Eloise Patricia Lewis

Eloise Patricia Lewis
First Dean of UNC-Greensboro

Eloise "Patty" Lewis First Dean of the UNC-G School of Nursing. President of the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing from 1978-1980. First editor of the Journal of Professional Nursing. 2008 NCNA Hall of Fame recipeint. Reprinted with permission from the North Carolina Nurses Association.

From the 2008 NCNA Hall of Fame Induction

Eloise Rallings Lewis, deceased, was an eminent nurse educator, scholar, nursing activist and patient care advocate. Her contributions to nursing, nursing education, nursing practice, and community service continue to serve North Carolina today.

Dr. Lewis received her BSN from Vanderbilt University in 1941 as a member of the first class where that degree was conferred. In 1945, she was in the United States Army Nurse Corps at Valley Forge General Hospital and was Assistant Director of the Cadet Nurses Corps in the Third Service Command. She completed her Master of Science in Education at the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 and her Doctorate of Education from Duke University in 1963.

Dr. Lewis served as Associate Professor in surgical nursing and Chair of the Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing and then Director of Graduate Programs for the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In 1966 she was named Professor and Founding Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro and served there until retirement.

Dr. Lewis served in many elected and appointed positions in North Carolina as well as regional and national offices in nursing and health care. She served as President of the NC League for Nursing, was appointed to the North Carolina Board of Nursing and served as Chair during the successful effort to complete a major rewrite of the Nurse Practice Act. She was President of the North Carolina Nurses Association from 1967 to 1969, was a member of the NC Commission on the Status of Women, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Regional Medical Program, and a member of the NC Health Council. She also served as a consultant to the Veterans Administration Hospital, Oteen, and as a member of the Commission on Goals for the NC Community College System.

Dr. Lewis also held many offices in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and served as President from 1978 to 1980. She was one of 36 nurses selected as Charter Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing in 1973. She was also the recipient of the O Max Gardner Award in 1976 presented by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system.

On October 6, 1997, Founders Day, the dedication of the Eloise Rallings Lewis Nursing Performance Center was held in the Margaret C. Moore Building at UNC-G to honor the contributions of this leader and educator in the field of nursing.

Comments from nursing colleagues:

“It was my privilege to work with Dr. Lewis as my mentor, colleague, and friend. She and I collaborated on many efforts to improve nursing in Greensboro as well as in the region, state, and nation. Dr. Lewis was an eloquent speaker and used her persuasive powers on behalf of nursing. She was stubborn in her pursuit of her goals and would demolish anything that got between her and success. She influenced public policy in nursing’s behalf, was a strong advocate for enhanced patient care, promoted the creation of the nurse practitioner role and was a strong presence in the lives of her students for as long as she lived! I believe she exemplifies the character, commitment, and lifetime contributions to nursing and health care in North Carolina that the Hall of Fame is intended to honor.”

“When discussing the evidence that Dean Lewis demonstrated leadership in an area of nursing practice, the real challenge is to find a category in which she did not offer leadership. She was well published and supported the development of the Journal of Professional Nursing. Her devotion to the profession through service, political advocacy, and administration are evident in the extensive volunteerism, policy development, and leadership history.”

“Dean Lewis affected the lives of countless nursing students who have since graduated and become leaders in nursing not only in NC but around the world. I could go on listing hundreds of nurses that came through the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing who to this day feel a common bond and connection because they were touched by Dean Lewis.”

Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt
Lindsey Wilson