Alumni in the News

The Fowler Sisters

The bonds of sisterhood are inextricably tied to UNC Greensboro’s identity, as they are woven into the University’s past of exclusively serving women.  Having attended UNCG during its era as Woman’s College, Martha Fowler McNair ’49, Ann Fowler Jones ’51, and Cynthia Fowler Barnes ’61 added another layer of sisterly connectedness to the University’s history. Including Frances Fowler Stanton, who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Nursing in 1957, the four Fowler sisters each have a scholarship in their name, established at UNCG.

“Marvin and Pearl Fowler, our parents, were our best mentors,” stated Cynthia, “and they felt that our educations should be at UNCG and UNC-Chapel Hill.”

Martha led the way, choosing UNCG (Woman’s College) and thriving as an undergraduate. She served as president of the Student Government, a member of Golden Chain Honor Society, was elected an Outstanding Senior, and was named Class of 1949’s Everlasting President. She was joined at WC by Ann, who also sustained a very active schedule. Ann held titles as secretary of the Adelphian Literary Society and chairman of the Finance Board; she was also an involved member of Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A), Gamma Alpha, and Daisy Chain.

Despite Frances’ decision to deviate from WC, Cynthia would follow her eldest sisters’ tracks and become the last sister to leave her mark on the University. Cynthia was active in many clubs and served on the honor court and as executive treasurer of the Consolidated University Student Council.

In 2008, as a response to the UNCG Students First Campaign and in honor of her class’s upcoming 50th reunion, Cynthia established three scholarships, in recognition of each of her sisters. The Ann Fowler Jones Scholarship and the Martha Fowler McNair Scholarship in Business were both designated for the UNCG Bryan School, while the Frances Fowler Stanton Scholarship Fund was channeled toward the School of Nursing.

“In establishing scholarships honoring my sisters, it was my intention to pay tribute to them, as they excelled in their chosen fields of study,” said Cynthia.  “This enabled their career paths to be outstanding, and they have excelled in community involvement and parental guidance as well. Also, being the youngest of four sisters, they have been excellent mentors to me.”

With scholarships named after every sister but Cynthia, Martha established the Cynthia Fowler Barnes Scholarship in Business later that same year. Since Martha’s passing in 2016, Cynthia has been an avid supporter of her own fund as well, most recently donating $50,000 to the scholarship in May.

“These scholarships are renewable resources that allow our University to move perpetually forward,” stated Cynthia. “With the rising cost of education, I believe that ‘putting students first’ with scholarship aid is imperative in assisting talented and deserving students with pursuing their degrees.”

Story by Brittany Dianah Cameron, Donor Relations

Dr. Ernest Grant UNCG Nursing alumnus Ernest Grant was featured on the WUNC Radio’s “The State of Things.” He was also recently the recipient of the International Fire Service Training Association’s 2019 Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education. Click link below for full April 29, 2019 NPR interview:

First Man To Lead The American Nurses Association Doesn’t Want To Be Called A ‘Male Nurse’

The catalyst: Lelia Moore made the most of opportunities to benefit the most vulnerable in Guilford County (article by News & Record).

GREENSBORO — When Lelia Moore’s mother died, the young nurse who was the eldest of her siblings and had dreamed of being a missionary overseas since childhood, decided to stay closer to home.
“I knew I couldn’t leave my family,” said Moore, the now-longtime coordinator of the Cone Health Congregational Nurse Program, whose father was a Lutheran pastor. “I remember thinking, ‘God, where is it you need my hands?'”
That answer seemingly unraveled over the next 47 years through moments that sometimes even surprised her:
At the Greensboro Coliseum where rows of dentists with their chairs and assistants provided free care on a first-come, first-serve basis to those making up a line that snaked out the building’s doors.
In the hotel room reserved for a terminally ill homeless man who had nowhere to go after being released from the hospital.
Within the hallways and the sanctuaries of local churches where nurses provide screening, referrals and often life-saving instructions to people where they worship.
Moore — soft-spoken, creative, yet practical and sharp — had her hands in it all.
The past UNCG Alumni of the Year and News & Record “Woman of the Year” has taken opportunities and used them to benefit the most vulnerable in the community say those who would know, because they work with them.
“She always, always plays in the shadow and allows the light to shine on others although we all know she is the one who did it,” said Fran Pearson, the program director of the Congregational Social Work Education Initiative with UNCG and N.C. A&T, for which Moore planted the seed.
In a moment in 2012 that some say defines a career that’s ending with her retirement this week, a photographer’s lens caught 25-year-old Michael Shelton, who had all of his teeth extracted that day at a dental clinic at the coliseum, giving a hug to Moore, who stood grasping her walkie-talkie as hundreds waited outside.
“She is,” Shelton wrote then, because he could only write and not talk, “an angel.”

