Vernice Doris Ferguson (1928 – 2012)


Inspiration for Activism!

  • At a time when few black women attended college, she graduated from New York University with a nursing degree in 1950 and was awarded the Lavinia L. Dock prize for high scholastic standing.
  • Fought for greater opportunities, higher wages and more respect for nurses as chief nursing officer for the Veterans Administration from 1980 – 1992.
  • Pushed for nurses to be freed from such activities as making beds d answering phones, so that they could focus on patient care.
  • Fought to obtain for nurses the same access to scholarship money and training as physicians in the VA.
  • Promoted nursing research and organized a network of nurse researchers at the VA.
  • During her tenure at the V.A., the number of nurses with a baccalaureate degree more than doubled, and nurses salaries almost tripled – an achievement that had a ripple effect nationwide.
  • Served as president of the American Academy of Nursing from 1981 to 1983.
  • Served as president of Sigma Theta Tau from 1985 to 1987.

More information here and here and here and here.

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