Dr. Debra Davis

Dr. Debra Davis discovered her passion for nursing when she was in her teens. While visiting a friend whose mother was a nurse, she picked up a nursing textbook and found she could not put it down. She was fascinated by this introduction to in-depth human biology and pathophysiology. It seems she still cannot put nursing texts down. Dr. Davis has served as the Dean of the University of South Alabama College of Nursing for the past 17 years.

Dr. Davis began her nursing education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she completed her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Her first nursing position was in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham.

It was during the first few years of nursing practice that Dr. Davis realized she wanted a career in academia. She liked challenges and problem solving, and she liked change. With that focus in mind, her career path led her to various institutions around the state, including Birmingham Southern College, Troy State University and, finally, the University of South Alabama.
Under her leadership, USA College of Nursing founded the first online Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in Alabama. On a national level, she was a leader in developing the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s DNP Roadmap acting as a member of the task force that set the standard for this educational transformation (DNP). She serves as a program evaluator for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is on the group’s Board of Commissioners. She is also a past vice president and secretary of the Alabama Board of Nursing.

In coordinating the development and funding of online nursing programs, she demonstrated a true pioneering spirit. Dr. Davis has dedicated much of her professional life to advancing educational opportunities for nurses.