Annual RIBN Conferences

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Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Greensboro, NC

March 8, 2016

RIBN and beyond: preparing the nurse of THE FUTURE


Over 150 people gathered at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 for the Fifth Annual Statewide RIBN Conference; RIBN and Beyond : Preparing the Nurse of the Future.

Polly Johnson, RN, MSN, FAAN, CEO at the Foundation for Nursing Excellence provided the welcoming address entitled Our RIBN Journey Toward Excellence. The NC RIBN Model has evolved from a structured dual-admission pathway to a broader more open and encompassing structure enhancing student access within academic progression.

Thomas C. Ricketts, III, PhD, MPH, Professor (Emeritus) of Health Policy and Management, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provided a motivational and inspiring keynote address to attendees entitled Cultivating Effective Leaders and Team Members.  Dr. Ricketts reminded attendees that as the healthcare environment continues to transform, strong nurse leaders have exceptional opportunities to embrace and facilitate change while advocating for their patients.

Following Dr. Ricketts’ presentation, Craig Lindsey, RN, MBA, MHA, Park Ridge Hospital Chief Nursing Officer, Sheila C. Price, MS, RN, FACHE, CNE-A, Director, RN to BSN Program at Western Carolina University School of Nursing, and Leigh Angel, RN, MSN, CNML, RIBN Program Director and Assistant Professor, Western Carolina University School of Nursing lead a discussion entitled Academic and Practice Collaboration: Leadership & Beyond the BSN. Panelists discussed intentional collaborative strategies between the educational institution and practice settings which foster leadership development within the BSN curriculum and beyond. The audience was challenged to utilize creative initiatives to build graduate capacity to serve as leaders as well as essential team members in leading change in the evolving health care environment.

During lunch, Nettie Evans, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Program Director for the Foundation for Nursing Excellence, lead an interactive NCBON Data Collection Information Session to provide clarity regarding the RIBN student and graduate data tracking process. Proper identification and capture allows for future tracking of RIBN graduates throughout their careers.

After lunch, Kristen Feneley, MPA, CAE, Director of Administration and Volunteer Engagement, North Carolina Nurses Association, Connie Mele, MSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC, NE-BC, CARN-AP, FIAAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Nurse Leader, Mecklenburg County Assistant County Health Director, and AnnMarie Lee Walton, PhD, MPH, RN, OCN, CHES, Postdoctoral Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing formed the Leadership Development Opportunities panel. Panelists provided organizational insight into state and national nursing leadership development initiatives. In addition, the audience was made aware of the Nurses on Boards initiative as a component of the Future of Nursing Campaign. As the largest group of healthcare professionals, nurses are well-positioned as change agents to address quality patient care both within their respective practice arenas as well as by serving on boards of both civic and health-related organizations. More information about serving on boards in North Carolina can be found on the Nurses on Boards 2020 website.

The last panel, RIBN Graduates Share: Next Steps was comprised of Year 4 BSN students who are rapidly approaching BSN completion. The students shared their perspective on successes and challenges to date and future plans in career development. The students elaborated on the value of SSA and faculty support in the rigorous academic RIBN pathway. Likewise the value of support, encouragement and professional development opportunities from the employing practice setting was noted to be of great value as well. The panel included current 4 th year RIBN students Bridgett Punch, RN – Hickory RIBN, Angelica Coffey, RN and Lynnea Skiman, RN – Western RIBN, and Nicole Marshburn, RN – Wilmington RIBN. Erin Luce, RN, BSN, Wilmington RIBN Student Success Advocate served as facilitator for the panel.

Margaret McClure, RN, EdD, FAAN who co-authored the first RIBN grant application to the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence in 2007-08 ended the day with a challenge for attendees to explore opportunities and challenges facing the Nurse and the Nursing profession for transforming health care in the future entitled Nursing and Healthcare for the Future.

