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.

UNC Greensboro Breaks Ground on New Nursing and Instructional Building

UNC Greensboro Breaks Ground on New Nursing and Instructional Building

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) recently held a ceremony to celebrate the groundbreaking of its new Nursing and Instructional Building. The180,000-square-foot facility is being made possible thanks to state funding from the Connect NC Bond.

Chanceller Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. tells, “The groundbreaking of the Nursing and Instructional Building is a Giant Step — it’s a long-awaited moment not just for the campus community, but for the state. What happens inside the building will impact the health and wellness of communities across the state.”

The UNCG School of Nursing is currently located in four buildings and will occupy 50 percent of the new $105 million building once completed. The facility will also provide teaching and classroom space, as well as flexible laboratory research space for the School of Health and Human Sciences. In total, the building will house 39 labs, 14 classrooms, 9 research suites, and a community engagement center.

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and several representatives from the North Carolina legislature attended the event to celebrate UNCG’s new building which will better prepare students in the nursing and STEM fields. To learn more about the groundbreaking ceremony, visit here.

Fayetteville State University Receives $1 Million Donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Fayetteville State University Receives $1 Million Donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Fayetteville State University (FSU) recently received a major donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. The $1 million donation to FSU’s nursing program will go toward scholarships and helping improve a shortage of qualified nurses in the state.

Blue Cross NC’s contribution to Fayetteville State University is part of the company’s decision to provide $50 million in support of community health initiatives this year. The university plans to use the money for scholarships to address access to care and nursing shortages across the state and nation.

Dr. Patrick Conway, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC, tells, “We are excited to be able to help Fayetteville State University admit and train new nurses, especially from rural North Carolina. To bring costs down and increase quality, we have to think more broadly about what it means to invest in health — this is a great example of that principle in action.”

Thanks to the generous gift from Blue Cross NC, the FSU School of Nursing will be able to expand its service offerings, update equipment, and provide scholarship support for nursing students. According to, a recent study conducted by Georgetown University found that North Carolina is projected to have the second-largest shortage of nurses in the nation with a total deficit of 12,900 nurses. With a state and national shortage of trained nurses, it is essential that nursing programs begin addressing this critical problem.

To learn more about Blue Cross NC’s $1 million donation to Fayetteville State University’s nursing program, visit here.

Duke University School of Nursing Rolls Out New APRN Program in Psychiatric Mental Health

Duke University School of Nursing Rolls Out New APRN Program in Psychiatric Mental Health

Master’s students in the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) have the opportunity to enroll in a new major in Psychiatric Mental Health as of the Spring 2018 semester. This newest major being offered is for Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) students interested in pursuing a specialty nursing track.

Duke believes in the importance of specialty education programs to ensure that nursing students who go into specialty areas have the formal training they need. Students enrolling in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Duke have the opportunity to choose from one of eight majors, and to pursue an additional specialty track if they are interested. Each major and specialty has its own course requirements and formal clinical rotation requirements that must be met to earn a specialty certificate.

The Psychiatric Mental Health program is the eighth and latest major offered for nurse practitioner students. Majors are also available in gerontology care, family nurse practitioner, neonatal and pediatric nurse practitioner, and women’s health nurse practitioner. The MSN program also recently added two new specialties in Endocrinology and HIV/AIDS, and a pediatric mental health specialty is set to be launched in the near future.

Beth C. Phillips, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, tells, “To think about why we do a new program – it’s not because we have a faculty member who would be great at it, so let’s create a new program. We create a program based on community need – local, national or global. The newest major, for example, was added after we recognized there was a scarcity of mental health providers in the state. Behavioral concerns and the addiction crisis in our country demanded a more advanced and skilled workforce in nursing.”

With specialty nursing becoming more and more prevalent, Duke is “aiming to identify community health care needs and respond proactively to meet those needs,” according to Creating new programs is a long process for the university, involving tracking legislature and literature to see what needs are already being met by the healthcare community, and which are not. Once new areas are identified, the university has to hire new staff and create partnerships with clinical sites, in addition to approving new financial resources through the Dean.

To learn more about Duke Nursing’s latest nurse practitioner major in Psychiatric Mental Health, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Practitioner Erin Williamson Finds Purpose in Serving the Underserved

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Practitioner Erin Williamson Finds Purpose in Serving the Underserved

Our Nurse of the Week is Erin Williamson, a nurse practitioner for MedNorth Health Center in Wilmington, NC, who has dedicated his career to helping people who have no other health care options. As the seventh of eight children in his family, Williamson experienced what it’s like for your income to dictate your access to quality health care.

With six older sisters and one younger brother, Williamson came to understand the hardships that come with raising a large family, but he loved growing up in a big family and decided to help others in similar situations. He started taking health occupations classes in high school and graduated with a Nursing Assistant certificate then joined the workforce straight away, which was an important goal after the hardships his family faced when he was a child.

Williamson tells, “I wanted to be a nurse practitioner serving medically underserved people. Ideally, lower-income people who have limited access to health care. It is the dream job that I’ve had since I was 16. Mainly because growing up poor we got to learn what it was like to have limited access to good health care. You don’t know how that feels unless you are in that situation where you’re treated differently.”

Williamson’s first health care job after high school was at a nursing center where he worked the midnight shift and later met his wife, Rachel. The couple later moved so that Williamson could attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in nursing, then moved back to Wilmington where he took a job on the adult inpatient surgical floor with New Hanover Regional Medical Center for five years while he worked on his master’s in nursing at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

At the end of his master’s studies, Williamson chose to complete his clinical training at MedNorth Health Center ,which receives federal grant funds from the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide primary and preventive health care services to medically underserved populations. Patients at the health center receive service regardless of their ability to pay with services designed to cover prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult, and geriatric life cycles.

Williamson knew immediately that it was the right place for him and he tells, “I liked the community health center because being downtown we get an interesting mix of homeless people, professors, other professionals that work downtown, and a lot of people who have no other place to go for healthcare.”

After completing his master’s degree in nursing in 2009, Williamson went straight from being a student to being a nurse practitioner at MedNorth where he has remained since. To learn more about Williamson’s path to becoming a nurse practitioner and helping the underserved find access to quality healthcare, visit here.

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