarding and challenging.

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor

Nov 202012

Newly elected political leaders, take note: Ask and listen, and you will find untapped ways to serve.

That’s what ECU’s Lessie Bass believed seven years ago – and it’s what led the university and its partners to receive the respected C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award last week.

Bass, an associate professor of social work, began listening to residents of west Greenville back in 2005. She pondered how to help the struggling community meet social, economic and health needs. So, she asked them.

Knocking on doors and research from the ECU Center for Health Disparities led Bass and a friend, Deborah Moody, to identify a gap in service. Together they began a true partnership between west Greenville residents, the City of Greenville, Pitt Community College and ECU. Their common goal: to bring family- and neighborhood-strengthening programs to the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center.

Today, residents of west Greenville are using the center to build a better community with help from dedicated volunteers. Many of them are ECU faculty and students.

From a community garden to diabetes management and health screenings to after-school tutoring, the community center is a hub of activity and learning for kids, adults and seniors.

ECU health sciences students and faculty support a number of initiatives at the community center. One of the newest, IGCC Fit, provides health screenings for youth, adults and seniors each Tuesday. College of Nursing student volunteers have helped with initial health screenings to collect information on people with risk factors and monitor them throughout the year.

The Brody School of Medicine is involved in a study of African-American women with Type 2 diabetes, and the center is an enrollment and screening site for the study.

We are proud of our students and staff for their dedication to the community. This work falls directly in line with our mission to serve, particularly those who lack adequate access to care. We’ve long believed service benefits our state and enriches student experience. This recent national award is confirmation we’ve been moving in the right direction for some time.

The true inter-departmental collaboration between social work, business, health sciences and others shows: when we work together, we win.

Although Bass passed away in 2009, we’re confident she would be proud.

Read more about the award at