UnitedHealthcare has donated $25,000 to the East Carolina University College of Nursing to fund scholarships for students enrolled in their final year of the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program.
UnitedHealthcare presented a check to College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown at an on-campus event today with RIBN program nursing students, Directors of Nursing from RIBN participating community colleges, and State Rep. Greg Murphy.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with East Carolina University College of Nursing to help increase access to quality health care throughout North Carolina, particularly in rural communities where there is a dire need,” said Anita Bachmann, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina. “This program provides quality training to prepare a much-needed nursing workforce to meet the needs of the residents of North Carolina.”
The RIBN program helps improve North Carolinians’ health by enhancing the educational preparation and diversity of the nursing workforce. The program provides a four-year nursing option that concurrently enrolls students from one of seven local community colleges and the ECU College of Nursing. RIBN students earn both an associate degree from a community college and bachelor of science degree in Nursing from ECU through online coursework and clinical work.
Many of these students work part- or full-time while furthering their education with online classes that can flex around their work and life schedules. With many students already working in rural settings, the likelihood they will continue to work in that area is great.
“The goal of the RIBN program is to provide a pipeline of baccalaureate nurses to underserved and rural parts of the state by making it easier and more affordable for students from those communities to obtain their BSN,” said Brown. “Through our partnership with UnitedHealthcare, we will be able to support these aspiring nurses’ educational goals by helping them overcome the economic challenges they may face.”
The community colleges participating in the RIBN program include: Beaufort County Community College, Carteret Community College, College of the Albemarle, Craven Community College, Lenoir Community College, Pitt Community College and Roanoke-Chowan Community College.
Students in the RIBN program spend the first two years of their coursework at a community college campus while completing at least one online course per semester through ECU. Receiving their associate degree in nursing at the end of their third year, and after passing the state licensure exam, they progress to the program’s fourth year with online coursework at ECU in preparation for their bachelor of science in Nursing.
“As a practicing physician, I know firsthand how a shortage of health care workers can have a far-reaching impact on the availability and quality of care in our rural communities,” said Rep. Murphy. “The UnitedHealthcare RIBN Rural Health Scholarship will be an excellent way to help those who wish to serve in often underserved areas of our state further their education and ensure future career success.”
Students may apply for the scholarships online at AcademicWorks.com. Recipients will be announced in mid-April. UnitedHealthcare RIBN Scholarships will cover the 2018-2019 school year. This scholarship program financially assists senior-year students in the RIBN program; the last year of the program is the most expensive for these students. Preference will be given to students who excel academically, demonstrate financial need and wish to begin/continue their work in rural, underserved areas.
For more information, visit: ecu.edu/cs-dhs/nursing/ribn.cfm.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.