Winding down

These final days are bittersweet.
Moore is leaving Greensboro and moving closer to her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren near Raleigh. 
Just weeks ago she was having a long conversation with a homeless man afraid to get a flu shot.
Clients, even those she has just met, quickly trust her enough to share their stories of brokenness and overwhelming challenges, say those who work with her.
Those stories motivate Moore. Sometimes it’s homelessness, hunger and not having enough food for the family, domestic violence, no means to get health care or to afford medications, or a lack of financial resources for basics. She realized long ago from watching her parents minister to others that people who are hurt or in need are grateful for simple things — listening with compassion, advocacy to address their needs, a hug and a prayer.
“He (then) let me give him the injection,” Moore said of that homeless man, “and was surprised it did not hurt.” 
After thanking her for caring, he asked if he could give her a hug. In doing so, he mentioned he did not get many hugs.
“I said sure and gave him another hug back for the next day,” Moore said.
“That makes this hard.”
Even before she sat in front of the committee interviewing for the coordinator of the then-newly created Cone Health Congregational Nurse Program in 1998, Moore was already familiar with the needs because of her work through the Moses Cone Health System in looking at the kind of issues that ended with people repeatedly seeking medical care in the emergency room. That put her in meetings with others in the health care and nonprofit field. Having started out as a young nurse on the floors of Moses Cone, she was later an outpatient clinic nurse manager working with those struggling through life.
In 1997, Bob Hamilton, then director of pastoral care at Moses Cone, and chief nursing officer Nancy Paxton began bringing people like Moore and others together to talk about congregational nursing, a concept rooted in the Midwest. The program, a marriage of health care and faith, is based on the premise that houses of worship are communities of people with lots of contact and lots of concern. That those in a congregation also often know when another member needs medical attention but is reluctant to get it. Having a nurse among them for a measure of preventative care might get to some of those issues before they become life-threatening.
Organizers got $500,000 in grants from the Wesley Long Community Health Foundation and the Duke Endowment to make it happen. And the committee that held the interviews for a coordinator to oversee it agreed on Moore, who already had built relationships in the community.
“She brought the right skill set, the right passion and the ability to relate to people across diversity,” Hamilton said of entrusting Moore with the vision.
Moore took over leadership of the congregational nursing program with just a small office.
“I walked in my office and there was a computer and a blank piece of paper,” Moore said. “I said, ‘Lord, tell me what should go on that paper.'”
She started connecting with different community groups and who she needed to talk to in order to build rapport and trust. Those people not only supported her but brought along others.
“I think her passion catches them,” Hamilton said of those early days, and even now. “It allows people to envision what is possible.”
The program started with six churches participating in 1999, with each of the congregations deciding when the nurse would be there — whether right before Bible study or on a Saturday afternoon.
The grant money allowed those congregations to bring in a registered nurse with special training for 10 hours a week.
“I call us ‘the silent miracle’ because we are busy doing things people don’t notice,” said Wanda Martin, a longtime congregational nurse stationed at the Salvation Army.
Prevention is a major part of the program’s undergirding — before those most at risk can come down with debilitating, chronic diseases.
“They really are on the ground,” said the Rev. Sandy Carver, one of the staff pastors at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, where the congregational nurse gives flu shots and provides information, among other things. The nurse also works in a low-income housing community where she is more of a gateway to medical care.
“They really do bridge these gaps in the system,” Carver said of what she’s seen.
These congregational nurses may provide assessments, personal counseling, screenings for blood pressure and glucose and education about new or chronic diseases, among other things. They provide advocacy and case management. Their goal is access to care and in connecting people to resources.
They are good listeners and try to develop trust and relationships.
At one church, the nurse was working with a young man who had seizures but couldn’t afford his medicine. She was able to go with him to his doctor to get forms the drug companies ask them to fill out for free medicine. The man began taking the medicine regularly, which eliminated ambulance visits to the emergency room and the trips to the doctor because the seizures aren’t controlled.
What makes them different from nurses in other settings is the intentional care of the spirit as part of ministry to the mind, body and soul, which has been important to Moore.
“We might also ask if you would like to pray together,” Moore said.
Sometimes that means responding to someone with cancer, who wonders what they did to deserve it. The nurse could explain the biology of cancer, which might ease the patient’s mind.
By the time the grant was about to run out dozens of churches and faith-based organizations had shown interest or taken part.
Moore constantly wrote other grants, the majority of which were successful, but funding was a constant struggle. It has also expanded into Rockingham County.
In the last two decades the nurses have worked with refugees, immigrants and others through community sites like the FaithAction International House. At times churches have paid for the nurses out of their funds.
“I’m just a bridge builder,” Moore said of her part. “I may be the face of the program, but it is a village.”
It would take a continuing commitment from the Cone Health Foundation, which gets a number of worthy grant requests each year that cannot be funded, yet finds a way to keep funding the program along with church and public support. The Cone Health System and the Cone Health Foundation have been big supporters because of the impact in the community.
According to documented statistics, in the past two decades those congregational nurses logged 220,000 encounters, averted more than 3,500 non-emergency emergency room visits, provided 200 life-saving interventions and made nearly 38,000 referrals to primary care providers or agencies with nearly $14 million in health care savings to communities.
“The work is amazing and so are the results,” said Susan Shumaker, the president of the Cone Health Foundation and a nurse by training, who got her license reinstated so that she could pitch in at some of the events.

