College of Nursing

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College of Nursing receives nationwide award for way it teaches students

September 27, 2011

East Carolina University's College of Nursing received top recognition among eight schools in the nation Friday for the way it teaches students.

ECU has been named a Center of Excellence for 2011-2015 by the National League for Nursing. Six of the eight, including ECU, are repeat designees. Nineteen schools in the nation currently hold the designation.

The award was presented Sept. 23 at the NLN's annual Education Summit in Orlando, Fla. Joining Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the ECU College of Nursing, in receiving the award were faculty members Dr. Frances Eason, chair of the college's Center of Excellence task force, Mary Holland, executive director of program evaluation in the college, and Mark Hand, clinical assistant professor and president of the N.C. League for Nursing.

"This award continues to demonstrate the commitment that our faculty and staff have to creating a student-centered learning environment that demonstrates excellence in nursing education," Brown said.

The National League for Nursing's Dr. Beverly Malone, chief executive officer, and Dr. Cathleen Shultz, president, presented the award.

"We are so honored to have been re-designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence for our distinction in creating environments that enhance student learning and professional development," Brown said. "This award reflects our continued commitment to provide innovative programs in nursing education that ultimately impact the health and well being of citizens in our region and around the world."

The college has been recognized for offering a wide variety of programs and technology to help students learn including distance education, simulation labs, clinical placements and study abroad. ECU is known for innovative online outreach efforts designed to increase working nurses' access to education in rural areas

Students also are taught to give back. Last year, students organized and raised funds through a kickball tournament to help nursing students in Haiti devastated by the earthquake. They also contribute to the college's emergency needs fund to help fellow nursing students in crises.

Other schools and colleges named include Duquesne University, Regis College, Trinitas School of Nursing, Collin College and the University of Connecticut. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro also was chosen, earning their third consecutive COE designation along with Excelsior College. As such, they are entitled to an additional designation year, from 2011-2016.

Since 2004, the National League for Nursing has invited nursing schools and colleges to apply based on their ability to demonstrate sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, or student learning and professional development. Schools must show a commitment to continuous quality improvement.

ECU faculty and staff serving on a task force to obtain designation was chair Eason, Lou Anne Baldree, Laurie Evans, Mary Holland, Donna Lake, Kim Larson, Annette Peery, Donna Roberson, Ann Schreier, and Mary Wilson.

The ECU College of Nursing was established in 1959, the oldest in the health sciences division, and has an enrollment of more than 1,100 students in baccalaureate, master's and doctoral nursing programs. It is the largest producer of new nursing graduates in the state and offers the only nurse midwifery plan of study and alternate entry MSN option for non-nursing bachelor degree holders in the state.

ECU has nursing graduates in 82 of North Carolina's 100 counties and in every state in the nation except Maine. According to N.C. Board of Nursing statistics for the most recent testing period, ECU's first time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination was 98 percent for 227 nursing graduates. The state average is 93 percent. The exam is required to get a license to practice as a nurse in the United States.