The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to evaluate the progress we’ve made toward our goals and to begin working on others.
This fall we’ve made important strides in both at the College of Nursing.
Students continue to be at the forefront of our mission. We began our fall semester with an enrollment of 1,245 students in our programs. Of those, 12 Post-Masters and nine MSN students make up the first class in our new Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program that prepares nurses to address one of the nation’s foremost healthcare concerns.
The persisting shortage of mental health providers, especially in rural areas like much of our region, has caused psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners to take on more responsibilities in the treatment of those suffering from mental illness.
But according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, only 1.8 percent of the nearly 234,000 nurse practitioners in the nation are certified in psychiatric and mental health care. In 2012, the North Carolina Medical Journal reported that 95 percent of all North Carolina counties had an unmet need for medical providers who can prescribe psychiatric medications — a deficit that psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners are able to fill.
This program will help close that gap.
As our university aims to increase its national prominence, the College of Nursing is doing our part by growing our global opportunities for students and faculty and expanding our research capacity.
This summer marked a decade of providing study-abroad experiences for students in Guatemala led by Dr. Kim Larson. We have had 130 students participate in this program since it was initiated. We have also partnered with the Brody School of Medicine to offer students an interprofessional learning experience in Nicaragua. Our faculty members serve as visiting professors, instructors and clinical consultants around the world and we’re excited about looking for new opportunities to expand our reach globally for both students and faculty.
Our efforts to expand research capacity has resulted in the establishment of a Research Administration Hub, a collaborative effort of the College of Nursing and the College of Allied Health Sciences. The Hub provides support for faculty by identifying funding opportunities, helping with proposal development and providing administrative support.
As we continue working toward our goals and establishing new ones, I thank all our alumni and friends for your continued support in preparing our students to meet the needs of our region, state, country and globally.
Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor, East Carolina University College of Nursing