Nursing course informs international audience about science of care

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Nursing course informs international audience about science of care
Jul 272015

The East Carolina University College of Nursing’s first Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, attracted a global audience of more than 700 to learn about the science behind caring.

Drawing primarily nursing professionals, the course enrollment included students from Australia, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Two Iranian university educators attempted to take the course but were blocked due to U.S. trade sanctions. Course organizers are working with ECU’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance to request permission to teach them the course through email.

ECU nursing professor Kathleen Sitzman was lead instructor for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the ECU College of Nursing. The course on the science of caring drew a large international audience. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

ECU nursing professor Kathleen Sitzman was lead instructor for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the ECU College of Nursing. The course on the science of caring drew a large international audience. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Using reflective journaling, YouTube videos and online discussion boards as their primary teaching strategies, course developers anticipated possible language barriers. Participants were encouraged to use Google Translate as well as digital art to keep the dialogue going on the message boards. By the course’s end, there were more than 2,000 discussion board postings.

“It’s been a magical experience to have so many people talk about the simple concept of caring and what it means to care across varied disciplines, languages, and cultures,” said Kathleen Sitzman, professor of nursing at ECU and lead instructor for the MOOC.

The course provided tools to help professionals implement “caring science,” a practice that is meant to support a healthy life through the use of intentional caring toward self and others. In a clinical setting, actions based in caring science include mindfully connecting with patients on a human level and not just seeing them as a “case,” being open to and supportive of patients’ expression of feelings, and actively cultivating compassion and loving kindness in daily work activities. The course also explored the idea of mindfulness practice, in which a person focuses on what is happening right now rather than what has been or may be.

These practices have been shown to increase positive patient outcomes, Sitzman said.

“Patients tend to perceive the quality of care and of the contact they engaged in as more positive when interacting with people who practice caring science,” Sitzman said. “There is also evidence that it increases employee satisfaction and retention as well as patient satisfaction.”

Sitzman’s motivation for offering a MOOC was to make the course accessible to anyone, anywhere. Aside from nursing, enrollees work in health care administration, personal training, social work, teaching, sales, mental health, engineering, mediation and hospitality.

For more than 20 years, Sitzman has worked with Jean Watson, founder of the Watson Caring Science Institute and dean emerita of the University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing. They collaborate to develop knowledge about engaged professional caring, and conveying and sustaining caring in online classrooms.

Sitzman’s 2014 book, co-authored with Watson, shared its name with the online course – “Caring Science, Mindful Practice” – and was required reading for the MOOC students. The book’s publisher is currently translating the title into Chinese.

Held June 8 to July 6, the course was presented in partnership with the Watson Institute and Utah’s Weber State University.

Sitzman plans to offer “Caring Science, Mindful Practice,” again later this year. Visit or contact for more information about the course.


College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation
Jul 102015

The East Carolina University College of Nursing has received 10 years of accreditation, the maximum granted by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The accreditation follows an extensive self-study and fall 2014 site visit, and applies to ECU’s baccalaureate, master’s and post-master’s certificate, and doctor of nursing practice programs. sim229

The DNP program, established in 2013, received the maximum five years allowed for programs undergoing initial accreditation. All of the ECU programs assessed met CCNE’s four accreditation standards and with no recommendations for changes.

“We are pleased to receive such a strong endorsement of the outstanding ongoing work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “The accreditation process itself was a team effort by every member of the college, both faculty and staff. We owe a special thanks to our taskforce for their extensive work in coordinating and collecting information for the self-study.”

The College of Nursing, which has been accredited since 1964, has more than 8,500 alumni and prepares the most new nurses of any institution in the state. It provides three pathways for nurses to earn their bachelor of science in nursing: the traditional BSN program, an accelerated second-degree option for students who already have a baccalaureate degree in another major, and the RN to BSN option for students who already have their two-year nursing degree and want to earn their BSN.

The college offers seven options in the master’s of science nursing program: adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, neonatal clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthesia, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery. The midwifery program, which is the only program of its kind in North Carolina, undergoes accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. The nurse anesthesia also undergoes a process with a specialized accrediting body, with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

The doctor of nursing practice program offers a BSN to DNP option for students with an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner focus. It also provides a post-master’s DNP option for advanced practice registered nurses. The college’s doctor of philosophy in nursing program prepares nurse scientists, with entry points for students who have their BSN, MSN or DNP.

A report provided by CCNE following the site-visit noted that testimonials from both students and community partners demonstrated the excellent quality of the college’s faculty. The accreditors also praised college staff, including the business and administrative affairs office, technology support, concept integration labs, student development and counseling, student services and marketing offices.

“The feedback we received from the accreditation team was stellar and the dedication of our faculty and staff was clearly evident,” Brown explained. “It takes a village to create such a positive learning environment for our students.”

The ECU College of Nursing is also designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, an honor bestowed on just 35 schools nationwide for outstanding achievements in student learning and professional development.

Scott inducted as fellow in National Academies of Practice

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Scott inducted as fellow in National Academies of Practice
Jun 232015

Dr. Elaine Scott, associate professor and director of the East Carolina University Ph.D. program in nursing, has been inducted as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the Nursing Academy of the National Academies of Practice.

At a gala honoring inductees, from left: Dr. Evelyn Clingerman, vice chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Dr. Joanne Singleton, chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Scott; and Dr. Satya Verma, president of the National Academies of Practice.

At a gala honoring inductees, from left: Dr. Evelyn Clingerman, vice chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Dr. Joanne Singleton, chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Scott; and Dr. Satya Verma, president of the National Academies of Practice.

