COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women’s own Dr. Sheila Adams, dean of the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology, was inducted into the 2017 Nightingale Hall of Fame.
Adams was recognized in ceremonies this week in Jackson. In addition, Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both graduates of The W’s nursing program, were inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame.
Started in 2006, the annual Nightingale Awards honor outstanding nurses and health care professionals, as well as organizations that have made a special effort to excel in healthcare. It is sponsored by the Mississippi Nurses’ Association and the Mississippi Nurses’ Foundation.
Over her 46-year career, Dr. Adams has served in a variety of healthcare roles, including a pediatric and community health nurse, before entering higher education and making lasting contributions to the preparation of future nurses. She came to The W in the earliest days of the nursing program and has been an integral part of growing it into one of the largest and most highly regarded programs in the region.
Dr. Adams has an impressive list of awards and honors recognizing her leadership and professional stature. She was the 2007 Mississippi Nursing School Administrator of the Year, an award presented by the Mississippi Nurses Association. She also has been named Mississippi Nursing Dean of the Year and is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who’s Who in American Nursing. At The W, she has received the university’s Medal of Excellence—the highest recognition the institution gives.
Active in professional and civic organizations, Dr. Adams also invests her time in giving back. Among her extensive service activities, she has been a member of the Mississippi Regional Action Coalition Committee, Robert Wood John Foundation/Institute of Medicine, Initiative on the Future of Nursing; the Mississippi Task Force on Nursing Retention and Graduation, created by the Governor’s Office; the Mississippi Council of Deans and Directors of Schools of Nursing, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (serving as chair in 1997-99, 2006-07, 2010-11 and 2017-18); and the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce Advisory Board. She serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Professional Nursing and is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board: Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing, currently serving as chair of the Finance Committee. She also serves as a national nursing accreditation visitor for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and as a state accreditation visitor for Mississippi Nursing Programs.
She is an active supporter of a wide variety of health-related organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, American Red Cross, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, United Way and the Mississippi Nurses Foundation. Locally, she has participated in a community response to obesity, suicide prevention efforts and breast cancer awareness.
A part of the College of Nursing since 1973, Dr. Adams also has been called on to assume additional roles during her tenure at The W. Twice she has served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, 1999-2000 and 2003-2004. It is during her tenure in the College of Nursing-Speech Language Pathology that she has quietly set the bar for excellence that contributes to continued quality healthcare for the region.
Under Dr. Adams’ tenure, the college has expanded its hybrid online-classroom RN to BSN program, which allows working nurses to earn an additional degree, and, in 2013, added the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The W now offers nursing options from a two-year associate’s to the doctorate. Graduates regularly score among the highest in the state on national licensure exams.