Published on August 25, 2020 by Sara Roman  

Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland announced Tuesday, Aug. 25 that the Ida Moffett School of Nursing will be renamed to honor current namesake Ida V. Moffett and former dean Nena F. Sanders. The school will now be known as Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing

The Board of Trustees previously approved the name change but the formal announcement was made during the University’s fall 2020 semester opening convocation. A socially distanced reception honoring Sanders followed. 

As a young nurse in the 1970’s, Sanders knew Moffett informally. Over the years, their friendship bloomed and Sanders was blessed to hear Moffett’s stories and dreams for her school of nursing first hand. When Sanders accepted the deanship position, she was committed to carrying forward the Moffett legacy to future nursing graduates. “To have my name forever linked to Mrs. Moffett’s school of nursing is an honor, and I am blessed beyond measure by this naming. My prayer is that the vision and values laid by Mrs. Moffett will continue to serve the school as a strong foundation for the next century.”

Moffett was more than a nurse; she was a gifted healer whose compassion and courage transformed the lives of her patients and the health care industry. Her vision for the nursing school and the role of the bedside nurse has transcended nearly 100 years. Likewise, Sanders transformed numerous health care systems throughout her career and in 1999 she aligned this gift with the education and training of Moffett nurses. Through her innovation, she built upon the four foundational pillars designed by Moffett: academic excellence, compassion, caring and service - to further incorporate interprofessional training and professionalism.

Under her leadership, the nursing school earned numerous rankings and recognitions, vastly expanded its degree programs, set new enrollment records and pioneered online education at Samford. In her initial year of teaching, Sanders oversaw the school’s first grant submission. Today, the school has accumulated more than $22 million in grant and foundation funding.

Sanders also played a central role in the development of the College of Health Sciences which is comprised of the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, School of Health Professions and School of Public Health. In addition to her role as the dean of the nursing school she also served as the college’s founding vice provost.

Through the college, she further perpetuated Moffett’s legacy while simultaneously expanding the training of nurses by implementing a progressive training model that prepares nurses to work as integral and collaborative members of a health care team. Today, students in the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing have the opportunity to practice alongside students training in more than 30 health care disciplines.

“Dr. Sanders has made tremendous contributions to health care and to the preparation of nurses at Samford University,” said Westmoreland. “It is our hope that our graduates will emulate the courage, compassion and caring seen in Mrs. Moffett and the professionalism, passion and pioneer spirit displayed by Dr. Sanders. Both of these women are trailblazers within the profession and their work will continue to benefit students here at Samford and patients around the world.”

In 1922, the Birmingham Baptist Association founded Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing with the goal of educating nurses to meet a desperate need for skilled practitioners. While the name, location, programs and population have transformed since this foundation nearly 100 years ago, the school’s mission remains unchanged – to prepare students to provide exceptional, compassionate, patient-centered care.

Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing currently offers three certificate programs and sixteen programs and degree pathways at the bachelors, masters and doctoral level with an enrollment of 810 students. Graduates consistently boast impressive employment rates and achieve certification and licensure pass rates that exceed national averages. The National League for Nursing has twice named the school a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education for creating environments that promote the pedagogical expertise of faculty and for creating environments of learning and professional development.

Although Sanders retired in May 2020, her legacy will forever be a part of Samford University and its nursing graduates.