Jul 082014
 

East Carolina University’s College of Nursing continues to produce the most registered nurses in North Carolina and its graduates pass the state nursing exam at a rate above the state average, according to data in a report prepared for the UNC Board of Governors.

The annual tracking report, received by the board at its June 20 meeting, said that 95 percent of the 273 graduates of ECU’s bachelor of science in nursing program who took the state exam in 2013 passed it.

The average state exam passing rate of all 12 UNC system campuses with nursing programs was 90 percent that year. The passing rate of all nursing programs in North Carolina, including those at private colleges and universities, was 85 percent in 2013, the report said.

Enrollment in all UNC nursing programs soared by 31 percent in the past five years, rising from 2,985 in 2009 to 4,212 in 2013, according to the report. Three UNC campuses launched nursing programs in recent years.

With more students in the pipeline, the UNC campuses with nursing programs are graduating 20 percent more RNs now than five years ago, the report said.

But despite the rise in nursing school enrollment, 3,500 nursing jobs remain unfilled across the state, the report said in citing March 2014 employment data.

Across the UNC system, enrollment in master’s degree programs grew from 1,471 to 1,637, or 11 percent, between 2009 and 2013. The number studying for doctoral degrees rose from 119 to 157, or 32 percent, in that time period, according to the report, which is based on data submitted by each campus.

At ECU, enrollment in master’s degree programs grew from 486 to 547 in that five-year period, while enrollment in doctoral programs grew from 31 to 49 in that period, the report said.

The Board of Governors has encouraged growth in enrollment in nursing programs since 2004 when, in conjunction with the N.C. Institute of Medicine, it created the UNC Committee on the Future of Nursing. The committee concluded that graduating more nurses was critical to improving access to health care.

More recently, the Board of Governors green-lighted new master’s and doctoral programs to increase the supply of nurses specially trained to take on more of the health care workload. An example is the doctor of nursing practice degree (DNP) created in 2013 at ECU and five other campuses.

Sylvia Brown, dean of ECU’s College of Nursing, said the DNP program will produce graduates critical to improving health care in the region. She said the program “will help to achieve our mission of improving the health of citizens through the preparation of expert practitioners who deliver primary care in rural areas of the state and assume leadership roles to advance health care delivery.”

The DNP prepares nurses for direct clinical practice and for executive roles in areas that support clinical practice, such as administration, organizational leadership, academics and health policy.

East Carolina’s DNP program coursework is totally 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.

Twenty-one students were accepted to the first DNP class in fall 2013. More than half were from eastern North Carolina.

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Jun 202014
 

Labor and delivery nurses care for women during one of life’s most transformative events. For Dorothy “Dot” Marshall Cummings, who guided hundreds of women through childbirth during her career, working with new mothers and babies was more than a job. It was her passion.

Cummings worked as a labor and delivery nurse for nearly four decades in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. A mother of six, she was known among colleagues for her eagerness to teach new moms how to care for their babies and for her commitment to mentoring young nurses.

Cummings, second from right in the front row, in her nursing class photo.

Cummings, second from right in the front row, in her nursing class photo.

“She adored children,” said her daughter, Sue Collier (BSN ’81, MSN ’91), who explained that even as she approached the end of her life at age 84, her mom drew others to her with the same engaging personality that so many of her patients loved.

To honor her mother’s lifelong commitment to nursing, Collier created the Dorothy Marshall Cummings Nursing Honors Scholarship. The new award will support full-time students who are enrolled in both the East Carolina University College of Nursing and the ECU Honors College. Students considered for the scholarship must, like Cummings, have an interest in maternal and child health care.

The award is one of two College of Nursing honors scholarships established this year. ECU alumni James and Selba Morris Harris of Alpharetta, Georgia, recently established the James and Selba Harris Honors Scholarship. That scholarship honors Selba Harris (BSN ’64), who graduated as part of the College of Nursing’s first class.

“It is the generosity of alumni like these that helps make the dream of becoming a nurse possible for our students,” said College of Nursing Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown. “We are so appreciative of their willingness to give back to their alma mater.”

It’s fitting that a nursing honors scholarship is named after Cummings, who embodied nursing’s motto of “service” long past retirement and years after learning she had Alzheimer’s disease. As a long-term resident at Golden LivingCenter in Greenville, she endeared herself to staff and other residents with her concern for the well being of others.

“If there was a resident who was upset across the room, she would try to get to them and comfort them,” said Tracy Taft, who cared for Cummings as an aide at Golden Living Center. “She still tried to help, even it was just holding your hand. That was her heart, that was the kind of person Dot was.”

Cummings’ love for nursing was so great that it inspired others to pursue it as a profession. Witnessing her dedication to helping others inspired Taft to go back to school and become a registered nurse.

“I knew she was a nurse and I wanted to give my life to helping take care of people, even if it wasn’t her,” she said.

Sue Collier

Sue Collier

Collier herself was inspired by her mother to become a nurse, dreaming of entering the profession from the time she was a little girl. Today the ECU College of Nursing graduate serves as a performance improvement specialist for patient-family engagement with the NC Quality Center at the North Carolina Hospital Association.

The scholarship is a way of building the future of the profession that has been so important to both Collier and her mother.

“A scholarship like this can be the difference between someone not finishing the program or not going to school and becoming a future nurse,” she said, urging others with the means to join her giving efforts.

And the fact that the scholarship honors a wonderful woman at the same time? It doesn’t get much better than that for Collier.

“I think the greatest way to remember someone is to help someone else,” she said.

If you are interested in contributing to this scholarship or setting up your own, please contact Mark Alexander at alexanderma@ecu.edu or 252-744-2324.

