ECU CONnection Newsletter – November 2022

A College of Nursing faculty member speaks with Doctor of Nursing Practice students during on-campus intensive skills practice October 26, 2022

A College of Nursing faculty member speaks with Doctor of Nursing Practice students during on-campus intensive skills practice October 26, 2022

Message From Dean

Dr. Bimbola Akintade

Dr. Bimbola Akintade

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The CONnection, ECU College of Nursing’s newsletter. In The CONnection we will keep our core audiences – faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends – up to date on the happenings at the College, with our students and the alumni who represent Pirate Nurse Nation across the globe.

The email version of The CONnection will arrive in in-boxes around the third week of each month, and the archived version will be updated as the month progresses and available on our website at We invite you to share the newsletter with your family and friends, and we encourage all our faculty, staff, students and alumni to sign up for the email at

We’ll need your help to make this newsletter work. Send us your stories, photos, videos as well as feedback and suggestions for how we can better tell the Pirate Nurse story to Also, join us on our social media platforms on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram as we inform and interact with you – the reason the College of Nursing is among the most highly regarded schools of nursing in the nation.

Over the first few months of my time as the Dean, I’ve had the good fortune to get to know the faculty and staff here at the College, but as important has been the opportunities to engage with our students and alumni. Pirate Nurses who are in hospitals, schools, clinics and classrooms making health care better are paving the way for the next generations of Pirate Nurses that we are teaching. Our teaching and education mission wouldn’t be possible without the generous support that we get every day from our alumni communities and the donors who help support our nursing education mission. For those that I haven’t yet met, I’m looking for innovative ways to strengthen our alumni network and I welcome any ideas that you have to bolster those connections.

Since I took over as the Dean in July, there has been notable change, not just within our College, but the university as a whole. We are operating under a Provost model now, which gathers the academic aspects of the university under one leader. Dr. Robin Coger, the new provost, is an incredible woman and the right leader for the realignment to the Provost model. I encourage you to learn more about her, and the realignment, by visiting ECU’s Academic Affairs website.

As we settle in to the holiday season, I hope you will join me in pausing over the next few days to reflect on the blessings in your life – family, friends and good health. I’m getting a sense of what makes Pirate Nurse Nation so special and I’m thankful to each and every one of you.

Notable News

DNP Intensive at the College of Nursing

DNP Intensive

The week of October 24-18 was a really good week here at the College of Nursing. Our Doctor of Nursing Practice students were on campus working on clinical skills such as EKG interpretation and suturing, as well as self-care and motivational interviews.

The DNP program is predominantly distance education. We require our students, though, to come to campus each year for intensive clinical skill sessions. Having time with our students, face-to-face, is important so that we can get to know them as students and people.

Alumni Spotlight


Susan Lally and Alexis Spence on stage at the American Psychiatric Nurse Association conference in Long Beach, California Oct. 19-22.

American Psychiatric Nurse Association Conference

Susan Lally and Alexis Spence gave their presentation, “Preparing Nurses to Activate Self Care: What We Need” at the American Psychiatric Nurse Association conference in Long Beach, California Oct. 19-22.

Dr. Mark Hand

Kudos to Dr. Mark Hand for a busy few months of presentations – from Nebraska to Scotland!

  • Podium Presentation: “Graduating Nursing Students’ Preparedness and Comfort in Caring for the LGBTQ+ Patient”, North Carolina League for Nursing, Wilmington, NC, Oct. 14th, 2022.
  • Virtual Presentation: “Improving LGBTQ+ Health Equity via Nursing Education”, Audrey Solberg Smith Distinguished Lectureship, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, Aug. 15th, 2022.
  • Podium Presentation: “Graduating Nursing Students Preparedness and Comfort in Caring for the LGBTQ+ Patient”, 33rd International Conference – Sigma Theta Tau, Edinburgh, Scotland, Jul. 22, 2022.
  • On Nov. 9, Dr. Mark Hand presented his research on Men in Nursing Academia virtually at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Diversity Symposium.
  • Dr. Hand has had his presentation “Men as Nursing Faculty: Factors Associated with Recruitment and Retention” accepted as a podium presentation for the 2023 National Nurse Educator Summit at the end of April in San Antonio.

