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July 10, 2006
The nurse-midwifery education program in the School of Nursing at East Carolina University has received 10-year accreditation.
The Board of Review of the Division of Accreditation of the American College of Nurse-Midwives met June 16-18 and granted accreditation without recommendations for 10 years. The next self-evaluation report and site visit will be in 2016.
The board commended Jacqueline Hutcherson, certified nurse-midwife and director of the graduate concentration, and the ECU nurse-midwifery faculty for innovation in distance delivery and assessment of student learning and clinical experiences. The educational model at ECU provides an interdisciplinary approach where future physicians and nurse midwives research, practice and learn together.
Additionally, faculty were recognized for their commitment to underserved rural populations, according to a letter by Barbara Decker, chair of the review board. A special intent of ECU's program is for graduates to assume care provider roles in rural areas to meet the needs of underserved women and infants. As of 2005, ECU graduates choosing to practice in North Carolina all had located in federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Areas, officials said.
ECU's nurse-midwifery program is the only one in North Carolina. The program was initiated in 1991 as part of a legislative mandate to combat high infant mortality. ECU's program has succeeded by providing 25 percent of certified nurse midwives approved to practice in the state, Hutcherson said. Since 1991, the state's total number of nurses approved to practice has doubled. A total of 15 certified nurse midwives practice in Pitt County.