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Ada Davis was born in Cumberland, Maryland in 1929. She received her nursing diploma from Kings County Hospital School of Nursing in Brooklyn, New York in 1949. In the early 1950s she worked at Kings County Hospital, as a staff nurse in the operating room and Head Nurse on a couple of surgical units. She worked as a staff nurse full-time in the operating room at Gallinger/DC General Hospital from 1953 to 1954 and part-time on the Medical-Surgical units at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD from 1958 to 1960. From 1960 to 1970 she worked part-time in the Medical-Surgical units and Newborn Nursery at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. She worked part-time in the OR Recovery Room, Medical-Surgical units, and Newborn Nursery at Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, DC from 1970 to 1977. She earned her BS in Nursing in 1973 and her MS in Public Health Nursing in 1974, both from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. From 1974 to 1977 she was an Assistant Professor in the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland; she was an Assistant Professor in the Primary Care Graduate Department at the UMD School of Nursing from 1977 to 1979. She earned her certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner in 1978 and her Ph.D. in 1979. From 1978 to 1982 she worked as a part-time Nurse Practitioner at the Primary Care Medical Clinic at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. She was the Chairman of the Department of Nursing at the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore from 1979 to 1982. She was both the Director of the Nursing Administration in Health Services Graduate Program and the Associate Dean and Director of the Graduate Program at Georgetown University School of Nursing from 1982 to 1987. From 1987 to 1993 she was a Nurse Consultant to the Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Grant Program of the Division of Nursing at the US Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service’s Bureau of Health Professions. She was Associate Professor and Director of Baccalaureate Programs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing from 1993 to 2001.

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Following her retirement from this position, she worked as nursing publications editor at JHUSON, senior editor of the American Nurses Credentialing Committee in Washington, and an assistant in the religious education office at St. Jane Frances De Chantal Catholic Church in Bethesda. She published many books, including “John Gibbon and his Heart-Lung Machine” (1991) and “Advanced Practice Nurses: Education, Roles, Trends” (1997); she was also the associate editor of the “Hopkins Family Health Guide” (1998). She was listed in Who’s Who in American Nursing several times between 1984 and 1996 and was elected to membership in the New York Academy of Sciences in 1994. She was also a member of the American Public Health Association, the American College of Nurse Practitioners, the International Biographical Association, the American Historical Association, and the Sigma Theta Tau National Nursing Honor Society, among other organizations. She died in 2009.

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Scope and Content

The Ada Davis Collection consists primarily of materials related to various projects. An important part of the collection is a series of audio tapes of nursing history oral interviews. Biographical information consists primarily of a large binder documenting her activities and publications, as well as some of her old nursing books. The Johns Hopkins University materials include an overview of the Nightingale Collection and administrative materials related to Johns Hopkins Nursing. Includes materials related to lectures given, including audio tapes and slides. Also included are paper materials, audio tapes, and photographs related to conferences attended, as well as audio tapes and other materials related to her projects on John Gibbon and John Kirklin.

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