Nurse of the Week: NICU Nurse Lexi Brown Born During Blizzard Works First Shift During Hurricane Florence

Nurse of the Week: NICU Nurse Lexi Brown Born During Blizzard Works First Shift During Hurricane Florence

Our Nurse of the Week is Lexi Brown, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) in Wilmington, NC. After being born as a NICU baby during a blizzard, Brown later worked her first shift as a NICU nurse during Hurricane Florence.

Brown was born premature during a blizzard and spent the first six weeks of her life in the NICU. When a blizzard dumped four feet of snow in the area a week after she was born, the governor declared a state of emergency, preventing her parents from visiting her for several days. Her own birth story inspired Brown to become a NICU nurse, and she relived a similar situation 23 years later when Hurricane Florence required the governor to call for a state of emergency, leading to a 135-hour marathon shift that kept her at NHRMC for six days straight.

Brown’s stay in the NICU as an infant was difficult for her parents who couldn’t get to her until the blizzard passed. They had to turn her life over to the nurses who were caring for her, and hearing her parents talk about the care her nurses provided inspired Brown to want to become a NICU nurse herself.

Brown was scheduled to work her first official shift as a NICU nurse on September 12, two days before Hurricane Florence hit, and two days after Governor Roy Cooper had declared a state of emergency. Her parents couldn’t be more proud to see her back in the NICU now, this time as a nurse serving other vulnerable families.

Brown tells, “Just having my parents’ perspective from it all makes me pay more attention to parents. I have the baby as my patient but the parents are just as important. Just focusing on how they feel and making sure that they know that they’re still great parents even though they couldn’t be there.”

To learn more about NICU nurse Lexi Brown whose family’s experience during her stay in the NICU as an infant inspired her to become a NICU nurse later in life, visit here.

New Paramedic-to-Nursing Program Approved for Robeson Community College

New Paramedic-to-Nursing Program Approved for Robeson Community College

Robeson Community College’s new nursing program was recently approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing, ahead of its start in summer 2019.

RCC’s Paramedic to RN Bridge program is designed for paramedics to obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing. This program allows paramedics to study for three years at Robeson; Robeson ADN recipients can continue studying at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke for another year to earn a Bachelor Degree in Nursing.

Interest in the program, including 5,000 hits on Facebook alone, has been steady ­— no doubt reflecting a need for this nursing education need in North Carolina. Eva Meekins, Nursing Department Director at Robeson Community College, tells The Robesonian, “We are one of the few schools in the state that offer a paramedic to ADN program. We don’t have the capacity to meet the demand.”

The bridge program is set up so students can get certified as paramedics through Robeson and start their medical careers, earning and saving money. This will provide the financial freedom some students need to continue pursuing their education. And though many people are interested in joining the new nursing program at Robeson, there will still be plenty of local paramedics who continue their careers without pursing a nursing degree.

For more information about Robeson Community College and its new Paramedic to RN Bridge program, click here.

NYU Nursing Receives $3.47 Million NIH Grant to Improve Oral Health in People with Dementia

NYU Nursing Receives $3.47 Million NIH Grant to Improve Oral Health in People with Dementia

The NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing has received $3.47 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve the oral hygiene of people with mild dementia. The five-year grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and National Institute on Aging will be used to implement and study a unique oral health intervention involving family caregivers in New York and North Carolina.

NYU Meyers’ Bei Wu is the principal investigator on the project, assisted by co-principal investigators Brenda Plassman from Duke Health and Ruth Anderson from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

People with dementia usually have significantly poorer oral health than other older adults, including more plaque, cavities, severe gum disease, and fewer teeth. Individuals with mild dementia are at a higher risk of poor oral health and research suggests inadequate oral hygiene practices are to blame.

The researchers developed an intervention to help family caregivers guide people with mild dementia in carrying out oral hygiene. The intervention is designed to work with the caregiver and individual with mild dementia to identify challenges in oral care and improve the ability of the person with dementia to engage in effective oral care. Thanks to the NIH funding, the research team will conduct a randomized controlled trial in New York City and North Carolina to test the oral health intervention.

To learn more about NYU Nursing’s recent $3.47 million grant from the NIH to improve oral health in people with dementia, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Registered Nurse Careen Rodgers Helps Hurricane Florence Survivors

Nurse of the Week: Registered Nurse Careen Rodgers Helps Hurricane Florence Survivors

Our Nurse of the Week is Careen Rodgers, a registered nurse employed by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), who packed her bags and headed south after seeing the extensive havoc that Hurricane Florence wreaked on the Carolinas. Rodgers was one of 22 nurses from the VDH who joined forces with the North Carolina Department of Health to set up shelters along the coast.