‘City of miracles’

The congregational nurse program led to other things, mostly from Moore listening to those around her.
In fall 2008, she was talking to homeless advocate Skip McMillan over a cup of coffee and he was telling her about the urgency of a new initiative he and some others were trying to get off the ground — a day center for the homeless that would open temporarily on the third floor of Bessemer United Methodist Church. It would provide washers and dryers and a place to shower. Within two weeks of its opening, she had a congregational nurse and social worker at what became the Interactive Resource Center.
Moore used an anonymous donor’s gift to Cone Health to establish Healing Opportunities for People Experiencing Sickness. HOPES was an idea that got traction in 2011, when a social worker desperately and unsuccessfully tried to find a homeless man who had just had major surgery a place to go when he left the hospital. The shelters were full and the man slept under a bridge that night.
The man’s dilemma wasn’t uncommon.
The discussion prompted a frustrated Moore to organize a meeting with others who work with the homeless. But even when the shelters are not full, they told her, they are ill-equipped to handle someone with medical problems.
And then Moore got a call from a Cone Health executive.
An anonymous donor had given a substantial gift, and it was to be divided between Cone Health’s social work department, and the congregational nurse’s program.
“It was a ‘God moment,’ ” she said of what she could only explain as divine intervention.
All her stories don’t have a happy ending. But HOPES was born.
For the homeless, the money takes care of a room at an efficiency hotel, bus passes and visits from a social worker and nurse trying to connect them to services and a more permanent place to stay as they heal.
The program can’t help everyone, including those with behavioral and substance abuse problems, because of safety issues. But there is a safety net that wasn’t there before.
“She likes to say she lives in a city of miracles,” said Greensboro City Councilwoman Michelle Kennedy, who considers Moore a mentor.
Kennedy, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center, which is now on Washington Street, added, “She’s been a catalyst for community initiatives more than anybody I know in the health realm.”

