Ernestine Brown Small

Ernestine Brown Small
First African American Teaching Faculty Member at UNC Greensboro and First African American President of NCNA

Ernestine Brown Small is assistant professor. School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a past president of the North Carolina Nurses Association (1979-81) and the first black to serve in that capacity.

She is a product of the School of Nursing, Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama, from which she received the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, and of Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., where she received her master of science in nursing degree. She holds a certificate as an adult nurse practitioner from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Post-master’s study in education is continuing.

A model of expertise, knowledge, and leadership, she has carved for herself a place in the history of nursing in North Carolina and in the South in general. Her involvement in nursing prior to and since serving as president of the state association will be a continuing source of pride for the minority community.

Her professional experience includes the usual route taken by most nurses, beginning as staff nurse and rising up the ladder to other positions. She became the first black faculty member of a non-black school of nursing in North Carolina. This established the pace for other institutions to follow. Only a daring, young, energetic nurse would have accepted this challenge. She has remained at that institution, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, from 1971 to the present.

Her appointments and memberships include these: gubernatorial appointment to the North Carolina Comprehensive Health Planning Task Force on Health Manpower; chairman of the Legislative Committee, chairman of the Commission on Health Affairs, and chairman of the Task Force on the Nursing Practice Act, North Carolina Nurses Association; member of the North Carolina Board of Nursing; member of the Program Committee, District Eight, North Carolina Nurses Association; mayoral appointment to the Greensboro Human Relations Committee; board member of the Greensboro YWCA; and member of the Voter Registration Commission.

Among her memberships in professional organizations are these: District Eight, North Carolina Nurses Association; National League for Nursing; American Association of University Professors; North Carolina Conference for Social Services; North Carolina Health Council; and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

She has received special honors or recognition from Alpha Kappa Mu honor society; Sigma Theta Tau, national honor society of nursing; North Carolina Nurses Association; and Chi Eta Phi sorority.

Her professional activities include serving as consultant, Project Review Committee, Division of Nursing, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

She was selected by the North Carolina Board of Nursing as an item writer in medical-surgical nursing for the state board of nursing examination.

Biographical reference may be found in Outstanding Educators of America.

Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt
Lindsey Wilson