Jan 142014
 
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Dr. Sylvia T. Brown

East Carolina University’s graduate program in nursing ranks among the nation’s best in online education according to a recent listing by U.S. News & World Report.

The ECU College of Nursing ranked fifth out of 96 online masters of nursing programs in the country.

U.S. News ranked online master’s degree programs in business, computer information technology, education, engineering and nursing on criteria including student engagement, faculty credentials and training, admissions selectivity, student services and technology and program ratings by peer institutions.

Nursing has been a leader in distance education on campus and since 2004 has been recognized by U.S. News as one of the largest distance education programs in the country. The current rankings assess quality categories over size.

“Our programs offer today’s working nurse the ability to pursue advanced education while remaining in the much-needed workforce,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the ECU College of Nursing. “Our administrators, faculty and staff are committed to preparing nursing professionals who are making a positive impact on the health care of individuals in our region and around the world.”

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. ECU offers the only nurse midwifery curriculum in North Carolina. 

Of 723 total students enrolled in the MSN program in the 2012-2013 academic year, 628 – or 86.9 percent – were distance education students.

One way in which the College of Nursing is using technology to enhance education is a web-based Virtual Community Clinic Learning Environment, a format similar to the popular Second Life virtual world, which creates case-based, health care scenarios for students to solve.

This is the second year that U.S. News has compiled numeric rankings on the overall quality of distance education programs. Nursing ranked 10th last year. The complete listing can be viewed at http://www.usnews.com/online. Highlights also will appear in the magazine’s “Best Graduate Schools 2015” and “Best Colleges 2015” printed guidebooks.

 

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Oct 072013
 
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ECU nurse-midwifery students take direction from program director Dr. Becky Bagley, standing at right, in a lab in the College of Nursing. Photo by Cliff Hollis, ECU News Services.

Think again if the word “midwife” conjures up thoughts of home birth and hippies. In fact, 95 percent of births attended by midwives happen in a hospital system and the rest are divided about equally between birthing centers and home.

ECU’s College of Nursing has been educating certified nurse-midwives for more than 20 years, graduating its first class in 1992. ECU offers the only nurse-midwifery education program in North Carolina and one of only 39 across the United States.

The college is recognizing its faculty, staff and students in celebration of National Midwifery Week Oct. 6-12.

ECU has graduated 160 students from the master’s degree concentration, and 32 are enrolled now, said Dr. Becky Bagley, director of nurse-midwifery. To practice, graduates must pass the national board exam through the American Midwifery Certification Board. ECU has had an overall pass rate of 98 percent on the exam since the program began, Bagley said.

In North Carolina, certified nurse-midwives also must obtain approval to practice from the Midwifery Joint Committee of the N.C. Board of Nursing.

More than 250 certified nurse-midwives were registered in North Carolina in November 2012, according to the state nursing board.

Across the country, more than 50 percent of certified nurse-midwives work in a physicians’ practice or list a hospital as their primary employer. They also work in public health centers, the military, birthing centers and home birth services. In 2011, the most recent data available, 12 percent of all vaginal births were attended by a certified nurse-midwife.

While known for obstetrical care, midwives also provide primary care including annual physical exams, family planning, preventive health screening, health promotion and patient education.

They are trained to provide care for newborns through their first 28 days of life. “This training allows the certified nurse midwife to empower the new parents and help prepare them for life with a new baby,” Bagley said.

Midwifery means “with woman” and certified nurse-midwives are “with women” from puberty through menopause. “The care provided by a certified nurse-midwife is one of a partnership with the woman,” Bagley said. “They are an advocate for women and families to eliminate health disparities and increase access to evidence-based, quality care.”

ECU’s program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. For more information, visit http://www.nursing2.ecu.edu/NurseMidwifery/.

 
 
May 072013
 

Bagley, Becky-c23East Carolina University nurse faculty member Becky Bagley is serving as Nurse of the Day at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh today.

Bagley, director of nurse-midwifery education in the ECU College of Nursing, will provide services such as taking vital signs, checking blood pressures, and dispensing over-the-counter drugs for headaches, upset stomachs, or allergies to legislators and legislative staff members.

The day is made possible by the North Carolina Nurses Association.

“I chose to serve as Nurse of the Day to broaden my horizons,” Bagley said. “I am a soon-to-be DNP graduate at Duke University and this is a great way to sit in on legislative sessions.”

Many NCNA members who previously served have said the experience has validated their choice of the nursing profession. The nurses enhance the positive image of nursing in the state of North Carolina, officials said.

The North Carolina Nurses Association

The North Carolina Nurses Association is the professional organization for all registered nurses in North Carolina. Through NCNA nurses become powerful advocates patients and the nursing profession. For more information please visit www.ncnurses.org.

Sep 112012
 

Students in nurse-midwifery, medicine and other health-related disciplines at East Carolina University will team up in a virtual clinic to improve women’s health through a $1.098 million federal grant awarded to the College of Nursing.

The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration is the largest in the College of Nursing’s history. Dr. Pamela Reis, assistant professor of nurse-midwifery education in the College of Nursing, will lead the project.

The project aims to improve primary care of women by using a web-based virtual clinic, a format similar to the popular Second Life virtual world. In the virtual clinic, students maneuver through an online clinic to care for pretend patients. The virtual clinic exposes students to a variety of conditions and diagnoses that they might not see in a real clinical setting during their education.  Much like a simulation laboratory, this model helps students learn to make treatment decisions in a safe environment. The project addresses our goals to use technology to enhance education.

One of the interesting features of the grant is a Mini Business Institute to teach business skills that students need to build a successful medical practice. The institute, a joint effort between the ECU College of Nursing and College of Business since 2005, will be offered for the first time to ECU obstetrics/gynecology and family medicine resident physicians, and interested students and faculty in the health sciences division.

Healthcare depends on teamwork and collaboration between care providers. This grant brings nurses, doctors and other health team members together. This combination is a win-win for patients.

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor
East Carolina University College of Nursing