MSN students, Joanna Reynolds and Rebecca Judy, presented their MSN project to colleagues recently – Joanna at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia during a training event Nov. 4 and Rebecca to her NICU colleagues in Charlotte. The presentation explained their project titled “Identifying Metabolic Diseases that Precipitate Neonatal Seizures”.
Alt: Joanna Reynolds presenting her research project.

Joanna Reynolds presents her research to collages at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia.

Reynolds’ and Judy’s poster presentation

Reynolds’ and Judy’s poster presentation

Nursing students present research virtually.

Beta Nu’s 1st Honors College Student Showcase

Beta Nu, ECU’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, held its 1st Honors College Student Showcase on Nov. 16. It featured seven undergraduate nursing students presenting their research posters. Dr. Mark Hand helped to moderate the presentations and there was a great turnout to hear a wide range of presentations from our Honors College students.


Kimberly Delgado, an ECU nursing PhD candidate, was spotlighted by the Association for Leadership Science in Nursing in January 2022.

Association for Leadership Science in Nursing

Dr. Kimberly Delgado successfully defended her dissertation Nov. 9. The title of her dissertation is “The Lived Experience of Nursing Staff in Skilled Nursing Facilities: Identification of Urinary Tract Infection in Residents.”

Her committee included Dr. Donna Roberson (Chair), Dr. Gina Firnhaber, Dr. Annette Greer and Dr. Holly Wei.

Congratulations DOCTOR Delgado.

Dr. Kimberly Delgado was highlighted in a Member Spotlight from the Association for Leadership Science in Nursing in January 2022. In the profile, Kimberly discussed her nursing background and her current research focus on urinary tract infections in skilled nursing facilities. She also discussed the connection between academic and clinical practice and the benefits of ALSN membership.

Frances Eason, Ed.D, MSN, RN, CNE, was recently recertified as a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) of the National League of Nursing, until December 2027.

The Nursing Education Educator Development (NEEDs) was granted recertification until January 2027 by the NC Board of Nursing. This is a 45 hour course usually taught in the Summer an co-sponsored by ECU Continuing Professional Education.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, as a guest of Daphne Brewington, PhD, RN and ECU Health, I attended the 2022 North Carolina Great 100 Nurses Induction and Banquet and it was a beautiful event. I had the opportunity to celebrate East Carolina University College of Nursing alums, faculty and students including Michelle Skipper, Alexis Hodges, DNP, FNP-C, CDP, NRCME, CNE, Dr. Ivy Bagley DNP MSN FNP-C IBCLC, Pamela DiMattina, Dianne Marshburn, Chandra Speight, Melinda Matthews among others. Congratulations to all inductees and thank you for what you do for the state and the region!!!

Pirate Nurses inducted this year include Dr. Ivy Marie Bagley, Kristy Cook, Margo Eatmon, Dr. Alex Hodges, Jamie Hoggard, Dr. Michael Kennedy, Donna Lou Montana-Rhodes, Grayson D. Moore, Dr. Malissa Mulkey, Shannon Powell, Denise Norris, April Schultz and Tara Stroud.

Dr. Chelsea Passwater

40 Under 40

The Division of Student Affairs recognizes emerging leaders who received their start at East Carolina University. The ECU 40 Under Forty Leadership Awards recognize outstanding leaders, under age 40, that have used their ECU experience to make an impact in their respective professions, local communities, and/or around the world.

Must be an ECU graduate (undergraduate or graduate/professional degree); under the age of 40; and have made an impact in business, research, artistic, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors.

Dr. Chelsea Passwater is a three time Pirate graduate who truly leads the life of a Pirate caring for the people of eastern NC. In addition to educating future advance practice nurses, she provides heartfelt services to oncology patients through advocacy, new program development and disseminates her work to improve the lives of others. Dr. Passwater has represented the east by presenting at over seven professional conferences, authored four articles in peer reviewed journals, and served as a consultant for five professional organizations throughout the country. She holds specialty certifications as board certified adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist and as a certified oncology nurse.

ECU Nursing clinical associate professor Jan Tillman

Office for Faculty Excellence Faculty Fellow

Cross posting from the Provost’s monthly newsletter: “We are pleased to share that Jan Tillman is serving as the Office for Faculty Excellence Faculty Fellow during the 2022/2023 Academic Year. Jan is a faculty member in the College of Nursing and brings a passion for teaching and an eye for cross-campus collaboration opportunities. In addition to planning and facilitating professional development opportunities for faculty, Jan is available for consultation about teaching-related topics.”