Conference Documents and Presentations:

  • Agenda
  • Welcoming Address: Our RIBN Journey Toward Excellence [PPT]
  • Keynote Address: Cultivating Effective Leaders and Team Members [PPT]
  • NCBON Data Collection Information Session [PPT]
  • The NC RIBN Model
  • Panelists BIOs
  • Snapshot Photo Gallery of Enrolled RIBN Students/Graduates
  • Conference Photo Gallery
  • SSA Dinner Meeting Photo Gallery




Greensboro-High Point Marriott, Greensboro, NC

March 17, 2015



130 people gathered at the Greensboro-High Point Airport Marriott in Greensboro, North Carolina on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 for the Fourth Annual Statewide RIBN Conference. 

The keynote address, The Nursing Workforce: Navigating Through Transformative Health System Change, was provided by Erin Fraher, PhD, MPP from the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

The keynote address was followed by a thought provoking Response Panel.  The panel included responses by Warren Newton, MD MPH, Director of the NC AHEC Program, Nursing’s Role in the Transformation of the Health Care Team, Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE Dean of the College of Nursing at East Carolina University, Inter-professional Training Innovation in Nursing Education, and Joy Reed, EdD, RN FAAN retired nurse leader from the NC Division of Public Health, Partnering Opportunities in Public Health. 

The Plenary Session Current Status of RIBN and Other Academic Progression Initiatives in NC was provided by Nettie Evans, RN MSN NEA-BC Program Director at the Foundation for Nursing Excellence.  Daphne Brewington, PhD, RN Director of Professional Practice and Magnet Program Director at Vidant Medical Center and Robin Harris, RN, MSEd, MSN Dean, Health Sciences and Wellness Programs and Learning Innovation at the College of Albemarle contributed examples of their respective organizational successes toward academic progression as a component of the plenary session. One highlight also shared at the conference was the Landmark Articulation Agreement.  (Click on the following link to access the articulation agreement and frequently asked questions.)

After lunch, concurrent cluster breakout sessions provided the opportunity for inter and intra-regional partnership exploration and sharing through formatted questions. Cluster Sessions Summary

Back by popular demand was a Student and Student Success Advocate (SSA) Panel, Diversity Recruitment and Retention:  Stories Along the Way.  The panel featured Erin Luce, RN BSN and students Keena Champion from Eastern NC, Steven Golf from Wilmington, and Hickory students Gabriel Crider and Karina Nunez.

Polly Johnson, RN, MSN, FAAN, CEO of the Foundation for Nursing Excellence ended the day with a presentation and closing remarks, Continuing our RIBN Journey.  Special contributors to the closing remarks included Pat Polansky from the Center to Champion Nursing for America and Tina Gerardi, Deputy Director for RWJF’s APIN project. 

Link to Photo gallery



O.Henry Hotel, Greensboro, NC

April 15, 2014



142 people gathered at the O.Henry Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 for the Third Annual Statewide RIBN Conference.

The keynote address,  The Oregon Academic Progression Model: Progress and Lessons Learned  was provided by Puala Gubrud-Howe, EdD, MS, RN, FAAN from the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing.

Pamela Johnson Rowsey, PhD, RN from the University of North Carolina School of Nursing gave the morning presentation, Challenges and Opportunities: Recruiting and Supporting Underrepresented Ethnic Minorities into Nursing  .

After lunch, consultant Patricia Hayes, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, HNB-BC and Mary Knowlton, DNP, RN, CNE, APN-BC from the Western Carolina University School of Nursing presented  Transition to Employment  drawn from ongoing work in the WNC Collaborative to transition RIBN students into professional practice.

Eileen Evans, MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM and Lynde Mickey, MSN, RN joined Hayes and Knowlton to discuss the process of transitioning students into professional nurses as they complete their BSNs in the afternoon breakout session  Transition to Employment: Nuts, Bolts, and Lessons Learned  .    

The afternoon breakout session  Strategies for Success in Increasing the Diversity of our Nursing Workforce  featured Jacqueline Wynn, MPH of NC AHEC with Student Success Advocates George Dellinger, MSA and Erin Luce, RN, BSN.

