Ida V. Moffett Legacy

The Story of Mrs. Ida V. Moffett, 1905-1996

Ida V Moffett"In Ida V. Moffett the entire spectrum of nursing comes together. It is most unusual for one individual to do three full-time jobs (and more) at one time, but Mrs. Moffett for 29 years did. She was director of nursing at the two units of The Birmingham Baptist Medical Centers, and she directed the largest school of nursing in Alabama. At the same time, she led her profession statewide and nationally. As impressed as people are about her productivity, there is something more important about Ida Moffett. She is most admired because of her high ideals and deep values about patient care. Throughout her 65 years as a nurse, she constantly communicated her loving concern for patients, for students, for those in the health care professions, and finally for the institutions she helped build. The Baptist Medical Centers are proud to call her our Chief of Nursing Emeritus. Her life, her love, and her commitment will always remain a living inspiration to be treasured and followed." ........Emmett R. Johnson, as taken from the Foreword of Courage to Care, the Story of Ida V. Moffett by Lee N. Allen and Catherine B. Allen, Birmingham, Alabama, Samford University Press, 1988.

Ida Vines Moffett was one of the most beloved and influential Alabamians in the health profession. As a nurse for more than 70 years, she was a gifted healer whose touch could transform a patient's health. She spent most of that time at the executive level of the Baptist Hospital system based in Birmingham. She blended roles as clinical nurse administrator with her leadership in nurse education. But she never gave up her passions: comforting desperately sick people and raising the standard of their care.

After graduating from high school and encouraged by public health nurses in her rural community of Jefferson County, she enrolled in the Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing. As part of her training, Ida immediately began work as a bedside nurse. After completing the required 1,095 days of hands-on training, Ida passed the state examination and became Registered Nurse number 1830 in Alabama on June 3, 1926. She worked in a physician's office and served as a private duty nurse at Baptist Hospital. Local physicians arranged for her to go away for a year's post-graduate study. She trained in orthopedic nursing at the University of Iowa Hospital and then studied surgical nursing at the University of Cincinnati. Back in Birmingham in June of 1928, she became operating room supervisor for Birmingham Baptist Hospital, serving until her marriage to Howard D. Moffett on June 29, 1929. She returned to Birmingham in 1934 as head nurse of the second branch of Baptist Hospital, the Highland Avenue Baptist Hospital.

Ida dedicated her life to providing quality care and creating standardized nursing education. A pioneer in setting standards for healthcare, she became the first woman involved in achieving school accreditation in Alabama. Halfway through her career, the Baptist Hospital nursing school was named The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in recognition or her contributions to Alabama's healthcare profession.

Having presided over the graduation and licensing of more than 4,000 nurses, and having led the major health care professional organizations of the state, she made an indelible mark on an industry. Her character, wit, common sense, and passionate love for sick people captured the hearts of patients and professionals. So persuasive and pervasive was she, that nurses everywhere continue to promote her ideals. She died at Montclair Baptist Hospital November 17, 1996 from heart failure.

....as taken from the program of the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame 30th Installation Ceremony on March 1, 2001, Judson College, Marion, Alabama.

  • April 9, 1905: Born in Toadvine, Alabama
  • 1923: Graduated from Alliance High School
  • 1926: Graduated from the Birmingham Baptist Hospital
  • 1928: Became operating room supervisor the Birmingham Baptist Hospital
  • 1929: Married Howard D. Moffett
  • 1934: Head Nurse, Highland Avenue Baptist Hospital, (second branch of Baptist Hospital)
  • 1941-1967: Appointed Director of Nursing, Birmingham Baptist Hospital
  • 1961-1962: Special Consultant to the Surgeon-General's Consultant Group on Nursing
  • March 1965: Awarded gold badge, symbol of outstanding service in field of Volunteer Red Cross Nursing - served on local level since 1926
  • May 1966: Named Nurse of the Year by District No. 1, Alabama State Nurses' Association
  • 1967-1970: Chief of Nursing for the Birmingham Baptist Hospital
  • 1968: Birmingham Baptist Hospitals School of Nursing name changed to Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing
  • May 1972: Awarded Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Judson College.
  • Listed in Who's Who of American Women (First edition and subsequent editions)
  • November 1981: Honorary Member of the Sigma Theta Tau, Inc., National Honor Society of Nursing. At the time she was inducted there were only thirteen members in Sigma Theta Tau.
  • 1983: Ida V. Moffett Day was proclaimed by the Honorable Richard Arrington, Jr., Mayor of the City of Birmingham commemorating her 60th Anniversary in Nursing
  • March 1985: Recipient of the American Protestant Health Association Award presented for outstanding leadership and contribution to church-related health care and nursing education. Honorary member of Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society of Educators.
  • 1988: "Courage to Care" completed.
  • 1996: Prayer Point Award presented by Women's' Committee of 100 for Birmingham. Elected Deacon, Vestavia Hills Baptist Church
  • 1996: Mrs. Moffett passed away, after many years of devoted service to the nursing profession.
  • March 1, 2001: Inducted into Alabama Women's Hall of Fame

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