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College of Nursing launches Pirate Nurse Network at CarolinaEast

August 11, 2014

East Carolina University College of Nursing graduates who work at CarolinaEast Medical Center have a new way to stay connected with their alma mater. The college and the medical facility have partnered to launch the Pirate Nurse Network at CarolinaEast Medical Center.

The Pirate Nurse Network is a member-driven support organization designed to provide educational opportunities and networking for ECU nursing graduates. The New Bern alumni group is eastern North Carolina’s second such network; the college and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville announced the first Pirate Nurse Network in November 2013.

"The College of Nursing is very proud of its alumni," said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of nursing. "We intend for these networks to support graduates’ careers while also keeping them connected to the college and to each other."

Dr. Alta Andrews, director for community partnerships and practice at the College of Nursing, said that when the Pirate Nurse Network held its inaugural meeting at CarolinaEast this spring, attendees immediately sensed their common bonds.

"There were people who work in that agency that really didn’t know each other at all, who came to school in different decades." Andrews said. "But the energy, the excitement, and just the warm feeling in that room was phenomenal."

Andrews worked with Dr. Lou Everett, assistant to the dean for the undergraduate program, and other college staff to establish the network. Collaborators at CarolinaEast included Rosanne Leahy (BSN ‘78), vice president and chief nursing officer, and Beth Paul (BSN ’07, MSN ‘14), an intensive care nurse.

Paul remarked on the same sense of community that Andrews noted about the group. Many CarolinaEast Medical Center nursing staff members help educate ECU students by serving as clinical preceptors, but this is another way for alumni to get involved.

"We all have that Pirate spirit within us," Paul said. "This is a great opportunity for us to give back to the college and get involved with it again."

Already 30 alumni have joined, and members say they are looking forward to continued growth. The group is planning to offer social networking events in addition to professional development activities. Members also have expressed interest in community service opportunities, which is a wonderful way for nurses to get to know one another as well as their community, Leahy said.

"It’s a nice way for nurses to grow together, to professionally develop together, and to establish a network of support for one another," Leahy said. CarolinaEast is a 350-bed facility with inpatient and outpatient services in addition to units dedicated to heart, critical, intensive, women's, pediatric, orthopedic, surgical and cancer care.

For information about joining or creating a Pirate Nurse Network, contact Elizabeth Willy at willye14@ecu.edu or 252-744-6424.