Doctor of Nursing Practice degree coming to ECU

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Doctor of Nursing Practice degree coming to ECU
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



Thanksgiving Meal Tip #2 – Serve appetizers

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Thanksgiving Meal Tip #2 – Serve appetizers
Nov 142012

It might seem counterintuitive to suggest adding more food to your table, but offering guests appetizers can satiate hunger early and reduce the desire to overeat at dinner. Appetizers are also a great way to sneak in something a little healthier, according to this tip from the ECU College of Nursing.

Here are some smart ideas for keeping appetizers healthy:


  • Plates of raw vegetables – Celery, carrots and broccoli are go-tos for crudité platters. We love them, but you might find them boring. Think about offering unexpected vegetables like asparagus, radishes, green beans and snow peas.
  • Bean-based or non-dairy dips – Instead of ranch or sour cream-based dips, consider offering hummus or white bean dip. These alternatives have less saturated fat, but more fiber and hunger-reducing protein. Another easy idea that’s low in calories, but big on taste is Wasabi pea dip. Consider adding ginger.
  • Fruit (fresh or dried) – If you’re buying dried fruit, make sure it says “No Sugar Added.”
  • Whole, unsalted nuts –Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a great source of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats or “good fats”, as well as vitamin E. Omega-3s can lower bad LDL cholesterol levels and are good for joints and the brain.


  • Fatty, dairy-based dips like ranch or French onion.
  • Cheese – We all love cheese, but it beats out red meat for the number one source of saturated fat in our diets. For a calorie-dense meal like Thanksgiving, leave the cheese in the fridge.
  • Crackers and chips – These are loaded with carbs and sodium, and many crackers can be full of hidden refined sugars.





Nov 072012

The most recent North Carolina infant mortality numbers are causing a stir. The rate rose slightly in 2011, just one year after the state achieved its lowest rate ever.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported last week that the infant mortality rate reached 7.2 in 2011, up from 7.0 in 2010. This means 7.2 babies died for every 1,000 born alive.
The increase is just under 3 percent, but any upswing is unacceptable.
Data also shows eastern North Carolina’s infant mortality rate holding steady despite sharp increases in other regions. This is encouraging news for our area. Even so, our rate of 8.1 is still 12 percent higher than the state average.
Many factors contribute to infant mortality risk, including race, income and access to prenatal care. 
The three major causes of infant deaths are: prematurity (less than 37 weeks) and low birth-weight (less than or equal to 5.5 pounds), birth defects and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
Major causes of premature birth and low birth-weight include:
• Smoking during pregnancy or exposure to second-hand smoke
• Malnutrition and poor vitamin intake during gestation
• Closely spaced subsequent pregnancies
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Maternal drug or alcohol use
• Poor weight management (both obesity and underweight mothers are at risk)
We can mitigate many of these factors by ensuring adequate access to education and care for all mothers. We must continue to do more to increase SIDS awareness and safe sleep practices, invest in evidence-based early intervention health programs and teen pregnancy prevention, and improve access to care in rural, impoverished areas.
At ECU, maternal-fetal medicine specialists offer advanced care for high-risk pregnancies in our Regional Perinatal Center located in the outpatient center at the Brody School of Medicine.
In research, Dr. Elizabeth Jesse in the ECU College of Nursing has led studies that indicate a correlation between low-income women and preterm births or low birth weight. Earlier this year, she received a National Institute of Mental Health grant to expand her research into the effectiveness of a program for low-income women in reducing their risk of prenatal, or antepartum, depression. 

It’s clear we still have a lot of work to do. ECU and the Brody School of Medicine are committed to doing our part to help mothers in need, and to educating our students to address the factors contributing to this challenge in underserved areas.