In the News
Vernice Doris Ferguson, MA, RN, FAAN, FRCN, died on December 8, 2012, at her home in Washington DC, at the age of 84. Ferguson was internationally known for her leadership role in fostering excellence in nursing care and in the nursing profession, and fought for greater opportunities, higher wages, and more respect for nurses throughout her career. After receiving her bachelor of science and nursing certificate from New York University and Bellevue Nursing Center in 1950, Ferguson earned a master's degree from Columbia University's Teachers College in 1957. She began her nursing career as head nurse of the neoplastic metabolic research unit at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. She was chief of the nursing department of the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health from 1972 to 1980 and served as the nurse executive for nursing programs for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from 1980 to 1992. During her leadership at the VA, the number of RNs with a baccalaureate or higher more than doubled. After retiring in 1992, Ferguson was appointed senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Ferguson was the second American nurse to be named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing in the United Kingdom; she was also a past president and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, which honored her as a Living Legend in 1998. She was the first nurse to receive a Freddie Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, and was recognized by the New York University College of Nursing with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010.