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Nursing lost an exceptional visionary in executive practice on December 8, 2012. Vernice D. Ferguson served as an original advisory board member for Nursing Administration Quarterly, and she was a nationally and internationally known health care leader. As her colleague, Christopher James of New York University, states, "Vernice was a wonderful and courageous individual who forever changed the face of Nursing."
Vernice was all about service. She served as the top nurse executive at both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health. She was chief nurse for two Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and a past president of Sigma Theta Tau. Among her many volunteer positions in service to Nursing and patient care were years spent on the Bon Secours Health Care system Quality Care Committee, the Independence Foundation's Advisory Committee on Nurse Managed Primary Health Care Initiative, The Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Advisory Committee, the Board of Overseers for the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and the Nova Foundation of the Nurses Organization of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
She was a pioneer for our profession, as the first nurse appointed deputy assistant chief medical director for nursing programs for the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was the first nurse to receive the Freddie Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the MediMedia Foundation in recognition of excellence in electronic, health related, and educational materials. She was also the second American nurse to be named a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom.
Vernice was generous to her colleagues. She shared her wisdom as an author, presenter, and teacher. Her teaching appointments included the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Illinois, Georgetown University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Pennsylvania. She leaves a legacy that will touch the lives of generations of those who receive compassionate, competent, and loving patient care.
-Kathleen Sanford, RN, DBA, CENP, FACHE
Nursing Administration Quarterly
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