Jonas Center Executive Director, Darlene Curley, Featured in PIN Point Newsletter

Jonas Center Executive Director, Darlene Curley, was recently featured in the Partners Investing in Nursing’s Fall 2011 newsletter. The excerpt below is a transcript of Darlene’s interview, to view the newsletter in its entirety click here.

Partner Highlight:

An Interview with Darlene Curley, Executive Director, Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence

Darlene Curley

Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) is an implementation grant that will expand the RIBN model in New York City and North Carolina. The model creates an educational track that joins community college nursing programs with four-year programs to provide seamless academic progression between AAS and BS degrees in nursing.




How did work on your previous PIN project help you to create your latest project?

The overwhelming success of the pilot RIBN program encouraged the Jonas Center to fund PIN 6. The original project was to develop an ADN to BSN curriculum at one community college and BSN program at City University of New York (CUNY) in NYC, and at one community college and one BSN program in rural North Carolina. It also required that NYC and North Carolina partners collaborate on common goals and share successes and challenges. In a very short time, the programs are up and running! In fall 2011, over 20 students are enrolled in the RIBN program in both CUNY and North Carolina. Both programs are now permanent student curriculum options. The Jonas Center felt that they should be expanded. The goal of PIN 6 RIBN is to expand to all students in the 13 nursing programs at CUNY, and Statewide expansion to all community college students in North Carolina. Of course, the ultimate goal is national expansion.


What are the lessons learned from your original PIN grant that will you use in your PIN 6 grant?

One lesson learned is the time and commitment it took to get the programs up and running was much greater than the original funding supported. PIN 6 partners are reaching out for other funding to support staff time to continue the program expansion. Also, the students both applying and enrolling in the program had specific backgrounds and characteristics that responded positively to additional student support services. Many of their challenges were unrelated to their academics, but crucial to their success in the program. Both NYC and North Carolina hired “success advocates’ to be available to students interested in and enrolling in the program. Another challenge was the time and expense necessary to assemble the entire faculty during the year to discuss the program and define goals. PIN 6 will rely on electronic communication, such as webinars, to increase communication and reduce costs.


Your project has a rural/urban juxtaposition. How have you addressed education-related issues in both settings?

The rural/urban partnership is one of the major strengths of the program and in some ways the greatest success. Nationally, there are several models for seamless ADN to BSN nursing education programs; however, they are often seen as “site specific,” “locale specific” or “state specific.” RIBN has been successful in one of the most rural areas of our county and the most urban area, which makes the model readily embraced to replicate and scale up nationally. The partners were surprised that they had much more in common than expected in the areas of curriculum redesign, faculty development, student strengths and challenges, and school collaborations. The partners identified common areas to address which joined them together, but found individual solutions to reach common goals.


How is your project helping to advance the recommendations laid out in The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action report?

The RIBN project directly addresses the recommendation to increase the percentage of nurses with a BSN degree to 80% by 2020. The original grant addressed this issue, because it was seen as an important issue to advance nursing. The emphasis on this issue by the IOM solidified the support of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence to continue funding in PIN 6.