If service to our communities is part of East Carolina University's mission, it's in the College of Nursing's DNA. Our dedication to transforming health through education, leadership, scholarship and service is evident in everything we do.
It's especially apparent in the way we prepare our students, whose first-time pass rates on the nursing licensure exam average almost 10 percentage points higher than the national average. Our graduates, prepared as nursing generalists, work in a wide array of health care settings and tend to remain in North Carolina - meaning you'll find Pirate Nurses working anywhere from hospitals to public health departments across the East.
Our commitment is visible in the way we serve the state's health care needs. The ECU College of Nursing educates the most new nurses among the state's educational institutions by a margin of nearly 30 percent over the next highest producer.
We're also working to address North Carolina's critical need for more baccalaureate-prepared nurses. Less than 40 percent of nurses in North Carolina were educated at the BSN level or higher in 2012 (most have a two-year associate degree). Because increasing the proportion of BSN-educated nurses has been associated with improved patient outcomes, the North Carolina Future of Nursing Action Coalition has set the goal of achieving 80 percent of our nursing workforce with BSN or higher degrees by 2025. In December, we graduated our largest RN to BSN class yet with 114 graduates, and we are continuing to expand this option to meet the needs of our region and state.
Additionally, our programs are helping meet a recommendation put forth by the Institute of Medicine in its landmark The Future of Nursing report: Double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020. We began our BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice Program this fall and have 69 students enrolled. In December, we graduated our first class of post-master's DNP graduates. We have 26 students in our PhD program, which graduates scholars ready to become the profession's next generation of leaders and nurse scientists.
Across all we do, our faculty and students are engaged with the community. They recently assisted with the local Give Kids a Smile event to bring dental care to underserved children, and collected donated books for pediatric offices to encourage early literacy skills in young children - just two examples of many that demonstrate how we improve lives every day both in class and through extracurricular efforts.
There are more wonderful things happening at our College of Nursing than I could ever put in a letter. I hope you'll take the time to explore this latest edition of Pirate Nurse Notes for some highlights, including the exciting news that we've joined the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. Please follow us on social media for updates between these emails, and don't forget to keep in touch!
Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean and Professor, East Carolina University College of Nursing