Wayne Community College’s newest nursing instructor is a gift from Wayne UNC Health Care.
Bryan Johnson, who started work at the college this semester, is filling a clinical/lab nursing instructor position funded by Wayne UNC Health Care.
The hospital made a three-year commitment to cover salary and benefits for a 12-month, full-time faculty position in order to increase enrollment in the college’s Associate Degree Nursing program.
“They gave it as a gift. We manage it and handle all personnel issues,” WCC Nursing Department Chair Billy Tart explained.
According to Tart, “They said, ‘What can we do to get more nurses?’” The college’s response was that it was enrolling as many nursing students as it could with the number of instructors it had and that it didn’t have the funds to add another instructor.
After a few meetings between officials of the two institutions, the solution was found to be the funding of an additional faculty position by Wayne UNC.
Wayne UNC agreed to give the college $225,000 to completely fund the new position for two years and partially for the third year. The agreement will be re-evaluated near the end of the third year, and could be extended, Tart said.
“Our partnership has a successful track record of working together collaboratively to address the nursing shortage here in our community,” said Janie Jaberg, FACHE, president and chief executive officer for Wayne UNC Health Care.
“This investment in additional instructional capacity for the nursing program at Wayne Community College is an investment in the future of health care in our region. We are working together to develop a pipeline of quality nursing talent, while expanding educational and career opportunities for WCC nursing students close to home,” Jaberg said.
The additional instructor means that the associate degree nursing program can accommodate 120 students in its two classes. The capacity had been 96 students.
In order to increase the number of freshmen accepted, the college had to get the permission of the North Carolina Board of Nursing. It is that Board that set the limit at 10 students per registered nursing instructor.
“We were admitting 48 [freshmen] until this year. We were able to do 58 this year. We filled every seat in the classroom,” Tart said. “We are bursting at the seams.”
The number of nursing students the college can admit is now restricted by the size of those classrooms, Tart said, and the number of clinical placements available.
That is another way that Wayne UNC helps the college produce nurses.
“WCC is very fortunate to have Wayne UNC Health Care right next door. They are more than accommodating to us and pretty much give us our preference of clinical sites,” Tart said. “They actively try to be accommodating and receptive.”
Since 1998, the hospital also has been funding Foundation of Wayne Community College scholarships for students in health care training programs.
Meanwhile, the demand continues to grow. “The nursing shortage is getting dire. Projections are worse over the next decade,” Tart said.
Filling the Position – Bryan Johnson
The man who filled the funded position is a product of both WCC and Wayne UNC.
Bryan Johnson is a 2016 graduate of the college’s associate degree nursing program. He was already working at the hospital as a pharmacy technician and took advantage of the hospital’s educational assistance program to attend WCC.
Johnson then moved into a job in Wayne UNC’s Intensive Care Unit and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State University with honors. He still works as an ICU “PRN” (temporary, fill-in) nurse and is currently working toward a master’s degree in nursing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
“I bring a fresh perspective of what it is like to be a fairly new nurse and know the challenges new nurses will face first hand,” Johnson said. “I also have firsthand knowledge of processes at Wayne UNC that will help the students during their clinical experiences, such as with EPIC [an electronic health record system]. Besides that, I also bring compassion for nursing and caring for others that I hope will inspire future WCC nursing graduates.”
Tart lamented that nursing instructors are hard to find, so WCC is fortunate to have someone who wanted to teach, even as he was learning his craft. “That is an advantage of him having been here is we knew the kind of quality we were getting,” Tart said of Johnson. “We knew him as a student, a professional, and a preceptor of our nurses.”
“As I progressed through the nursing program from 2014 to 2016, the instructors inspired me more than I think they even realized. I observed good nurses teaching students to become good nurses,” Johnson said.
“As a student, the thought of becoming a nursing instructor crossed my mind several times. It wasn’t long into my nursing career that I was able to precept students and new nurses. That is when I became serious about taking a nursing educator path in my career,” he said.
“He’s home grown. We’re real proud of him,” Tart added. “He’s a natural. His temperament, he’s compassionate – not only for patients but also for students – and as a worker, he is dependable.”
Johnson is also enthusiastic about his new job. “I work with an incredible faculty who have been more than welcoming. The faculty are very knowledgeable and experienced, and they have helped me settle in quite well,” he said. “Working at WCC has truly been a life-changing experience!”
Wayne UNC Health Care is a 316-bed community, not-for-profit hospital, which has been serving residents in Wayne County and surrounding areas for 120 years. With 1,700 employees and more than 150 physicians, our mission is to provide quality healthcare services through the compassionate hands of well-trained staff in a technologically advanced, cost-effective manner.
Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, the college serves 11,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 140 college credit programs. WCC’s mission is to meet the educational, training, and cultural needs of the communities it serves.