Published on December 30, 2022 by June Mathews  
Vintage Nursing Uniforms
Vintage Nursing Uniforms

In the building that houses today’s Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, you’ll see little to suggest that the seeds of the program were sown in a converted farmhouse on Birmingham’s West End. Home to the Birmingham Infirmary, the house not only served as a sanctuary for the sick but as a training ground for nurses and a forerunner of bigger things to come in terms of nursing education.

By the time the Birmingham Baptist Association purchased the infirmary in late 1921 and founded the Birmingham Baptist Hospital, the foundation had been laid for what would become one of the most prestigious nursing education programs in the nation.

1922 – The Birmingham Baptist Hospital Training School of Nursing was established by the Birmingham Baptist Association to meet a desperate need for skilled practitioners in the area. The nursing students lived in the surrounding neighborhoods and worked 12-hour shifts to keep Birmingham Baptist Hospital going. They were responsible for all aspects of patient care and maintenance, and they studied late at night to accommodate the needs of their patients.

1923 – Eighteen-year-old Ida Vines from Toadvine, Alabama, enrolled in the Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, marking the beginning of a 70-year-plus career dedicated to excellence in patient care and nursing education. Recognized as an incredibly gifted nurse from the start, she became a driving force for the establishment and accreditation of educational nursing programs across the state. Ida Vines Moffett, a legend in the world of nursing in Alabama and beyond, died in 1996.

1955 – The nursing school was accredited by the National League for Nursing, the first in Alabama to earn such accreditation. Today, it is the only nursing education program founded by a health system to remain active in the state.

1959 – The Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing’s first homecoming celebration brought nurses from 14 states, representing classes back to 1922. Guests from Birmingham Infirmary classes prior to 1922 attended as well. The formal program included a tribute to “Miss Ida”.

1968 – The Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing relocated to the John H. Buchanan Building on the campus of Baptist Medical Center-Montclair and was renamed the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.

1973 – Following a merger agreement with Baptist Health Systems, the nursing program was transferred to Samford University to facilitate a more academic focus. Associate and baccalaureate degrees in nursing were offered. Laurene Gilmore was the first dean of the nursing school.

1988 – The nursing school moved to the Dwight & Lucille Beeson Center for the Healing Arts on Samford’s campus, where it remained for the better part of the three decades. Mrs. Beeson had a special interest in the Samford nursing school due to her longtime friendship with Mrs. Moffett.

2005 – The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing was first designated a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing for “creating environments of learning that promote innovative student learning and professional development.” A second award in the same category came in 2021. An award in 2017 recognized the school for creating environments that “promote the pedagogical expertise of faculty.”

2016 – The nursing school moved to the Samford’s College of Health Sciences in the former headquarters for Southern Progress Corp. The schools of health professions, pharmacy, and public health also relocated there.

2020 – Samford’s nursing school was renamed the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing to honor longtime dean Nena Sanders. During her 21-year tenure at Samford, Sanders also served as the founding vice provost of the College of Health Sciences. Under her leadership, the nursing school earned numerous rankings and recognitions, expanded its degree programs, set new enrollment records, and pioneered online education at Samford. University President Andrew Westmoreland termed Sanders’ leadership “truly transformational in Samford’s history.” Sanders retired at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

2022 – Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing celebrated their centennial year on November 3 at the Lyric Theatre with a live band and custom nursing uniforms from the past worn by current students. On November 4, they celebrated with a luncheon at The Club with graduates from the Birmingham Baptist Hospital (graduates from 1973 and prior).
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.