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RIBN Seeking Applicants for Third Cohort

WINTERVILLE—Students interested in pursuing nursing careers are being encouraged to apply for participation in the Eastern North Carolina Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) partnership.

RIBN, which involves Pitt Community College and several nearby community colleges working in conjunction with East Carolina University (ECU), helps Associate Degree Nursing graduates transfer seamlessly to ECU to complete bachelor’s degrees in the field.

“The program is designed to create an affordable pathway for students to get an associate degree in nursing as well as a baccalaureate degree in nursing,” says Kelly Cleaton, Eastern North Carolina RIBN Student Success Advocate.

Cleaton said the application deadline for the 2014 Fall Semester is Jan. 31 and that it can be completed online at http://www.nursing.ecu.edu/RIBN_HowApply.htm. For those who have questions, she may be contacted by telephone at (252) 744-6498 or e-mail at cleatonk@ecu.edu.

Cleaton noted that the RIBN program is open to any student interested in nursing. “It’s very competitive,” she said. “But we’re going to try to find the best and brightest students out there.”

Those accepted into the program, Cleaton says, can earn two nursing degrees (associate and bachelor’s) in four years while saving a significant amount of money on the cost of a four-year nursing education.

They will also have Cleaton available to guide them throughout the process. “I’m going to be there for them every step of the way,” she said.

Originally started in Oregon, the first RIBN program in North Carolina was established in the western part of the state in 2008 through funding from The Duke Endowment. That initiative’s success led to additional support from The Duke Endowment to expand the program statewide.

Cleaton said RIBN now includes seven regional partnerships throughout the state involving 25 associate degree and seven university nursing programs.

The Eastern North Carolina RIBN partnership accepts a cohort of 25 students per year, she said, adding that it is now accepting students for its third cohort.

“The RIBN program is a wonderful path for students that are excited about a nursing career and want to stay close to home to go to school,” Cleaton said. “Our first cohort of students in Fall 2012 began their nursing courses this year.”

Cleaton went on to say that the students have been successful with their coursework and are enjoying being part of RIBN, having participated in seminars and nursing student events at ECU. They’ve even tackled the ECU ropes course, she said.

According to the Foundation for Nursing Excellence (FFNE), which oversees RIBN funding from The Duke Endowment, North Carolina needs to develop a more highly-educated nursing workforce to address increasingly complex health care needs and expand the pool of future nursing faculty and advanced practice nurses.

Cleaton said that because community colleges, like PCC, play an integral role in educating the state’s nursing workforce, it has become increasingly important to find ways for qualified community college nursing graduates to move seamlessly toward completion of baccalaureate degrees at the beginning of their nursing careers.


11/22/2013