Lasting legacy

Moore’s work fed other projects in the community.
“If you had told me in 1998 what was going to be on those pieces of paper,” Moore said, reflecting back to that first day on the job when all she had was blank sheets of paper on her desk, “I would have laughed and said, ‘How?'”
Moore organized Missions of Mercy free dental clinic, for which people show up days in advance and form long lines. Despite the dentists and staff and other health care professionals donating their time, hundreds still have to be turned away. In this community it has provided care for more than 2,000 people at what would have been a cost of millions of dollars.
“It happened because of a retired dentist I go to church with,” Moore said of the man, who had come across a free clinic for the poor elsewhere and was touched by what he saw.
“He didn’t know how to go about it,” she said before chuckling. “From that I naively said, ‘We do health screenings, we can help with that.'”
The congregational nurse program was expanding in ways she hadn’t expected — including participation from UNCG and N.C. A&T in the first-in-the-nation venture pairing social work students with nurses from a problem she tried to resolve for a patient with a non-medical issue. Moore had even made “cold calls” to the local universities but got nowhere.
She was frustrated until a chance encounter at a meeting with Wayne Moore, who happened to be a professor in A&T’s Department of Sociology and Social Work.
“This gentleman sits down beside me and he has the gifts to put that in place,” Moore said.
Soon the initiative became a national model that she’s been invited to discuss nationally and internationally. 
“And she’s so damn humble about it,” said Pearson, the program director for what became the Congregational Social Work Education Initiative and who makes presentations alongside her. “I would have it on T-shirts saying, ‘This is what I built.’ “
At those presentations about faith community nursing, nurse consultant Alyson Breisch has watched people surround Moore with questions when it’s over.
“It’s a combination of the fact that hers was one of the early programs that got started in this movement and she has continued to keep changing to respond to what is going on in health care,” Breisch said.
That has expanded her influence and reach, Breisch said.
Breisch developed congregational nurse courses and health ministries continuing education courses at Duke University. Moore sent congregational nurses there for training.
When Breisch speaks of Moore she talks about how they together co-chaired the state’s faith community nurse council, and how Moore worked with a lawyer to write the bylaws for a not-for-profit educational arm of the Carolinas Health Ministry Partnership for all health professionals who work in health ministries.
Her legacy, Breisch said, is ongoing.
“She’s an encourager and looks at the skills of the nurses in her program and (is)  moving them to become people who have a voice,” Breisch said.
Just last year Moore was selected the American Nursing Association’s certified faith community nurse for 2018.
“If you wake up and are eager to go to work, it’s not work,” said Moore’s son Mac of ideas she would have. “That’s my mother.”
Cone Health is in the process of filling the position. 
“How do you replace a Lelia Moore? There is no replacement for a Lelia,” said Deborah Grant, Cone Health System’s chief nursing officer for population health, ambulatory and clinical support. “She has been the extraordinary leader ambassador, engager, activator and innovator for our community.”
Moore says she has a great staff and congregational nurses and has told them their success doesn’t depend on her being there.”It will be hard for me to take the badge off on Friday,” Moore said with tears brimming her eyelids. “But I know I leave behind people who can move this forward.”

Laurie Kennedy-Malone, Deborah Lekan and three UNCG alums; Ashley Bryant BSN, Candace Harrington, MSN, adult gerontological nurse practitioner and Tomika Williams, PhD, MSN, adult and gerontological nurse practitioner were recognized as Inaugural Distinguished Educators by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence 2018 Leadership conference.

The objectives of the conference are to:
-Communicate and disseminate advances in the multi-disciplinary knowledge of aging, diversity, and caregiving for Persons with Dementia (PWD) to the research community.
-Increase collaboration between senior and junior scholars studying interventions for caregivers of PWDs and those with other disabling conditions related to aging.
-Enhance research collaboration among junior and senior researchers on the topic of caregiving.
-Supplement clinician knowledge on diverse caregiving needs and resources.
-Communicate and disseminate knowledge on technology to enhance family care for PWD and others with disabling conditions related to aging.
-Develop leadership skills to influence research, education, practice and policy in aging, caregiving and care for PWD.

Full list of those recognized can be seen by clicking here .