Scott was elected for fellowship based on her significant and enduring educational and research contributions to practice. Her research interests center around the concepts of leadership development and theory, transitions in practice, and patient outcomes, as well as organizational and interprofessional behavior. Most of her scholarship has focused on advancing clinical leadership capacity, new graduate transition and managing change.

Scott, a faculty member of the ECU College of Nursing since 2005, also is the founding director of the ECU-based East Carolina Center for Nursing Leadership. She is the past director of the college’s nursing leadership concentration. She is a member of the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame and a past recipient of ECU’s Scholar-Teacher Award. Prior to entering academia, Scott worked for 20 years in a variety of clinical and administrative roles, including as founder and president of a regional home health care organization in North Carolina.

The National Academies of Practice is a nonprofit organization with membership representing 14 health care professions willing to advise governmental bodies on health care. Fellows, who are elected by their peers, must have an exemplary career of 10 years or more, and be committed to interprofessional practice and accessible, affordable health care for all.

Hall named 2015 top nurse at ECU Physicians

 Brody School of Medicine, College of Nursing  Comments Off on Hall named 2015 top nurse at ECU Physicians
May 192015

A nurse specialist in vascular surgery has been selected by her peers as this year’s top nurse at ECU Physicians, the group medical practice of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Marquita Hall, a Duplin County native, works at the East Carolina Heart Institute. She has seven years of nursing experience and an undisputed reputation among her coworkers as “the calm amidst the daily storm.”

Marquita Hall

Marquita Hall

Her daily responsibilities include ensuring the vascular surgery clinic operates efficiently and patients’ needs are met quickly. She oversees patient scheduling and provides preoperative and postoperative education to all the clinic’s patients. All this she does, according to vascular surgeon Dr. C. Steven Powell, “in an excellent fashion and with a smile on her face.

“She is excellence personified,” Powell said. “She is cool and calm in all situations, always pleasant, has outstanding interaction with patients, and is always on top of getting things accomplished even in the busiest of situations. She is the best I have ever worked with.”

Hall’s primary source of motivation is her patients, she said. “Most of them have overcome many obstacles, and throughout it all, they continue to smile,” she said.

“I strive to provide my patients with the same quality of care I would want provided to one of my loved ones,” Hall added. “I wholeheartedly believe in treating others as you would want to be treated, and that is also what motivates me to care for my patients as I do.”

Her compassionate attitude is readily apparent, according to Hall’s coworkers. “She carries the biggest smile on her face, and it absolutely will light up a room and warm a patient’s troubled heart,” said physician assistant Brandy Wilson.

Dr. Dean Yamaguchi, a cardiovascular surgeon who works closely with Hall, said of her, “She has become the voice of patients who call into ECHI, helping to resolve often-complex medical as well as social barriers to providing appropriate medical care. She embodies what it means to be a nurse.”

Hall credits her grandparents with inspiring her original interest in nursing. Her grandmother has worked as a nursing assistant for 28 years and her grandfather has worked in mental health for Hall’s entire life.

“Growing up under their care, I witnessed the dedication, patience and compassion they exhibited toward their clients,” Hall said. “Their genuine caring natures inspired me to make a difference, as they have, in the lives of others.”

Hall’s academic success and leadership during high school garnered her a North Carolina Nurse Scholarship, and she graduated magna cum laude from the ECU College of Nursing in 2008.

After working approximately 18 months as a staff nurse in the Cardiac Intermediate Unit at Vidant Medical Center, Hall was employed for three years by ECU’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences in their electrophysiology division. She followed that job with a brief stint at the Pitt County Health Department before returning to ECU in her current role.

Hall is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honor Society. In 2011, she received an ECU Treasured Pirate Award in recognition of her unique contributions to the university.

She has no intention of resting on her impressive list of accomplishments, however. Although she has no plans to leave her current position anytime soon, she eventually would like to pursue a career in nursing administration. To that end, she’s currently enrolled in the masters of nursing leadership program at ECU.

“I have a desire to not only make a difference in the lives of my patients, but to also make a difference within the nursing profession itself,” she said.

Hall’s colleagues have no doubt she’ll do just that. “Marquita is a woman who is going somewhere,” Wilson said. “She has the drive, the unlimited potential and the compassion to do great things.”

Run or walk the 2015 Pirate Nurse 5K

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Run or walk the 2015 Pirate Nurse 5K
Feb 032015

Participants in the 2014 Pirate Nurse 5K braved the rain.

Get your running shoes ready! The 2015 Pirate Nurse 5K will take place on Saturday, March 28. All proceeds for this event, organized by the East Carolina University College of Nursing, benefit nursing students through the ECU Nursing Senior Class Scholarship Fund and the Linda Pynn Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Fund. Runners and walkers are welcome to enjoy the course, which traverses the ECU Health Sciences Campus. 

Visit or click here to register.

East Carolina University College of Nursing
600 Moye Blvd
Greenville, NC 27834

Start Times
7:30 a.m. Packet pick-up and day-of registration opens
8:45 a.m. Kids’ race start
9 a.m. 5K start

Registration Fees
Individual Registration: $25
ECU Student Registration: $15 (discount taken during online registration process)
Kids’ Fun Run (ages 3-8): Free but registration is required

Register by March 6 to guarantee you receive a race t-shirt. You must be present the day of the race to get your shirt. There will be two male and two female award winners in each age group.

Questions? Contact or call 252-744-6424.