Health Care

CFCC, UNCW Expand Programs

By Beth A. Klahre, posted Jun 7, 2024
Nursing students work in the simulation lab in University of North Carolina Wilmington’s McNeill Hall. (Photo c/o UNCW).
This spring, Cape Fear Community College graduated its 24th class of dental hygienists since the program’s inception in 1991. The class of 2024 is the first class to graduate with local anesthesia certification, which has been new to dental hygiene practice in North Carolina since 2021.

The certification was made possible after North Carolina passed a law enhancing the scope of practice for dental hygienists.

The nine graduates of this year’s class completed a curriculum consisting of 1,392 hours, plus a specialized lab focused on local anesthesia.

“Students complete clinical hours at the Cape Fear Community College Dental Clinic and also rotate through external clinical sites during their final year,” CFCC spokesperson Christina Hallingse said.

A total of 233 students have graduated from CFCC’s dental hygiene program over its 31 years.

In North Carolina, registered dental hygienists work as members of a dental team under the direct supervision of the dentist to perform oral health assessments and oral cancer screenings, acquire radiographic images, provide oral health education, provide therapeutic treatment, including prophylaxis (cleaning), apply sealants and fluoride to prevent decay and give nutritional counseling.

Graduates of the CFCC program are eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, as well as regional and state examinations required for licensure to practice as a registered dental hygienist.

CFCC is in the final stages of design for Phase II renovations to its building on 319 North Third St., acquired in 2023 to expand the college’s nursing and health science programs. The property consists of 1.92 acres and a five-story, 55,000-square-foot facility.

Phase II includes additional classrooms, office space and the relocation and expansion of the CFCC Dental Clinic. The building will include nursing, dental assisting and hygiene classes and space for new program development. The construction of Phase II is expected to be complete by fall 2025.

“The new facility will enable CFCC to expand enrollment in both the dental assisting and hygiene programs, addressing local and regional workforce needs for dental professionals. This facility will enhance our capacity to serve the community by providing essential dental care and creating new opportunities for community service,” Hallingse said.

In 2023, dental students treated 483 patients, amounting to nearly $400,000 in care.

At the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the Master of Science in Nursing–Nurse Educator (MSN NE) online accelerated program provides professional registered nurses the opportunity and flexibility to advance their education while balancing professional and personal responsibilities. This spring, the online program was awarded the Quality Matters (QM) Online Program Design Certification.

April Matthias, professor and interim associate director for academic programs for the UNCW School of Nursing, was the MSN NE program coordinator during the five-year certification process.

“Quality Matters Online Program Design Certification means that the program has demonstrated its commitment to a gold standard of quality program design. QM is the international leader in quality assurance for online and hybrid learning environments,” Matthias said.

The MSN NE program is the first nursing program in the UNC system to receive this certification.
UNCW’s MSN NE program prepares nurses to function in the nurse educator role, leading change to address educational needs and participate in the advancement of the nursing profession. Graduates are prepared to use evidence-based curriculum design, delivery and evaluation skills to educate diverse learners in institutions of higher learning and various health care contexts.

“The program includes fully online didactic courses and authentic practicum experiences in the final two courses where they apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout the program. Students select the site for their practicum experiences,” Matthias said.

About half of MSN NE students complete practicum experiences in an academic setting, whereas the other half choose a health care practice setting.

The QM certification was a collaboration between UNCW’s MSN NE program faculty, the office of Distance Education and eLearning and the support of the School of Nursing leadership.

Matthias said, “Certification signifies that the program demonstrated clear and convincing evidence that measurable program outcomes provide a strong foundation to guide student learning and that course learning outcomes are intentionally aligned to support student achievement of the program outcomes.”

Dosher receives donation for emergency department

The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, recently awarded $25,000 to Dosher Memorial Hospital’s emergency department for equipment.

The money went toward buying six new patient transports and 10 bedside procedure stands, according to a news release.

Officials said the Southport-based critical access community hospital treats more than 13,000 patients a year in its emergency department.

“The bedside procedure stands replaced 20-year-old units, and the new transports were needed so that the (emergency department) staff and physicians have an adequate number of transports to accommodate the number of patients seen,” the release stated.

Last year, Dosher officials started a multi-year plan to expand its footprint. Part of that work includes building a new 8,000-square-foot Emergency Department Complex.

Read more about the hospital’s expansion plan in the upcoming summer issue of WilmingtonBiz Magazine at
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