Rodgers’ volunteer stint became a 10-day trip after she found herself in Raleigh, North Carolina along with members of the National Guard and others nurses, totaling over 1,000 emergency response personnel. Rodgers joined a team of nurses bound for New Bern, one of the hardest hit areas. She was posted at a shelter at Trent Park Elementary School. The school itself didn’t receive extensive damage from the storm but the nearby residents who fled to the safe location weren’t so lucky. Many swam in the dark to get to the shelter due to extensive flooding.

Many of the injuries treated at Trent Park weren’t life-threatening. Rodgers helped administer basic first aid, but recalls the importance of providing emotional support to her patients as well, many of whom were escaping flooded homes and devastating damage.

Rodgers tells, “Our role was basic first aid. We cared for minor cuts and bruises, but we were also there providing emotional support. We weren’t just caring for the outside injuries, but the inside injuries. You think about a nurse tending to a wound, but there’s a lot more that we do…It was all about helping people at a basic level of humanity.”

To learn more about Careen Rodgers and her generous efforts in helping survivors of Hurricane Florence, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Brigit Carter, Associate Dean in the Duke University School of Nursing, Heads Program for Underrepresented Minorities

Nurse of the Week: Brigit Carter, Associate Dean in the Duke University School of Nursing, Heads Program for Underrepresented Minorities

Our Nurse of the Week is Brigit Carter, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Duke University School of Nursing, who is leading diversity efforts by heading a program for underrepresented minorities.

Carter’s role is focused on making the School of Nursing a welcoming and inclusive place for employees and students by meeting with members from other departments to form strategies that encourage an affirming atmosphere. She has used a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to fund the School of Nursing’s Academy for Academic and Social Enrichment and Health Equity Academy over the last decade.

Duke nursing students from underrepresented minority groups take part in the academy to study social determinants of health. The Health Equity Academy ultimately aims to understand how to best serve patients from a variety of backgrounds.

Carter tells, “We want to be known as a place where all people can come together and feel comfortable, at home and supported. I want us to be proactive in our approach to diversity and inclusion.”

Carter holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from North Carolina Central University and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also works as a secondary clinical staff nurse in the Duke University Hospital Intensive Care Nursery where she cares for infants who were born early, born with a condition or disease at birth that requires immediate attention, or born with a pre-existing condition like genetic anomalies.

To learn more about Duke Nursing Associate Dean Brigit Carter and her role heading Duke’s program for underrepresented minorities, visit here.

High School Senior Accepted to 113 Colleges and Universities Plans to Pursue Nursing Career

High School Senior Accepted to 113 Colleges and Universities Plans to Pursue Nursing Career

Spring is usually a stressful time for high school seniors who are waiting to hear back from the colleges they’ve applied to with hopes of being accepted. This experience was no different for Jasmine E. Harrison, a 17-year-old senior at The Academy at Smith in Greensboro, NC. However, Harrison was highly unique in that she heard back from over 100 schools.

Harrison is among millions of high school students who use online college application tools that allow you to apply to multiple institutions at once. Most students use this type of tool to apply their credentials to between four and 20 schools. Harrison, however, was accepted to 113 out of the 115 schools she applied to, and was offered more than a total of $4 million in scholarship funding.

Once Harrison began to receive acceptance letters and financial offers, it fueled her confidence and inspired her to keep applying to more colleges. An exceptional student with a 4.0 grade point average, Harrison tells that she began wondering, “I felt if I can get into all of these, what else can I get in?”

As the acceptances began rolling in, Harrison started applying to colleges farther from home. She also used Common Black College Application to put her academic credentials in front of 53 of the country’s historically black colleges and universities.

Some of her applications were also filed individually, utilizing the help of low fees during North Carolina’s free college application week. The common application programs made the process more affordable for Harrison. The Academy at Smith in Greensboro told that Harrison only spent $135 on all of her applications.

After applying to schools all over the country, Harrison decided to stay close to home. She accepted an offer from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina’s third-largest city. Her sister also attended the small historically black college for women, which offered Harrison a full scholarship covering the $28,000 annual cost to attend.

According to, Ms. Harrison plans to major in biology and work as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. Her career choice is inspired by the women who cared for one of her brothers in the NICU.

To learn more about Harrison’s experience applying to more than 100 colleges and universities, visit here.

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