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B-CU School of Nursing Faculty Achieve Advanced Certification, Pursue Doctoral Degrees

July 8, 2008

Daytona Beach, FL - The Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) School of Nursing is pleased to announce that three current faculty members have earned the designation Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) after successfully completing a rigorous certification examination developed and administered by the National League for Nursing. These three nurse educators, along with another B-CU School of Nursing colleague, have also been accepted to the doctoral program at the University of North Florida.

Encouraging its nursing faculty to achieve advanced certification and degrees is an important B-CU initiative aimed at maintaining high standards of academic excellence and addressing the state"™s nursing shortage. "€œWe are so proud of our faculty who are living the legacy of our founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, by being lifelong learners as well as educators. They are committed to being the best in their field, and we as an institution are doing everything we can to support them. Their advanced training will make a real difference in the classroom and the community,"€� said Dr. Alma Dixon, dean of the B-CU School of Nursing.

In 2005, Florida'€™s health care system reported more than 13,000 nursing vacancies. According to a January 2007 report from the Florida Center for Nursing, demand for new nurses in the state will likely increase by close to 25% in the next seven years - an increase of more than 36,000 new nursing jobs. Another study by the Florida Center for Nursing points to a shortage of qualified nursing faculty as a significant contributing factor to the overall nursing shortage. Providing opportunities for advanced training is one way of attracting and retaining qualified faculty.

Further, the National League of Nursing (NLN) notes that with nearly half (46 percent) of today"™s nurse educators projected to retire within the next decade and nearly three-quarters (72 percent) within 15 years, replacing them is of grave concern. NLN president Dr. Elaine Tagliareni commented: "€œWe must encourage more nurse faculty to prepare for certification as nurse educators so that our nursing schools can be staffed by academicians of the highest caliber. Only in this way can excellence in nursing education be ensured for another generation."

The three B-CU faculty members achieving the Certified Nurse Educator designation are:

  • Zenesha Barkley: A native of Chicago, IL, Ms. Barkley currently lives in Deltona. She received her Bachelors of Science in nursing degree (Cum Laude) from Bethune-Cookman University in 1998 and holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing from Walden University. She has been a member of the B-CU faculty since 2007 and is currently a Nursing Instructor teaching classes in fundamentals of nursing and comprehensive review for seniors. Her specialty areas are: Women"™s Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Hospice Care.

    Ms. Barkley noted: "The certification is important to me because it recognizes academic nursing education as a specialty area of practice within professional nursing. B-CU"™s School of Nursing is staffed by academicians of the highest caliber. Because of this we can model excellence in nursing and nursing education to our students."

  • Rebecca Ellis: A native of Colville, Washington, Ms. Ellis moved to Florida in 1999 and has resided in Port Orange since 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Washington State University and a Master of Science in nursing degree from the University of Phoenix. She joined the B-CU faculty as a part-time instructor in the fall of 2007 and is now a full-time instructor. With clinical experience in maternity, public health and communicable diseases, she teaches classes including fundamentals of nursing and obstetrics.

    Ms. Ellis noted: "€œAchieving the level of Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) through the National League of Nursing is a way to formally document excellence in teaching. I have been a nurse educator for the last six years and was amazed with the many facets of teaching that were required for this certification exam. I believe that the CNE is quickly becoming the gold standard for nursing education."

  • Karen Edmonson: A native Floridian, Ms. Edmonson came to the Daytona Beach area in 2003. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from North Park University in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in nursing from Emory University in Atlanta. As an assistant professor at B-CU since May 2007, she is the lead faculty for the fundamentals of nursing course and a clinical instructor for classes in maternity nursing. Her area of expertise is neonatal and perinatal care.

    Ms. Edmonson noted: "Certification in one"™s specialty is a mark of leadership and professionalism. For academic nurse educators, this certification establishes nursing education as a recognized area of advanced practice and serves to validate faculty expertise in this role. In a broader sense, the presence of CNE certified faculty communicates to students, peers, and the community that the highest standards of excellence are being met by the BCU School of Nursing."

These three faculty members have also been accepted into the doctoral degree program at the University of North Florida. Another faculty member, Ms. Shirley Thompson, has also been accepted into this program. They will join three other B-CU School of Nursing faculty members who are currently pursuing doctoral degrees at the University of South Florida. Four of the school"™s fourteen full time faculty members already hold terminal degrees.

The Bethune-Cookman University School of Nursing moved into a new facility - the L. Gale Lemerand School of Nursing Building, in December 2007. This state-of-the-art learning center learning center provides the latest in technology-equipped classrooms and skills labs and is enabling the School of Nursing to significantly increase enrollment.

Office of Institutional Advancement

Liz Poston
PH: 386-481-2950

About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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