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Nurses With Bachelor's to Doctorates: Atlantic General Committed to Lifelong Learning

Nurses With Bachelor's to Doctorates: Atlantic General Committed to Lifelong Learning

Two caregivers earn Doctor of Nursing Practice

Berlin, Md. – In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a set of eight recommendations regarding the education of nurses in the U.S., made in large part to address the increasingly complex nature of healthcare and improve the level of care coordination provided to patients to help them better navigate the healthcare world.

Atlantic General Hospital took those recommendations – among them to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent and double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020 – and ran with them.

“It has been well documented through research that the level of nursing education in a healthcare organization is directly proportionate to quality of care and patient satisfaction with that care,” said Colleen Wareing, vice president of patient care services at Atlantic General Hospital. “The higher the percentage of nurses with an advanced level of education, the lower the incidence of mortality and potentially avoidable complications.”

Notably, two Atlantic General Hospital nurses earned their Doctorate in Nursing Practice this year.

Lisa Bayles, DNP, CRNP, RN, MSN, was awarded a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Wilmington University in May 2015. Her doctorate study was titled “Implementation of Readiness to Change and Self-Efficacy: Impact on a Nonsurgical Weight Loss Program. Lisa has been serving as a nurse practitioner, specializing in women’s health, in Worcester County for over 20 years. Her focus is in gynecological services for adolescents, adults and geriatric patients. She pursued her nursing education at Salisbury University and received her medical practice training in Salisbury. She is board certified in women’s health and family medicine. A trained colposcopist, Lisa is a member of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.

Althea Foreman, DNP, RN, CCNS, CEN, FNE A/P, was awarded a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Wilmington University in May 2015. She received her BSN from Wilmington College and her Master’s Degree from Liberty University as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS). The focus of her Doctorate capstone was Emergency Department Recidivism as it Relates to Health Literacy. Althea has been an ER nurse for 27 years, employed at AGH since 1997 and the Emergency Department Nurse Manager for the last 5 years.

Atlantic General Hospital and Health System has been recognized by the state of Maryland for having the lowest percentage of healthcare acquired conditions of any hospital in the state three years in a row and has the highest patient satisfaction rating for hospital care on the Lower Eastern Shore. Initiatives related to nursing higher education have contributed to these accomplishments.

These include:

The James G. and Nancy W. Barrett Scholarship Program, offering full tuition, books and healthcare benefits to recipients who wish to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing and attain their registered nursing certificate. Scholarship recipients are required to work a minimum of 12.5 hours a week while maintaining full-time status in the educational program. Upon completion of their studies, nurses assume a position as a registered nurse at Atlantic General Hospital and Health System for 12 months for each school year in the scholarship program.

The Associate RN-BSN Scholarship Program, offering assistance with tuition and required course books specifically to employed registered nurses who wish to pursue their bachelor of science in nursing. Recipients are required to work for Atlantic General Hospital and Health System for a specified time period after graduation.

Creation of an Education and Work Environment Council to further the continuing education and higher learning efforts of clinical staff at Atlantic General Hospital and Health System. A Professional Nurse Council leads the effort in making higher education and achievement of the IOM aims a reality.

Partnerships with Wor-Wic Community College, Sussex Tech, and Salisbury University to train clinical leaders at Atlantic General to assume nursing education roles to train additional bachelor-prepared nurses.

Beginning in 2016, nurses newly hired at AGH will be asked to complete their BSN within five years of hire.

About Atlantic General Hospital

Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, retina surgery and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit