Letter from the Dean: November, 2018

Dr. Sylvia Brown

Dear friends,

We’ve had many exciting developments since our last issue of Pirate Nurse Notes. It’s been a busy summer and fall here at the college! We experienced our largest fall enrollment in the history of the college with 1,281 students. While we continue to grow, our student outcomes also continue to be exemplary. The NCLEX-RN exam pass rate was 99 percent for the students who completed the exam from January through September 2018. The college had a 100 percent pass rate for Nurse Midwifery, Nurse Anesthesia, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist-Neonatal, and Clinical Nurse Specialist-Adult Gerontology. For the class of 2017-18 consisting of 488 graduates, an employment survey of our graduate and undergraduate alumni indicated that 93 percent were employed in nursing or were continuing their education, 89 percent remained in NC to work in 48 counties, and 46 percent were employed in eastern North Carolina. It is exciting to see the impact that our Pirate Nurses are having in our region, our state, and beyond.

Two of our nurse leaders who played a significant role in the College of Nursing passed away last month. Dr. Dixie Koldjeski died on Thursday, October 4, 2018. Dr. Koldjeski received BSN and MSN degrees from Indiana University with a focus on Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing and a PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington. She served as professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatric Nursing at Indiana University School of Nursing from 1965-1973. She then served as a professor and coordinator of Psychiatric Nursing at ECU from 1973-1976. From 1976-1978, Dr. Koldjeski was the chief of the Psychiatric Nursing Education branch of the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C.. Dr. Koldjeski was instrumental in getting the MSN degree program established at ECU and served as the assistant dean and director of Graduate Nursing Studies from 1978-84. She then served as professor and director of the graduate program in psychiatric nursing and the doctoral program at University of Pittsburgh from 1984-1989. She then returned to ECU where she served as associate dean of Research and Evaluation from 1993-2002. Among her many accomplishments, she was selected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 1978, was recognized for her contributions to nursing research by the ANA Council of Nurse Researchers, published the textbook Community Health Nursing: New Directions in Theory and Practice, was a project director for NIMH training grants for four years, and published numerous research articles. She was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University School of Nursing, Distinguished Sorrell Professor from Troy State University, Evans Distinguished Lecturer from University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, and inducted in the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Emilie Henning-Schaefer died on October 6, 2018. Dr. Henning-Schaefer was a graduate of Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. She received a BSN degree from Seton Hall University and a master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia University. She taught at Rutgers University and served as dean at Florida State University. Dr. Henning served as dean of the School of Nursing at ECU from 1982-1989. As she retired from ECU, she was asked to list her major accomplishments during her leadership. She stated, “If one believes as I do, that the major concern of a dean is the facilitation of the scholarly work of the faculty, then the dean serves as the one who nurtures and casts a positive influence on the faculty’s teaching and other scholarly activities.” She implemented a new organizational structure for the school which organized the school into three departments. Dr. Henning-Schaefer was a strong supporter of faculty and student involvement in Sigma Theta Tau International. During this time, several faculty were in leadership positions at the local, regional and national level of this organization and she mentored faculty to assume these leadership roles. After retirement, she lived in Greenville until 2014, when she then returned to live in Pennsylvania near family.

Our college is fortunate to have had these two nurse leaders who made such a positive impact on our school, as well as the nursing profession.

Fall brought with it some serious challenges for eastern North Carolina. Flooding and heavy winds brought by Hurricane Florence impacted many within our university community and beyond. But events such as these always manage to bring us together and remind us what it means to be a Pirate Nurse. The response from our nursing students, faculty, staff, and alumni in helping out those in need has been nothing short of inspiring.

Our Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN students, unable to work in their community clinical sites, instead spent that time working in Beaufort County Community Centers and establishing FEMA command centers in Washington. Dr. Ann King, a clinical professor in our DNP program, worked long days for two weeks in the town of Swansboro, heading up the medical response team that delivered medical and food supplies and cared for residents throughout the area. Once again, the director of our DNP program for FNP and AGPCNP, Dr. Michelle Skipper, was at the forefront of relief efforts in St. Pauls, where the College of Nursing sent a truck load of donated supplies to meet her. Most recently, the college’s Beta Nu chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing collected donations for our neighbors in New Bern. These are just a few of the examples of the responses of our faculty, students, and staff.

I extend my deepest appreciation to all of you who have contributed your time, effort and supplies. Your work serves as an inspiration for us to continue tackling these sorts of monumental obstacles undaunted.

I hope you will take time to explore this latest edition of Pirate Nurse Notes to learn more details about things happening at the College of Nursing. Please follow us on social media for updates and stay in touch with us. We love to hear about the great things that are going on in the lives of our alumni.

Warmest regards,

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF
Dean and Professor, East Carolina University College of Nursing