Roxanne Pecinich honored by Rockingham Community College

Working at Rockingham Community College, Roxanne Pecinich has been able to combine two loves — nursing and teaching.

“I had always really wanted to be a teacher, so 20 years into my career (as a nurse), I decided to go back to school and get more education,” said Pecinich, assistant professor of nursing at RCC.

She got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at UNC-Greensboro, then decided to teach nurses “because I wanted to leave a little bit of a legacy to my profession by training the best nurses I could to take care of the two communities I live and work in.”

Pecinich lives in Mebane and was a staff nurse at Alamance Regional Medical Center for 21 years in the maternal child area. She stopped floor nursing last year but is still employed by the hospital teaching childbirth classes.

She has taught at RCC for 10 years. Pecinich’s dedication to her students and to the field of nursing were recognized recently when she was selected as one of The Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina for 2018 by The Great 100 Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to annually recognizing the top 100 nurses in the state and awarding nursing scholarships to deserving students.

Over the years, Pecinich has touched the lives of many, including Catherine Gaither, who nominated Pecinich for the award. Gaither started working with Pecinich as a labor and delivery nurse in 2004, taught community childbirth classes with her and is an adjunct nursing instructor at RCC.

“She embodies all a nurse is and is truly so deserving,” Gaither said of Pecinich. “She has a wonderful, homey personality that makes everyone feel at ease, and now she’s bringing that into her work with her students.”

Pecinich encouraged Gaither to finish her four-year degree.

“She was instrumental in helping me know, ‘I can do this,’” Gaither said. “I will always be indebted to her.”

Pecinch will be honored as one of The Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina in October during a black-tie gala in Winston-Salem.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime award, and probably the greatest honor nurses can receive in North Carolina,” Gaither said.

Pecinch said she is extremely grateful to be recognized.

“It is the icing on the cake after 39 years of working in the nursing profession, in various capacities, to realize that my work has been appreciated and recognized as to doing a good and meaningful job and I have touched so many lives in my career,” she said.

Pecinich said that growing up, she wanted to be a first- or second-grade teacher, but she also wanted to take care of people.

“Back in 1976, teachers were not getting jobs, but nurses did, so I had to put myself through school with no help at all from parents, and I needed a job right out of school, so I went into nursing and found that nursing has a lot of teaching in it,” Pecinich said.

She teaches the first-year associate-degree nursing students at RCC, conducting classes and taking students into various hospital settings for clinicals (hands-on nursing).

“I really love it when I start a new semester with people that really don’t know anything about what a nurse does, and I start seeing the light bulb come on in their brain that says, ‘I really want to do this nursing thing,’” Pecinich said.

Many of the students quickly realize nursing is much different than they envisioned.

“Many people come into the nursing program thinking they can be a nurse, but it really is nothing like the TV shows you see and not very glamorous,” Pecinich said. “The ones that really want to be a nurse are the ones that fight to continue in the program because the nursing program is not easy at all.”

In her 39-plus years, Pecinich has seen many changes in nursing.

“When I first started, nurses did not have as much responsibility as they do today,” she said. “The nurses today are the eyes and ears of the doctor, and we are valued for our nursing judgment and critical thinking.”

She is excited to see so many new opportunities for her nursing students.

“Everything in the health-care field is changing constantly, and whatever department you are in, you have to keep up with the growing environment,” Pecinich said. “Our community population is also smarter, because they have easy access to information, so we need nurses that are intelligent and think critically and can keep up with the changes to save our patients’ lives.”

Married for 43 years to Wayne Pecinich, Pecinich has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. One of her daughters has been a nurse for a year.

“My children and husband have sacrificed a lot during my nursing career,” she said. “Quite a few times, they have had to take a back seat to my work.”

In the little bit of spare time she has, Pecinich enjoys reading, and she also is a dog groomer. She is studying to become a certified nurse educator, and she is the incoming president of the UNCG nursing alumni association.

Does she ever tire of her hour drive to work at RCC?

“I love it here, or I would not travel so far,” she said. “I do a lot of community events with the students, so I do consider Rockingham County my home also.”

