An iPad captures two students facing each while one performs an eye exam.


UNC SON’s EmpowerEd Initiative Harnesses Technology to Revolutionize Nursing Education and Nurture Future Nurse Leaders

In response to the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, the University of North Carolina School of Nursing (UNC SON) has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative called EmpowerEd. This forward-thinking program maximizes the potential of technology, transforming traditional classrooms into interactive and immersive learning environments. Gone are the days of passive content consumption; students now actively contribute to the creation of educational materials, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The primary objective of EmpowerEd is to revolutionize the way nursing is taught, equipping UNC SON students with the necessary tools and mindset to thrive as effective and creative nurse leaders. The program places a strong emphasis on developing crucial competencies such as communication, collaboration, and clinical judgment. These skills are essential for navigating the complexities of modern healthcare and delivering evidence-based, high-quality care.

“We have exceptionally talented students. They’re bright, innovative, and creative. We’re giving them a platform for them to shine, and they’re stepping up.”

Dr. Maureen Baker

The healthcare sector has experienced unprecedented challenges, with the ongoing pandemic amplifying the existing demands on nurses and nursing students. Today’s nurses must possess the ability to care for high-acuity patients in fast-paced and unpredictable clinical settings. Quick decision-making and critical thinking skills have become indispensable for achieving positive patient outcomes.

To adequately prepare future nurses for these challenges, nursing educators recognize the need for innovative teaching methodologies that foster critical thinking and enhance clinical judgment. The EmpowerEd program at UNC SON represents a paradigm shift from traditional lecture-based approaches. It adopts a personalized learning model, enabling students to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom directly to real-world clinical scenarios.

“It gives me the opportunity to draw diagrams for pathopharmacology or anatomy, or a description of a surgery, it can be really helpful for me to see it visually and make connections from one drawing to another.”
Isabel Daumen

Launched in December 2020, the EmpowerEd initiative has integrated active learning strategies within a dynamic digital classroom environment. This cutting-edge approach supports Carolina nursing students on their journey to becoming the nursing leaders of tomorrow. By embracing technology and fostering a student-centric approach to education, UNC SON is at the forefront of shaping the future of nursing education and ensuring the development of competent and visionary nurse leaders.

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, initiatives like EmpowerEd stand as a testament to the commitment of UNC SON in preparing the next generation of nurses to meet the complex challenges of the ever-changing healthcare world.

Inspire: Developing the Next Generation of Nurse Leaders

Imagine: Redefining Nursing Education for Excellence

Impact: Creating a Ripple Effect of Excellence in Nursing

EmpowerEd Leadership