Born on April 9, 1905 in Toadvine, Alabama, 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 patients 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.
In 1923, she graduated from Alliance 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.
After graduation, she worked in a physicians office and served a private duty nurse at Baptist Hospital. Local physicians arranged for her to go away for a years 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 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 forming university- level degree programs for nursing, in closing substandard nursing schools, in organizing hospital peer groups, in licensing practical nursing, and in starting junior college-level degree programs for nurses. Half way through her career, the Baptist Hospital nursing school was named The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in recognition of her contributions to Alabamas 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 grip on the hearts and minds of people in the health care industry of Alabama lay not so much in what she did, but in who she was, and how she lived. 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.
Alabama Women's Hall of Fame