ECU’s online graduate nursing program ranks near the top in nation

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on ECU’s online graduate nursing program ranks near the top in nation
Jan 142014

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 Highlights also will appear in the magazine’s “Best Graduate Schools 2015” and “Best Colleges 2015” printed guidebooks.



Welcome to DNP class, ECU College of Nursing!

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Welcome to DNP class, ECU College of Nursing!
Aug 302013

We are thrilled to welcome an outstanding class to the inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice program to the College of Nursing at East Carolina University!  Our first class includes clinical leaders from a variety of areas and advanced practice registered nurse roles.

The DNP degree is a practice-focused terminal degree earned by specialists in advanced nursing practice. The DNP focuses on developing nursing experts in translating and applying research findings in clinical practice. The post-master’s DNP curriculum expands the competencies of the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) from the master’s level to encompass knowledge required as nurse leaders in increasingly complex healthcare systems to assess published evidence informing practice, improve systems of care to improve healthcare outcomes, and to make changes to enhance the quality of care. Graduates of the DNP program will provide nursing leadership to inform clinical practice, evaluate and improve health care delivery systems, improve health care outcomes and effect positive change for the citizens of eastern North Carolina and beyond.

Twenty-one students were accepted to the first class. The majority of students were from eastern North Carolina (56 percent).  The remaining students were from central N.C. (29 percent) and western N.C. (15 percent).  The majority of students enrolled in the part-time program of study (57 percent).  Of those admitted, 14 percent were male and 15 percent were identified as ethnic minorities.

When broken down by APRN role, the majority admitted were nurse practitioners (90 percent), certified nurse midwives (5 percent), certified registered nurse anesthetist(5 percent) and one applicant dually certified as adult nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist (5 percent). The inaugural cohort brings a rich diversity of clinical, policy and interprofessional expertise that will enrich the shared experiences of peer to peer learning. One of the students shared “…I could have applied to any DNP program, but ECU has a reputation and history of excellence…I wanted to go someplace for my DNP where things are done right.”

The new program supports the mission of our college to serve as a national model for transforming the health of rural underserved regions through excellence and innovation in nursing education, leadership, research, scholarship, and practice. Our college has a long history of preparing excellent advanced practice nurses and is a nationally recognized leader in online education, having been named in the nation’s top 10 masters or doctorate of nursing practice programs in the country in the 2013 U.S. News and World Report.

Building on this history of excellence, the DNP program is offered in a distance education format with requirements for four executive on-campus sessions in September, February, June, September. The inaugural cohort will be on campus Sept. 9-11. 

The DNP program emphasizes and extends the interprofessional work of a number of existing programs of research, community engagement, and service at ECU (East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute, the East Carolina Heart Institute, the ECU Center for Health Disparities Research and the Bariatric Nursing Consortium) as opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty involved in research and community engagement.

Additionally, the DNP program addresses specific priority outreach initiatives identified by ECU including the military population and the needs of vulnerable populations in this region.

Welcome to our first class!  We look forward to working with you over the time ahead as you transition into Pirate nursing leaders who will transform the health of eastern North Carolina and beyond!

Bobby Lowery, PhD, FNP-BC
Assistant Professor
Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
College of Nursing
3131 Health Sciences Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Office PH:  252-744-6363

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

Nursing Job Opportunities Increase

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Nursing Job Opportunities Increase
Aug 242012

The Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28 and this historic decision puts nursing programs in an interesting position.  Even in a time of budget shortfalls, ECU College of Nursing is looking to the future with optimism and a sense of opportunity.

HealtheCareers’ second quarter Healthcare Jobs Snapshot confirms the opportunities that exist in the nursing profession. The number of job openings for nurse practitioners increased 16% and the number of vacancies for Registered Nurses increased 40% during the second quarter.

Today, nurse practitioners have prescription writing authority in all states and provide valuable patient care services in roles such as family, adult, women’s health, pediatrics, psych/mental health, and nurse-midwifery. Nurse practitioners will provide healthcare to many of the 30 million people who gain coverage under the new law.

Registered Nurses are needed to fill positions vacated by retiring nurses. One caveat with the increased need for nurses is that vacancies occur in advanced positions and hospitals are seeking seasoned nurses to fill these openings. As seasoned nurses accept advanced positions, new nurses will see openings in entry-level positions.

Yes, budgets are tight and nursing programs are feeling the economic impact, but nursing programs must continue to seek ways to expand offerings to meet the needs created by the Affordable Care Act.

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