Student Success Advocates Mae Mills, BS and Carol Douglas, BS and RIBN students Brett Gustafson, Caroline Jones, Jarred Purvis, and Bridgett Punch presented the breakout session  Navigating the System: Supporting the RIBN Student  .

Polly Johnson, RN, MSN, FAAN, CEO of the Foundation for Nursing Excellence and Maysoun Freij, PhD, MPH of the New York Academy of Medicine ended the day with their joint presentation including Freij’s  Evaluation of RIBN: Preliminary Findings from North Carolina  and Johnson’s  Embedding and Sustaining RIBN into the Future 

[Time Warner Cable News 14 Coverage of the Conference]

[Photo Gallery]


On April 11, 2013, 124 participants gathered in Greensboro for the Second Annual Statewide RIBN Conference. A keynote address was given by Deb Zimmerman, DNP, RN, NEA-BC on the  Importance of Increasing the Educational Preparation of our Nursing Workforce – The Practice Perspective  (  View the video >  ). Following the presentation, a panel discussion occurred with three of North Carolina’s practice leaders.

Late in the morning, Nicholas Didow, PhD, MBA presented his findings on  Making a Business Case for RIBN: Cost/benefit to the Individual, Academia, and Practice Partners  (  View the video >  ). See below for a summary of the ideas generated at each table regarding how to launch a RIBN collaborative in their region.  (Download a PDF of the summary) > 

The afternoon was also full of important presentations and panel discussions on the important aspects of the RIBN initiative in North Carolina. Topics included:

  • Strategies for Success in Increasing the Diversity of our Nursing Workforce  (  View the video > 
  • Building the RIBN Curriculum;
  • Keeping RIBN Students Connected; and
  • Transitioning into Practice While Completing the BSN: The WNC-RIBN Transition to Practice Initiative

The meeting wrapped up with a discussion about the Challenges and Opportunities as We Expand RIBN in North Carolina. ( Download the PDF presentation > 

See photos from the conference!


Collaboration, Strong Student Success Advocates and Strategic Marketing Are Key Ideas to Move RIBN Forward in North Carolina


  • Increase Practice partner involvement including cost sharing, increasing their involvement in selection of RIBN students, tracking retention of RIBN nurses, creating clinical sites; adjunct faculty for Year 4 of RIBN
  • Expand conversations to leadership within practice facilities including Human Resources, Nurse Recruiters, Administrators
  • Share faculty between community colleges and university settings
  • Focus on partnership building; consider ways to change our views of rivalry
  • Assist in defining regions and BSN and ADN partners – align data to regions
  • Create local advisory councils to assist in bringing partners to the table to launch new collaboratives 
  • Begin work where groups already work and collaborate well together
  • Look for employers who currently pay universities to come to institutions and offer course work to tap for RIBN support
  • Seek more scholarship opportunities for RIBN students

Strong Student Success Advocates (SSA)

  • Partner with practice agencies to help cover the cost of the SSA
  • Use SSAs to support retention
  • Further thinking and analysis of the changing role of the SSA over time including incorporating 
  • RN and BSN coordinator role, functions as a role in admissions and facilitating information about scholarship opportunities

Strategic Marketing

  • Develop materials and presentation to sell RIBN to Providers, share ideas and leverage relationships to begin the conversation about the benefits
  • Use data and quantify the savings for practice provider in the areas of quality outcome benefits, Affordable Care Act and reimbursements for hospitals 
  • Address cost comparison of distance learning which is much less expensive by addressing quality of care, incorporate distance learning when creating cost benefits and other analysis
  • Market RIBN as the traditional/preferred model for nursing education replacing current ADN program concept, market as a growing profession

Download as a PDF >


Conference Documents and Presentations:

  • Agenda
  • Why RIBN Now? Conference Summary
  • Small Group Discussions 
  • Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses in NC Presentation by Polly Johnson and Brenda Causey [PPT]
  • Why RIBN? Why Now? Presentation by Margaret McClure [PPT]
RIBN is coordinated 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.