Jun 032014
 
ECU ROTC cadet Teddy Protonentis

ECU ROTC cadet Teddy Protonentis holds the flag during a Veterans Day ceremony on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University’s graduate programs in nursing and business rank among the nation’s best in online education for veterans, according to a listing released May 20 by U.S. News & World Report.

The ECU College of Nursing ranked second in the country for masters of nursing programs. The online Master of Business Administration program in the ECU College of Business ranked 15 in the nation.

Now in its second year, U.S. News ranked bachelor’s programs and online master’s programs in business, computer information technology, education, engineering and nursing to help veterans and service members identify high-quality online degree programs to pursue college or advanced degrees under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“Veterans and active-duty service members face unique challenges as students, from transitioning between bases and grappling with deployment to balancing work and family life upon return,” said Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, noting the programs’ flexibility.

ECU’s College of 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.

Students have previously completed undergraduate education in nursing and often have extensive clinical experience. Online coursework is augmented by periodic campus visits for hands-on training and education that is overseen by experienced faculty and community-based preceptors close to the students’ home.

“Our online graduate programs offer the flexibility that veterans and active-duty service members need,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, College of Nursing dean. “We’re proud that this flexibility gives those who have served our country access to a first-class nursing education.”

During the 2012-2013 academic year, 45 military veterans and active service members were enrolled in the College of Nursing’s online nursing programs.

The online program in ECU’s College of Business is the largest online MBA program in the UNC system. This spring, there were 21 graduate students and 92 undergraduate students identified as veterans who were enrolled in the College of Business.

“Ties between business institutions and the military are crucial to developing leaders who make a difference in their communities,” said Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business. “The College of Business is proud to enable members of the military to earn their business degrees online, providing new tools and knowledge that prepare them for their next chapter of life. In turn, veterans bring a level of leadership and maturity to our program, enhancing discussions and adding value for their fellow students.”

ECU’s bachelor’s programs ranked 52 in the listing.

ECU, geographically, sits in the center of the third most concentrated military corridor in the country. Craven, Cumberland, Onslow and Wayne counties are home to six major military installations – the biggest are Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune – with approximately 125,000 veterans living in the four counties or a neighboring county.

ECU’s Student Veterans Services provides a seamless transition for veterans – both academically and socially – by helping them become fully integrated into the ECU community, said Trish Goltermann, assistant director of Student Veteran Services. “Our office helps ensure that student veterans are successful in their academic pursuits, adjust to the campus environment, and eventually, transition to civilian employment,” she said.

To be ranked by U.S. News, an online degree program had to report participation in four key programs that offer educational benefits to people with military service, such as the GI Bill and membership in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium. The programs also had to be included in the U.S. News 2014 Best Online Programs rankings released earlier this year. Those programs were measured on criteria including affordability, faculty credentials, student services and reputation, according to U.S. News.

The complete listing can be viewed at http://www.usnews.com.

Jun 182013
 

From now until mid-July, nearly 5,000 new students will visit ECU’s campus for summer orientation. All over campus, students who just graduated from high school are learning about college classes and visiting residence halls to get a feel for life at ECU.

During the two-day orientation visit, intended nursing majors will meet with advisors and administrators from the College of Nursing to learn about the curriculum and student resources. The prerequisites for the nursing program are rigorous and students are well-prepared for entry to the College of Nursing.

The top questions/answers from today’s sessions were:

How many students are admitted to the BSN program each year?
The College of Nursing admits 130 students each semester (260 each year). Students enroll in approximately 60 semester hours of prerequisites before they apply to the College of Nursing in their sophomore year.

What if my child does not get admitted to the College of Nursing?
Fortunately, ECU is a large university that offers 102 undergraduate degree programs for students to explore. Often, students are interested in a healthcare career but nursing is not the best fit for them. We encourage these students to consider their interests and keep their options open by making good grades and taking elective courses that count for several different majors.

Where will my clinical rotations be?
The College of Nursing has partnerships with clinical agencies all over eastern North Carolina. In order to provide students with clinical experiences in many different healthcare settings, students may travel up to 90 minutes from Greenville.

What makes ECU College of Nursing special?
ECU graduates more new nurses than any school in North Carolina. With over 7500 alumni, Pirate Nurses work and live in all parts of NC and the nation. ECU ranks very high state-wide with an average of 96% percent of our students passing the NCLEX-RN licensure exam on the first attempt.

In her orientation welcome presentation, Dean Sylvia Brown proudly tells students that Pirate Nurses are honest, committed and passionate about helping others. As a Pirate Nurse herself, she knows firsthand what the students will experience when they arrive in August!

Visit www.nursing.ecu.edu for more information about ECU College of Nursing.

Laurie Evans, MA
Director of Marketing
ECU College of Nursing

Apr 262013
 

Random acts of kindness go a long way toward putting a smile on someone’s face and reshaping a not-so-great day into a special memory that impacts not just the recipient but everyone that person comes in contact with that day.

Next week, imagine how many people you can touch by taking a moment to thank a nurse for a job well-done. First, you will bring a smile to the nurse. Then, the nurse will unknowingly share that smile with patients and colleagues throughout the day and those people will pass the gesture along to the people they interact with. In a busy clinic or hospital, your simple “thank you” to a nurse will touch hundreds of people.

We celebrate National Nurse’s Week in early May to coincide with Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Just as Nightingale tirelessly cared for soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856), our nurses care for all types of patients—some are very sick and others are generally healthy.

Make plans to surprise a nurse with a random act of kindness during Nurse’s Week and know that your thoughtful expression will not only make the nurse’s day, but you will share kindness with many people who may need a boost. You will never know it, but your actions may help a patient overcome a frightening diagnosis or help a young family cope with grief. What a terrific way to say thank you and honor our nurses!

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