Catawba hires director for new nursing program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2015

Catawba College has hired Dr. Racquel Richardson Ingram of Kernersville to chair its soon-to-be launched nursing program. Ingram’s appointment as chair and associate professor of nursing at the college began at the start of the spring 2015 semester and was announced by Dr. J. Michael Bitzer, provost.

“We’re delighted to add someone of Dr. Ingram’s caliber and real world experience to our faculty,” Bitzer said.  “She excels in her profession and will certainly assist Catawba in achieving excellence in the nursing program she will help us add to our academic offerings.”

Ingram is charged with developing Catawba’s nursing program and initially recruiting registered nurses who seek to upgrade their credentials by earning a bachelor of science in nursing. That first phase of the nursing program implementation is expected to launch during the spring of 2016.  The second phase of the nursing program, the launch of the pre-licensure bachelor of science at Catawba for non-registered nurses, is anticipated to launch in the fall of 2016.

Ingram’s hiring and the pending start-up of Catawba’s nursing program is made possible in large measure thanks to a $1 million grant the college received in 2014 from the Salisbury-based Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation. Other gifts have also been received in support of the program.

Ingram comes to Catawba after serving since May 2013 as the founding program director for nursing and associate professor at South University High Point. While there, she was recognized in April 2014 with the institution’s Bravo Award, and in 2013, as the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Prior to her tenure at South University High Point and beginning in 2012, Ingram was employed as a part-time faculty member at Chamberlain College of Nursing and as a contributing faculty member at Walden University.  She was an associate professor of nursing on the faculty at Winston-Salem State University from January 2003 to May 2013. From June 1999 to January 2001, Ingram was employed as a nurse aide instructor at Forsyth Technical Community College.

Her faculty experience has involved curriculum development, admissions, retention, course coordination, grant writing and program fundraising. She has extensive research and presentation experience and has authored or co-authored dozens of professional articles. One publication topic that has been of particular interest to Ingram is health literacy, particularly among African Americans ages 50 and older.

While Ingram was teaching nursing, she was also practicing as one. She was a nursing supervisor at CNC/Access during 2000-2001, a clinical supervisor/consultant at ProCare Services in 2000-2001, and a staff nurse at Forsyth Medical Center from 1997 through 2007.

A first-generation college student, Ingram earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State University, and her master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Her professional journey into nursing did not start out on a straight trajectory. Growing up, she thought she wanted to be a teacher.

“After high school, I decided I was done with school, until I took a CNA course and loved it.  That’s what got me into nursing,” she said.

Today, she enjoys teaching people “how to maintain (their health) and about prevention.”

Ingram said she’s proud to be at Catawba, and although excited about her challenges starting up a new academic program, she does not take the opportunity lightly. She relishes the opportunity to put Catawba’s mission statement into action. Although she is a new hire, she can correctly recite that mission statement’s most meaningful phrases:  “personal attention,” and “a zeal to enrich human life.”

To her fellow registered nurses whom she will soon be recruiting into Catawba’s new program, she says she will explain: “Right now, you are highly valued and skilled practitioners with years of experience. We’re not questioning your ability or your skills, but we want to help you enhance them and equip you with additional knowledge that can help improve patient outcomes tremendously.”

Ingram noted that the launch of Catawba’s nursing program, with its initial recruiting aimed at the registered nurse to bachelor’s degree effort, was initiated by the Institute of Medicine’s recent recommendation that 80 percent of the nation’s practicing nurses should have a bachelor’s degree by 2020.  In this effort, the institute asked health care facilities, like Novant’s Rowan Regional Medical Center, and educational institutions, like Catawba College, to work collaboratively to achieve this goal.

The family oriented Ingram, who describes herself with words like “true,” “real” and “sincere,” and who places great value on “ethics and morals,” is married to Chinno Ingram Sr., an occupational therapist and a physical therapist assistant.  The two are parents of five children, ages 24, 23, 19, 18 and 12.