Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Recognized for Innovative Nursing Apprenticeship Program

Partnership with Davidson-Davie Community College is first in N.C.

March 23, 2022

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist has been recognized for its Registered Nurse Apprenticeship Program that is offered in partnership with Davidson-Davie Community College.

ApprenticeshipNC, an organization that helps employers establish registered apprenticeships and build skilled workforces, named the health system as the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Registered Apprenticeship Program Award at their annual conference, held March 15 in Wilmington.

The innovative program, which began in 2020 and is the first of its kind to be approved by the N.C. Department of Labor, allows aspiring registered nurses who graduate from the community college with their LPN certification to receive their RN degree in 24 months. The process typically takes 36 months. This expedited timeline is possible, without affecting the quality of instruction, because the training takes place in acute care settings at Davie Medical Center and Lexington Medical Center – two community hospitals within the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist system.

“As the only academic learning health system in our region, we are proud to help provide high-quality training for the next generation of nurses,” said Kim Stanbery, D.N.P., chief nursing officer at Davie Medical Center. “We are honored to receive this recognition and hope that this program can serve as a model to help us expand our apprenticeship program to include other health care professions.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been exhausting for our nurses and our entire staff so this program will serve as a direct pipeline to support our incredibly dedicated health care work force in our community,” said Clyde Bristow, D.N.P., chief nursing officer at Lexington Medical Center. “In addition, lifelong learning is a fundamental part of our apprentices’ education and their future careers as nurses, so they receive opportunities to participate in evidence-based practice and performance improvement projects within our hospitals.”

Candidates for the program are evaluated through a holistic approach that considers previous work and educational success. Nursing faculty and students are provided with ongoing learning opportunities centered on equity and cultural competence and understanding to help build trust within the team and lead to better outcomes for patients.  

"We continue to be grateful for our incredible partnership with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist," said Holly Myers, dean of health sciences at Davidson-Davie. "The opportunities that this partnership provides for our students, in support of their continued education and professional goals, are invaluable."

Media contact: 

Joe McCloskey,