Jul 032012
 

A recent story in the New York Times noted that many hospitals around the country have started to require that their nurses have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. More stringent hiring requirements have contributed to a surge in enrollment at four-year colleges, particularly those with RN to BSN programs.

In recent years, ECU has seen an increase in the number of applicants to the College of Nursing’s RN to BSN option which is designed with the working registered nurse in mind.

Sixty-six people applied and 47 were admitted in fall 2010. Last fall, 78 applied and 64 were admitted. For classes starting this August, 86 out of 94 applicants have enrolled.

Nurses are returning for various reasons.

Most say they are returning for personal satisfaction. Other reasons include, but are not limited to, encouragement from their employers and career advancement.

On average, students graduate from our RN/BSN option in four to five semesters. Thirty-three students graduated in spring 2011, and another 33 graduated this May.

Professional organizations and groups such as the Institute of Medicine have advocated for an increase in nurses who hold a BSN degree or higher due to the challenges of health care in the 21st century which requires nurses to care for older, more diverse populations with more complex and chronic diseases.

The RN to BSN option has been included in several potential programs for expansion and partnership. Faculty and staff have been active members in planning the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses or RIBN project for eastern North Carolina. It’s modeled after a program in western North Carolina. ECU is working with Pitt, Beaufort, Lenoir and Roanoke-Chowan community colleges  to provide a seamless transition from the community college setting to the university while earning ADN and BSN degrees. The first cohort of students begins this fall.

The shift in nursing education to meet the challenges of the 21st century requires competencies in leadership, health policy, systems, research and evidence-based practice, and community and public health.

-Dr. Sylvia Brown RN, BSN, MSN, EdD, CNE
Dean of the ECU College of Nursing

 

 

 

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Jun 152012
 

Childhood obesity is increasing in the United States and this trend can begin early in life. A study by New York University School of Medicine indicates that stressed new moms are more likely than non-stressed mothers to add cereal to their baby’s bottle prior to the recommended age of 4-6 months. Stress can be related to issues like money, depression, or single-parenting.

Over-stressed mothers may seek ways to help babies sleep longer. Dr. Elizabeth Jesse, a certified nurse-midwife at ECU, notes that it is not unusual to hear mothers say that they add cereal to bottles due to the challenge of feeding around the clock.

Another reason mothers may add cereal to bottles is to increase the time between feedings to reduce formula cost. The cost savings may be dangerous for a new baby’s digestive system. Infant digestive systems are not ready for cereal prior to 4-6 months. The risk of allergies and digestive problems increases when babies are exposed to cereal and solid food before their bodies are mature enough to process the food.

Maternal depression and stress have a significant impact on how babies are fed. Dr. Jesse’s work also suggests that women who are at risk for depression during their pregnancy are almost half as likely to begin breastfeeding when they leave the hospital as women with minimal or no depressive symptoms.

Health-care providers urge new parents to follow feeding recommendations for the baby’s health, but a round, chubby baby is still the stereotypical image of a healthy baby and this image is deceiving. Overweight babies often become overweight children and, then, they become overweight adults.

Obesity begins early in life and new moms need support to make good decisions for their babies. Health-care providers can give new moms material about the recommended feeding stages. New moms should discuss feelings of sadness and despair with their doctors and nurses at their post-delivery follow-up appointment. If you feel down or blue before your appointment, call your health-care provider right away.

Preventing obesity begins during the first months of life. Remember, give your baby only breast milk or formula for the first 4-6 months of life.

–ECU College of Nursing

Jun 122012
 

The good news is that, overall, Americans have fewer cavities now than they did 20 years ago.  The troubling reality is that how many fewer cavities Americans have depends on several factors.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics released a report on May 31 that highlighted the oral health disparities evident throughout the country.  This report, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2005-2008, shows that 25% of children ages 5-19 living below the poverty level had untreated cavities compared to only 12% of their counterparts living at 200% or higher of the poverty level.  Adults ages 20-64 living below the poverty level had a much higher rate of untreated cavities (42%) than did adults in the same age range living at 200% or higher above the poverty level (17%).

According to this data, income is a major factor when looking at someone’s oral health.  People living at 200% or higher above the poverty level are more likely to have the money to visit the dentist regularly for preventive care as well as restorative care – having cavities filled, teeth extracted or getting dentures, for example.  People living below the poverty line often have a hard time making ends meet and putting food on the table.  Visiting the dentist and oral care are often seen as luxuries they cannot afford.

Other causes of these disparities include access to dentists and oral health education.  Dentists opening an office need to be located where the patients are in order to generate the income needed to support their practice.  If there are no patients there is no income to pay employees, pay office space rent, buy equipment or pay the electric bill.  Because of this, dentists are less inclined to open new offices in rural, low population areas.  A rural county with few residents will be less likely to have an available dentist than a bustling city with many potential patients.

Education is an important factor in oral health.  People who have been to the dentist have often been taught about oral health and the need for brushing and flossing twice a day, visiting the dentist every six months and limiting the intake of sugary foods.  Someone who has never been to the dentist may not have been taught these basic steps for caring for their teeth.

In light of these findings, the question becomes, “What can be done to close the gap?”

East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (SoDM) is dedicated to closing that gap in North Carolina.  The vision of the SoDM, whose inaugural class began in the fall of 2011, is to improve the health and quality of life of all North Carolinians by creating leaders with a passion for service and by leading the nation in community-based, service learning oral health education.  One part of the solution to closing the gap is the opening of ten Community Service Learning Centers (CSLC) in rural, underserved areas across North Carolina.  Fourth-year dental students and residents will work side by side with faculty dentists to offer comprehensive oral care for the communities in which they are located.  Services offered at the CSLCs range from x-rays and cleanings to filling cavities, extractions and a full range of general dental care.

The first of the CSLCs to open is the center in Ahoskie, NC, located next to the Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center.    The two facilities will serve as a “medical home” for their patients.  As a “medical home” they will provide comprehensive medical and dental care for their patients in a central location.  The Public Health Department will also be working with the partners to provide publicly funded transportation for those patients in need.

The ribbon cutting for the Ahoskie CSLC will be on June 28, 2012.

 

Michael L. Scholtz, DMD
Director, Community Dental Practices