Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2003
In her 40 years of serving as a nurse, Ruth Harrell has been an inspiration to generations who have followed in her footsteps professionally.
Recently Harrell, of Flomaton, was honored for her infleunce with induction into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame.
Known as one of the most respected and beloved nurses in the state, Harrell began her career as a staff nurse, then went on to become the director of nursing for the Alabama Department of Public Health from 1987 to 1993.
In addition to serving as the president of the Alabama Public Health Association, she served on many government task forces and committees, studying issues from the nursing shortage to problems affecting the public's health.
Harrell paved the way for the Alabama Advanced Practice Council to proceed with the development of a statewide Nurse Practitioner Network with one of the largest employers in the state. At the national level, she has served on committees of the American Public Health Association and has been a prominent voice within the American Nurses' Association.
Harrell received her diploma from St. Margaret's Hospital School of Nursing, her B.S.N. from the
Medical College of Georgia College of Nursing, and her M.P.H. from the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards, including the Lamplighter Award from the Alabama League of Nursing, the D.G. Gill Award from the Alabama Public Health Association and the prestigious Ruth Freeman Distinguished Career Award from the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association.
After officially retiring from the Department of Public Health in 1993, she has remained active in her profession.
She is currently the co-director of the Southern Rural Access program, a Robert Wood Johnson funded program designed to improve access to health care for rural people, and has just completed her second term as president of Alabama State Nurses' Association.
She currently chairs the Committee on Professional Practice for ASNA.
The Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame was created in 2001 by the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama. The hall of fame's gallery is permanently located at the Capstone College of Nursing.
Harrell is also being honored by her church. A reception for her will be held at Flomaton United Methodist Church on Sunday, Oct. 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.