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

Clinical Nurse Specialist students presented Nov. 5 at the NC Affiliate of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists annual conference. Leah Haught presented a poster on game-based learning to improve patient fall rates; and Nicole Simmons and Kenny Miller presented a podium presentation on the development of a trauma dashboard. Each of these projects came out of student learning assignments.

ECU Nursing student Lean Haught.

ECU Nursing student Leah Haught presents at the NC Affiliate of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists annual conference

ECU Nursing students Nicole Simmons and Kenny Miller.

Nicole Simmons and Kenny Miller present at the NC Affiliate of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists annual conference

Dr. Lesha Rouse

Faculty Leadership Fellows

Dr. Lesha Rouse has been invited to participate Spring 2023 Faculty Leadership Fellows cohort. During the spring semesters, the selected fellows will use one of the courses they are teaching to help students develop leadership skills and qualities. Fellows will observe one another’s teaching and work as a group to evaluate the effectiveness and successes of all of the Fellow’s student leadership development initiatives during the course of the semester.

Dr. Holly Wei

ECU College of Nursing PhD student, Kara Evans, has co-authored an article with Dr. Holly Wei, professor and associate dean for research and scholarship at East Tennessee State University titled “The state of the science of nurses’ implicit bias: A call to go beyond the face of the other and revisit the ethic of belonging and power," which was accepted by Advances in Nursing Science (ANS). Wei is former nursing professor at the ECU College of Nursing.

Dean Akintade and Daphne Brewington at North Carolina Great 100 Nurses Induction and Banquet

Dr. Bim Akintade was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), one of the highest honors bestowed upon nurses in the profession, during a ceremony in Washington DC Oct. 28.

A message from Dean Akintade:

I would like to thank my family f
or their unwavering support, my sponsors Dean Jane Kirschling and Shannon Reedy Idzik for believing in me, along with Giordana Segneri for ensuring our submission demonstrated the impact I have made in the profession.

I celebrate my late mother (Mrs. Gladys Akintade) whose sudden death steered me towards healthcare, and my recent experience in Nigeria that gave me the impetus and courage to start Health For Nigeria, a donor funded non-profit organization that increases healthcare access for residents in rural regions in Nigeria. I also acknowledge Danielle M. and my colleagues at DNPs of Color that provided an opportunity to deepen my service and desire for social Justice by leading DEI initiatives that support, sponsor and mentor underrepresented DNP students and professionals.

I have been fortunate as my journey has been full of opportunities for significant grace, support, mentorship and sponsorship. I am grateful for the constant support of my colleagues, mentors, mentees, faculty, staff, students, and everyone who have formed the solid foundation on which I stand today.

Congratulations to my fellow inductees!!! I am energized by this achievement and I plan to continue my journey as a transformational leader and change agent to positively impact our noble profession!

Alumni and Giving

Fall '22 Faculty Emeriti Luncheon

The fall attendance for the faculty emeriti luncheon was filled with laughter and good memories shared. Not pictured is Judy Williams who had to leave early (L to R standing: Dr. Alligood, Dr. Brown, Karen Krupa, Dean Akintade, Dr. Andrews, Jenna Boardman, Elizabeth Maxwell, L to R sitting: Jackie Hutcherson, Gene Tranbarger, Helen Brinson, and Iona Poston).

Dean Akintade called the first joint meeting for the new Academic Practice Partnership with ECU Health in Nov. Dr. Daphne Brewington ('90 BSN; '98 MSN; '13 PhD), ECU Health's CNO - 4th from left- will join Dean Akintade to welcome Jan's new undergrad and grad students and assure them, if they wish, of a job at the hospital next door to the College of Nursing upon graduation. All committees of this joint venture, which will benefit both groups, have representatives from both organizations.

Philanthropic News The College of Nursing is proud to announce the largest planned gift it has received to date. The very substantial planned gift was from Dr. Bruce and Mrs. Hardee Klitzman of Durham in memory of their daughter, Rachel. The Klitzmans previously established an endowed scholarship in Rachel's memory and their planned gift greatly expands the number of scholarships awarded to those who can least afford a nursing education. We are most grateful for their philanthropy which was in part generated because of the college's focus on equity and its mission to serve the underserved. We are especially honored by this gift since neither are alumni of ECU.