|NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White and Central Carolina Community College President T. Eston Marchant sign the RIBN agreement|
North Carolina Central University and Central Carolina Community College have announced an agreement to collaborate on a program designed to raise the education and training level of nurses in the work force.
The program is called RIBN, which stands for Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses. Extensive research has shown that the level of nursing education has a measurable effect on patient outcomes.
A four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, RIBN will enroll its first students in the fall of 2014. The students would be enrolled at both NCCU and Central Carolina. For the first three years, they would take most classes at one of Central Carolina’s campuses in Lee, Harnett or Chatham counties, but would be required to take at least one course per semester at NCCU. The fourth and final year of classes would be completed at NCCU. Most or all of the NCCU nursing courses are available online, so physical attendance at the Durham campus would not be required.
Dr. Betty Dennis, chair of the NCCU Department of Nursing, described the collaboration as a response in part to a 2010 report, “The Future of Nursing,” by the Institute of Medicine, an influential nonprofit group based in Washington. A major recommendation of the report was that the percentage of working nurses holding at least a bachelor’s degree be raised to 80 percent nationally.
“The demand for nurses and the demands on nurses have accelerated and expanded,” Dennis said. “Clearly, the number of graduates from baccalaureate programs is not sufficient to meet this challenge. Although associate degree and diploma programs graduate about 65 percent of nurses, only 15 percent of these nurses ever complete the baccalaureate or go on to graduate study.” The RIBN program, based on a model initiated in Oregon, is one of the strategies to address this problem, she said.
Dr. T. Eston Marchant, president of Central Carolina Community College, said, “This collaboration is a significant contribution toward educating the nurses society needs. Both our schools have excellent reputations for nursing education. The RIBN will increase opportunities for training, as well as decrease the cost, for those interested in earning their bachelor’s degrees.”
NCCU’s chancellor, Dr. Debra Saunders-White, noted that labor market forecasts anticipate a significant shortage of nurses in the years ahead in North Carolina and nationwide. “This program is a step toward addressing that shortage,” she said. “And it is important to note that a high percentage of our nursing graduates go to work in underserved communities throughout the state. Not only are we increasing the number of well-trained nurses in the pipeline, we’re also steering them to the communities where they are most needed.”