Alumnus Named ANA President

UNC Greensboro’s School of Nursing graduates take giant steps ‒ from the impact of daily patient care and outreach to becoming leaders in the nation’s top nursing organizations. One of those is Dr. Ernest J. Grant ’93 MSN, ’15 PhD.

Grant grew up in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, as the youngest son of seven children. After high school, he enrolled in Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College for the Licensed Practical Nursing program, and the rest is history. Big history.

Grant received his master’s degree in nursing from UNCG in 1993 and later returned to earn his doctorate. In 2015, he became the first African American male to graduate from the university with a doctorate degree in nursing.

This month, he was elected president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the premier organization of the nation’s four million registered nurses. He is the first male to hold the position at a time when, on average, under ten percent of practicing nurses are male.

“I am extremely delighted and humbled to have the opportunity to advocate for the nation’s four million registered nurses, the nursing profession and those whom we care for,” said Grant. “I could not have gotten this far in my career without the education I received at UNCG – an education I use every day to advance health and health care.”

Grant, who was previously ANA vice president, is an internationally recognized burn care and fire safety expert. He oversees the nationally acclaimed North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he has coordinated prevention outreach programs for more than 35 years.

After Sept. 11, 2001, he volunteered at the Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, and cared for patients injured during the attacks on the World Trade Center. For his service he received the Nurse of the Year Award from then president George W. Bush. Grant has also served as a consultant to the government in South Africa preparing fire safety curricula and advising the Congress on burn prevention law and policies.

“His activism and political advocacy locally, state-wide and nationally has advanced the nursing profession and inspired many students and colleagues to follow in his footsteps,” said Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Robin Remsburg. “His expertise in burns has taken him across the country and the world.”

Grant teaches as an adjunct faculty member for the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, where he works with undergraduate and graduate nursing students in the classroom and clinical settings.

He also gives back to UNCG, remaining active on the School of Nursing Advisory Board. The year that he earned his doctorate, Grant established the Ernest J. Grant Endowed Scholarship in Nursing to provide support for multicultural male students with financial need seeking degrees in nursing.

He has been named UNC Greensboro Alumnus of the Year and in 2010 became the first African American male president of the North Carolina Nurses Association.

“We know that our students, our alums, can do whatever they set their minds to,” said Remsburg. “Ernie is a stellar example.”

Col. Vivian P. Dennis, US Air Force

Colonel Vivian P. Dennis ‘85 is retiring after 30 years of active duty service as an officer and nurse in the United States Air Force. Col. Dennis is the Master Clinician, Inpatient Services, 633 MDG, and Joint Base Langley- Eustis. She closely collaborates as the Inpatient Optimization JBLE lead for the Tidewater enhanced Multi-Service Market with operational control under the Defense Health Agency (DHA). Col. Dennis is responsible for the development and leadership of the Air Force Surgeon General’s initiative to critically evaluate and grow competent nurses. She has the heart of a mentor and seeks to share her experiences with young UNCG nursing students to better prepare them for their careers as she has done with thousands of US Air Force nurses throughout her career.

Col. Dennis was commissioned in 1985 after graduating from UNC Greensboro with a B.S. in Nursing and an MBA, Healthcare Management with a dual degree in Human Resources. Her Air Force career began as a staff nurse in L&D / OB GYN at Dyess Air Force Base, TX and subsequent assignments including Neonatal Nursing, Health Professions Recruiting and Director, Theatre Medical Systems Operations, Falls Church, VA.
INTERVIEW WITH COL. VIVIAN P. DENNIS

Why did you choose UNC Greensboro?
Because of the School of Nursing’s reputation. If I am not mistaken, UNCG was ranked quite high for students passing the NCLEX the first time.

What is your favorite memory from your time at UNCG as a student?
Plays in Aycock, dorm life, studying 5 nights a week on the 2nd or 4th floor in the library and Dean Lewis and her awesome staff making themselves available to us.

How did UNC Greensboro prepare you for your career as a military officer?
It introduced me to the meaning of persistence, pushing myself and focusing on those things that will get me to the next step. In the military, it was these attributes that were sharpened as diamonds.

