Ida V. Moffett
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 being 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, Moffett immediately began work as a bedside nurse. After completing the required 1,095 days of hands-on training, Moffett 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 postgraduate 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 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.
Moffett dedicated her life to providing quality care and creating standardized nursing education. A pioneer in setting standards for health care, she became the first woman involved in achieving school accreditation in Alabama. Halfway through her career, the Baptist Hospital nursing school was named Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in recognition or her contributions to Alabama’s health-care 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.
Learn more about Samford University’s centennial coeducation honorees.