About Us

Mission Statement

To contribute to improving health outcomes for citizens of North Carolina through the support of leadership development, research and demonstration projects intended to enhance the practice of nursing.




  • Created by the NC Board of Nursing as a 501 c3 non-profit organization
  • Received financial and in-kind support from NC Board of Nursing
  • Defined areas of focus to enhance the practice of nursing based on recommendations from the 1999 IOM Report To Err is Human and the 2004 NCIOM  Future of Nursing Taskforce Report.
  • Convened the first Patient Safety Summit in NC in early 2005
  • Received an AHRQ Research Conference grant to identify competencies needed for newly licensed nurses entering practice in 2005
  • Received funding for BCBSNC Foundation for first major project: Creating an Evidence Based Transition to Practice (TTP) Model for North Carolina


  • Hired the first President & CEO
  • Transitioned to a totally independent, free-standing non-profit organization
  • Received undesignated funding support for administrative activities from several major healthcare systems and hospitals in NC
  • Expanded funding support for TTP project
  • Initiated the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) project with Western Carolina University & Asheville-Buncombe Tech Community College with grant support from the RWJF Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN) project


  • Significantly expanded funding support for TTP and RIBN projects
  • Revised and expanded FFNE Board of Directors membership
  • Leased office space for administrative staff
  • Built our FFNE Brand and websites ( www.ffne.org and www.ribn.org )
  • Published articles and book chapters on our project initiatives
  • Recognized by Institute for Emerging Issues for innovations in healthcare workforce development
  • Became Co-Lead of NC Future of Nursing Action Coalition

Projects to Date  

Evidenced Based Transition to Practice Project

This multi-year three-phase project (2005-2010) was designed to e nsure that newly licensed nurses are afforded the opportunity to gain confidence and competence as they enter the workforce, thus enhancing patient safety and increasing retention in the workplace.

Project Goals

  • The development of core competencies needed by new nurses regardless of practice setting
  • The development of reliable measures to assess competency.

Key Findings

  • The quality of the new nurse/preceptor partnership had a direct relationship with how competent a new RN felt about his/her nursing practice and the higher competency score correlated with fewer reported practice errors at both four and six months.
  • The preceptor was a critical component of the successful transition of a new nurse and that there was no consistent preparation for preceptors. 
  • The online modules coupled with face-to-face simulation scenarios developed, implemented and tested in the project, were shown to be effective in training preceptors for this critical role.

Preceptor Development Tools*

  • eLearning Modules:  Preceptor Role, Communication, Assessment to Evaluation
  • Simulated Scenarios:  Response to Adverse Events, Inter-professional Communication, Prioritization of Care, Generational Differences, Patient-centered Care and Patient Safety
  • Preceptor Cue Cards

*Note:  eLearning Modules and Simulated Scenarios transferred to NCAHEC Virtual Library in 2014

The project was made possible through the generosity of BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation, The Duke Endowment (TDE), and Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. 

Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) Project

RIBN is an early career, seamless educational pathway characterized by its economically feasible dual enrollment, 4-year nursing education track between community colleges and universities.  The RIBN model is an additional educational option that will help NC increase the educational level of the nursing workforce.

The first RIBN partnership enrolled students in 2010; 8 universities, 25 community colleges, and 1 private college with an associated degree nursing program are now involved in the project.  Additional regions have declared their intent to join RIBN and are developing partnerships. Student enrollment currently approaches 200 and the first graduates will be awarded BSN’s in 2014.  The model is projected to create an additional 175 BSN prepared nurses for NC annually beginning 2020. Ongoing evaluation and program refinement is identifying best practices in regards to policy, student qualifications, and success factors to strengthen the program as statewide expansion occurs.  

Focus of work in the 2014-2016 timeframe will be on increasing the diversity of our applicant pools to better reflect the communities being served, strengthening the practice-educational partnerships at regional levels to best support RIBN RN students entering practice while completing their BSN, and embedding RIBN at the regional and statewide academic levels to assure sustainability. 

RIBN is coordinated statewide by the Foundation for Nursing Excellence with financial support from The Duke Endowment, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the NC Area Health Education Centers Program. ***Applications submitted for continuing grant support from TDE and RWJF for mid-2014-mid 2016 timeframe.  

NC Future of Nursing Action Coalition

Subsequent to the IOM 2010 Future of Nursing Report, states were challenged to form action coalitions to implement one or more of the eight recommendations from this national report that would better prepare the nursing workforce to participate as full partners in the transformation of the health and healthcare of all Americans.   FFNE took the lead in convening  a statewide summit to determine our areas for action and then develop the organizational structure and strategies for action.  The “nerve center” for the Action Coalition is the Coordinating Council composed of representatives from NC Chapter of AARP as our Co-Lead, the East Carolina Center for Nursing Leadership (ECCNL), Foundation for Nursing Excellence (FFNE), NC Area Health Education Centers Program (NCAHEC), NC Association of Nurse Executives (NCONL), NC Board of Nursing (NCBON), and the NC Nurses Association (NCNA).  

Currently the primary areas of focus are on: 

(1)  increasing the educational preparation of our nursing workforce through the RIBN program and creation of a common course catalog of general education and prerequisite courses for all state-funded RN-BSN programs in NC; and

(2) Enhancing and expanding leadership development for practicing nurses, including seeking opportunities and preparing nurses to serve on health-related boards, especially hospital boards. 

Except for funded projects such as RIBN, the Action Coalition work is primarily done by volunteers.  A limited amount of funding was received in 2013 to support the administration of the NC Future of Nursing Coalition and our www.futureofnursingnc.org website which is housed by FFNE. 

Nurse Pracitioner Transition to Practice Project

Adequately prepared and competent nurse practitioners are essential to meeting today’s challenges of increasing access to care, and improving health and health outcomes for individuals and populations at lower costs.   As a less experienced NP workforce evolves, the departure of many highly experienced and effective clinicians from the workforce is imminent.  We must carefully explore and understand those factors which contribute to the successful transition of today’s novice nurse practitioner and create recommendations for a best practice transition to practice framework to strengthen the competence development of newly educated nurse practitioners to deliver safe, effective care as they enter practice in primary care settings across North Carolina. 

The Foundation for Nursing Excellence (FFNE) has convened a Steering Committee in collaboration with the NC Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) and, based on funding, plans to appoint a statewide planning task force to develop a transition to practice nurse practitioner model, focused on primary care.   The work of the task force will include an in-depth needs assessment with recommendations for the implementation of an economically feasible transition to practice framework to strengthen the competence development of newly educated nurse practitioners to deliver safe, effective care as they enter practice in primary care settings across North Carolina.  Following this 9-12 month planning process, we will seek opportunities and funding to pilot and evaluate outcomes of the recommended framework in 2-3 rural sites, preferably located in Tier One counties.     

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has provided funding to begin the planning process focused on new NPs entering practice in federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs).

To learn more about FFNE's current initiatives, please visit the FFNE website . 


The Foundation for Nursing Excellence coordinated the RIBN project from 2008-2016 with financial support from The Duke Endowment, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the NC Area Health Education Centers.