November 2012

From the Dean’s Desk…


The fall semester is in full swing at ECU! Our College is busy finalizing documents to gain approval for our upcoming Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP) and moving our 4th semester students into their capstone clinicals. We have lots to share with you in this issue of Pirate Nurse Notes—read on to hear about Homecoming, the PhD 10th Anniversary, exciting plans for our 2012 Annual Fund , our Future Pirate Nurse Living and Learning Village, a large grant announcement and an addition to the College of Nursing administration. These are just a few of the reasons we are proud to be Pirate Nurses!

–Dean Sylvia Brown


Homecoming and the PhD 10th Anniversary
The College of Nursing celebrated Homecoming and the 10th Anniversary of the PhD in Nursing Program on October 12, 2012. We were thrilled to welcome 15 of our 19 PhD graduates back to campus for a special luncheon and celebration. Current doctoral students had the opportunity to visit and network with our PhD alumni as they shared news about their current positions and research endeavors. If you are in the area, please stop by the College of Nursing to see our lobby display honoring the work of these graduates.

$1.098 million grant to expand online education and collaboration
Dr. Pam Reis, assistant professor in the Nurse-Midwifery MSN concentration was awarded a $1.098 million federal grant for students in nurse-midwifery, medicine and other health-related disciplines at East Carolina University to team up in a virtual clinic to improve women’s health. 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.

The project aims to improve primary care of women through the lifespan by expanding an existing web-based Virtual Community Clinic Learning Environment, a format similar to the popular Second Life virtual world. Students from the Nurse-Midwifery concentration will collaborate with third-year medical students on web-based scenarios.

The grant will also expand our Mini Business Institute to teach skills that students need to build a successful health care practice. The Mini Business Institute will be offered to nurse-midwifery MSN students, ECU obstetrics/gynecology and family medicine resident physicians and interested students and faculty in the health sciences division.

First class of the Future Pirate Nurse Living and Learning Village adjusts to campus life
Twenty-seven intended nursing majors joined our first Future Pirate Nurse Living and Learning Village (FPNLLV) in August. The village members live together in Umstead Hall and have several classes together. One of the aims of the village is to return to the idea of nurses living, learning and working together as they did in the past. Contemporary nursing education has veered away from the living and learning module; however, our Future Pirate Nurse Living and Learning module revives this tradition.

In addition to living together and having common classes, the students participate in activities to build teamwork and leadership and programs designed to help them be successful when they apply to the nursing program in the future.

Students in the village are quick to comment about the advantages of living and studying so closely with each other. They have nightly group study sessions and approach chemistry and other prerequisite courses with the benefit of a strong support system. One student summed up the village by saying that the FPNLLV makes ECU feel like a small school. With over 27,000 students, the small 27-person Future Pirate Nurse Living and Learning Village definitely provides students with a small college atmosphere!

Students who have been admitted to ECU for fall 2013 may apply for a spot in the next FPNLLV. Traci Baer ( is the contact person for FPNLLV applications and information.

Annual Fund 2012
During the 2012 College of Nursing annual fund drive, we are excited to offer an incentive to all donors who give a gift of $200 or more. ECU College of Nursing professor emerita and renowned artist, Dr. Lou Everett, has generously offered three of her works of art to give away exclusively to our Pirate Nurses! All gifts of $200 or more are eligible to receive a giclee reproduction of one of the paintings listed below. Hydrangeas and College in the Snow are 8 x 10 inches and Breakers is 12 x 24 inches. Simply include a note with your annual fund check specifying which print you would like to receive. Prints will be mailed in January 2013. We certainly appreciate Dr. Everett’s generosity for this campaign!

College of Nursing leads “Crossing Borders” interprofessional event
Dr. Donna Lake, clinical assistant professor, recently led a group to plan and host a first-of-its-kind event that united students on the health sciences campus to explore cultures, hidden misconceptions and their own beliefs. The planning group  was made up of faculty and staff from all areas of the Health Sciences Division.

On October 25, about 240 students and 50 faculty members in allied health sciences, dental medicine, medicine, nursing and Laupus Library watched the documentary “Crossing Borders,” which follows four Moroccan students and four American students studying abroad in Spain as they travel for a week through Morocco. The students, strangers before their trip, learned about themselves and each other through candid conversations on politics, religion, poverty, conflict and education.

After the movie, ECU students divided into 25 smaller groups, led by two faculty members from different colleges or schools, to discuss how the film’s themes related to their personal lives and their roles as health care providers. Students and faculty who participated in the film viewing and pre- and post-film discussions reflected positively on the experience. Students and faculty, alike, expressed an interest in future opportunities to work together. One of our nursing students commented, “Just the hour discussion that I had today with other students opened my eyes and really helped me to realize the total circle that is involved in patient care.”

Interprofessional discussion and collaboration is important to how we prepare nurses and other health care professionals. Patients have better outcomes when their providers are comfortable communicating with each other.

The “Crossing Borders” movie has been seen by students worldwide. Director Arnd Wächter said the film is designed to empower youth by deepening intercultural empathy and initiating student dialogues. To learn more, visit . If you are interested in the model used for this collaborative project, you may contact Dr. Donna Lake (College of Nursing) at

Dr. Kathy Sitzman named Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program
Kathy Sitzman, PhD, R.N., has joined the College of Nursing administration as professor and associate dean of the undergraduate program. Dr. Sitzman most recently served at Weber State University where she was an associate professor of nursing and received many teaching awards. She has published over 100 articles in national peer-reviewed journals, two nursing textbooks, and has served as principle investigator for several studies related to caring and home visiting nurses. Dr. Sitzman can be reached at


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