AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties
Wanda Faircloth

Wanda Faircloth, RN, MSN, FNP, Southeastern Regional Medical Center – MSN Program

Robeson County | Southern Regional AHEC

Wanda Faircloth, RN, MSN, FNP, Southeastern Regional Medical Center – MSN Program

When Wanda Faircloth was working as a registered nurse at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Robeson County, she read in the newspaper about staff from the Duke MSN Program coming to the hospital to visit and discuss their new online program that offered a nursing education major. She was interested in hearing what they had to say because she had always wanted to obtain a master’s degree in nursing to advance her career, but didn’t know how she could possibly go to school while continuing to work. 

“The reason I enrolled was because it was available online and the Duke staff came to discuss it at the hospital,” said Faircloth, a graduate of the Duke MSN program offered through Southern Regional AHEC. She went on to earn her Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP) degree in 2006. “What was attractive about the Duke MSN program was that it provided a degree from a world class institution and I didn’t have to leave home to go to class.” Southern Regional AHEC’s collaborative partnership with Duke School of Nursing and a grant from The Duke Endowment enabled SR-AHEC to offer the program to nurses in their nine-county region, which includes:  Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland and Sampson. The class was limited to 30 students.

Faircloth considers the library at Southern Regional AHEC in Fayetteville as one of her most significant resources during the two and a half years she worked toward her MSN nursing education degree. “The computer classroom, the AHEC library, and the support I got from Southern Regional AHEC made the program successful for me,” she said.

Southern Regional AHEC personnel offered her support as well. “Andrea Novak was very helpful with providing valuable resources,” Faircloth said. “She seems to be the person to go to and ask virtually any question.” Novak served as preceptor to Faircloth and a second nurse from Southeastern Regional Medical Center for their clinical practicum during the final semester. She currently serves as Administrator of Nursing and Interdisciplinary Programs for Southern Regional AHEC.

Faircloth continued to work full time at the Lumberton hospital while studying for her MSN degree, then reduced her hours when she entered the Family Nurse Practitioner program in 2006. “I would suggest to anyone wanting to do what I did; save up vacation time and use an occasional day while studying for the MSN degree,” she recalled. “Later in the FNP program, you will need to use one day a week to fulfill the clinical requirements until you start your residency - which will require a few weeks of time.” 
The distance based online Duke MSN Program with a nursing education major offered through Southern Regional AHEC has changed Faircloth’s life and helped her realize one of her life-long goals. She is now teaching in the nursing program at UNC-Pembroke. “I’ve just finished my sixteenth publication, some of which have won international awards,” she said.

The nursing students at UNC-Pembroke are glad she decided to stay and listen to the Duke MSN presenters at Southeastern Medical Center on that day. “She was one of our best teachers and explained everything clearly and thoroughly,” said Stephen Mantzouris, a May 2007 graduate of UNC-Pembroke nursing program who now works at Bethesda Naval Hospital, in Maryland. “She prepared us well,” he said. “She was one of our favorites.”