What’s the most important piece of advice you want to share with current students pursuing a degree in nursing?
Before nursing school, I thought it was an easy degree. In nursing school, it was unexpectedly difficult. Once a graduate, I felt good about reaching the finish line. Stay in the race because nothing good and great comes easy. A good time to learn that “it is not all about me” but about the patients and families we serve.

Do you have any advice to share with fellow UNCG alumni?
Stay in touch with the university and volunteer as guest board members, lecturers for a semester or two if the opportunity arises. Students want to see people who look like them who are now professionals and have made it a successful career. There are infinite possibilities as nurse leaders.

Top Student Posters

Bursting with pride- Dr. Murtis Worth had one of 11 “Top Student Posters” at SNRS this year! Her posted was based on her dissertation work and is entitled “Structure, Process and Recommendations of Emergency Department Triage in the U. S.” Congratulations on your excellent work!

Pure Excellence: Dr. Robin Bartlett and her School of Nursing journey

“We were not taught that we were going to be mediocre nurses. We were going to be excellent caregivers,” she said. “From the day I walked in the door at UNCG, the focus was on excellence. That was ingrained in us from the beginning.”

Read the entire article here . 

Recent SON Graduate Tamara Caple Takes Leadership To New Level

Cone Hospital Director Tamara Caple finds her life passion in nursing leadership.

Tamara Caple’s name now has a few extra letters and numbers behind it, and they come from UNCG: RN ’99 BSN, ’06 MSN, ‘17 DNP. Earning three nursing degrees demonstrates a passion that took root when she was a young girl.

“Nursing was always what I wanted to do,” says Tamara, who just earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice. “In my head, I’ve been a nurse since I was 3 years old.”

While Tamara was in middle school, her grandmother suffered from Parkinson’s. “It was natural for me to just care for her,” she says. Whether she made grocery lists, helped with the cooking or put things away, Tamara enjoyed the time she spent caring for her.

Today Tamara is a director leading 50 nurses and staff members at Cone Hospital. “I’m mentoring constantly, giving feedback to newer nurses while meeting the needs of patients.” It’s demanding and requires long days, but she loves it. “After a while, it’s not work,” she says. “It’s your life passion. It’s what you do.”

As a nurse leader, she’s had the opportunity to coach many employees about advancing their education, as she has. “Many of them think that nursing school is out of their reach. But I tell them about UNCG. It’s an amazing experience to nurture a nurse tech through nursing school and to have them report to you that they passed their NCLEX exam and will be working as an RN!”

The School of Nursing has been a major part of Tamara’s life since she joined the UNCG alumni as a BSN undergraduate in 1995. An Asheville native, she had applied and been accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. A&T. UNCG was the best fit. “I wanted to be with the best of the best.”

Over the years and throughout her three degrees, Tamara has acquired more than excellent preparation. UNCG has given her an outstanding network and great memories as well.

“One of my favorite professors was Joan Mathews, who unfortunately passed away in 2013,” she recalls. “She served as a mentor to us and took us under her wing, especially as we were chartering the nursing sorority. She was willing to have the difficult conversations with us to prepare us for what was coming next. One lesson she instilled was that your reputation was the one thing that proceeds you: protect it.”

There are many more. “As I reflect on my time at UNCG, I am most proud of the lifelong friendships and professional relationships that I made and have maintained,” Tamara says. “I cherish the high caliber of leadership and instruction I received. And I’m grateful for the school’s continued investment in students as we work to advance the science of nursing. UNCG is empowering nurses to change nursing by teaching them how to be active and involved in the profession.”

If she sounds like a walking billboard for the school, it’s partly true. Tamara, who serves as president of School of Nursing Alumni Association, says she loves to tout UNCG — and its partnership with Cone Health.

“It’s refreshing to know that the School of Nursing and our Cone system have such a collaborative relationship. It should comfort the community to know that we are producing quality graduates who truly understand how to care for patients. Nurses are under a lot of pressure these days, but UNCG nurses make time for the people part and take great responsibility in the care of their patients.”

That’s something that Tamara gets to see on the job every day.