A nurse for more than five decades, Dr. Ernestine Bady Davis can trace her interest and success in the field back to her family. Her mother worked at a hospital in Georgia, and she would go to work with her mother when she was home on breaks. Dr. Davis became extremely interested in nursing; she wanted to do whatever she could to help people. Since her parents had always stressed the importance of getting a college education, she decided to pursue her passion at Tuskegee University, where she ended up earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1965. Dr. Davis then furthered her professional standing by obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing at the Medical College of Georgia in 1973 and an EdD from the University of Alabama in 1979.
Degrees in hand, Dr. Davis set out to make her mark on the field. She started her career as a nurse in various hospitals across Arizona, Virginia, California, and Japan, after which became an instructor at her undergraduate alma mater, Tuskegee University, and an assistant professor at the University of Alabama Weekend College. Dr. Davis later advanced to become an assistant professor at the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama and a professor of nursing at the University of North Alabama. She accepted the distinguished title of professor emerita from the latter in 2018. Some of her responsibilities over the years included teaching leadership in management, medical surgical nursing, pharmacology, and physical assessment.
When Dr. Davis wasn’t in the classroom, she was sharing her knowledge in other ways. She authored pieces like “Enhancing Academic Success of Underrepresented Students” for the International Journal of Nursing and Clinical Practice and “Essential Strategies to Success,” and co-authored “A Brief Overview: How to Use Qualitative Research When Identifying Health Care in Disadvantage Families.” She was also a textbook reviewer for Lippincott and Wilkins Textbooks.
As a testament to her hard work and dedication, Dr. Davis has received many accolades. She was notably honored with the Lillian Harvey Award from the Alabama State Nurses Association in 2000, as well as with the Leroy Finch Education Award from the NAACP, the UNA and Shoals Community Outstanding Service Award, and the Zeta Woman of the Year Award from the Zeta Phi Beta Society. Additionally, she was awarded a $1.3 million Nursing Workforce Diversity HRSA Grant, which is for underrepresented ethnic students declaring nursing as a profession. Her efforts also led her to be inducted into the Tuskegee University Nursing Hall of Fame and to be selected as a diversity consultant to the Nicholls State University College of Nursing and Allied Health, among other achievements.
When Dr. Davis has free time, she enjoys reading and camping. She also serves as the assistant to the president for minority affairs and as a cultural diversity consultant for Alabama Early Intervention Systems.