The College of Nursing was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1959 and admitted its first undergraduate students in 1960. The college has been approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing since 1961 and accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN), now the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission—NLNAC, from 1964 until 2010. In April 2010, the college was accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) granting full approval until June 2015. Currently, the college is a member of the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and the Southern Council of Collegiate Education for Nursing (SREB).
Since its founding, the College of Nursing has continued to grow in numbers of faculty and enrolled students. The first class of nursing students was admitted in the fall quarter of 1960. Seventeen nursing majors graduated during commencement in 1964. In 1960, there were 25 students and three faculty members. Currently, there are over 8100 graduates from the College of Nursing employed throughout the world. Today, the College of Nursing serves 1200 students and employs more than 140 faculty and staff.
From 1967 until 2006, the college occupied the Rivers Building complete with research and instructional facilities, including a Learning Resource Center, a Concepts Integration Lab, six classrooms and 40 faculty offices. In July 2006, the college moved to the new Health Sciences Building on the west campus. This facility has expanded the College of Nursing space to include a Learning Resource Center with 40 computer work stations and 8 Concepts Integration Labs. In addition, the nursing section of the Health Sciences Building houses 12 classrooms and 125 faculty offices.
Authorization to plan a graduate program in nursing at East Carolina University was granted in 1975 by the General Administration, University of North Carolina System. The proposed Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program was developed and presented to the appropriate bodies for approval. Program authorization was granted in August 1977, and the first students were admitted one month later in September 1977.
Major study concentrations are offered in the following areas: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing Education, and Nursing Leadership. The Nurse Anesthesia concentration is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs; the Nurse-Midwifery concentration is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
In fall 2004, the Alternate Entry MSN Option was added to admit students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than nursing to the MSN program. This pre-licensure option is the only accelerated course of study in North Carolina that leads to a MSN degree. Upon completion of one year of full-time campus study, Alternate Entry students take the NCLEX, begin working as an RN once they pass the licensure exam, and start coursework in one of the MSN concentrations.
In spring 2001, approval was received from the UNC Board of Governors to begin a PhD program in nursing. The first students were admitted in fall 2002 and the first doctoral degree was conferred in May 2005. The doctoral program has grown to over 30 students. Courses are taught one day each week to meet the scheduling needs of students. Approval has also been granted for the College of Nursing to offer the PhD with a BSN to PhD option. The purpose of the PhD in nursing is to prepare nurse researchers and scholars to explore, develop, and move forward the scientific bases of nursing practice and nursing education. Students are prepared to conduct research in the domains of nursing science and collaborate with other professionals on interdisciplinary projects. Upon graduation, students are ready to assume positions as researchers, administrators in public and private health care organizations, policy makers and analysts, and university faculty.
On February 8, 2013 East Carolina University College of Nursing (ECUCON) received authorization from the University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors to offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The first cohort of 19 post masters prepared, advanced practice nurses began in fall semester 2013.
In 1987, The College of Nursing became a part of the Division of Health Sciences along with the College of Allied Health Sciences, the Brody School of Medicine, the Laupus Health Sciences Library and the School of Dental Medicine. The Division is led by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences who is located on the first floor of the Brody Building