Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame

Sketch of Kathryn Barnett

Kathryn Barnett

Kathryn Barnett is recognized for her significant contributions to education, service, and the science of nursing. After establishing the first Ph.D. program in nursing science in Texas and one of the first in the nation at Texas Woman’s University, Dr. Barnett went to Auburn University Montgomery in 1978 as the founding dean of the School of Nursing, where she quickly built an academically solid program and captured support for the program through tireless work with the community. The AUM program grew from 12 to over 150 students during her 17-year tenure. Believing nursing to be an art as well as a science, Dr. Barnett affirmed a commitment to the arts by establishing the juried biennial Nightingale Art Show at AUM, in collaboration with the Montgomery Art Guild. Dr. Barnett also lobbied for and initiated the Nursing Care Center at AUM that provides care for the community, students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, she was a pioneer in the area of therapeutic touch, publishing one of the first theoretical frameworks for the study of this phenomenon in Nursing Research in the early 1970s. At AUM she was a tremendous influence on her faculty and students, inspiring them to reach beyond their own limits, to make new connections, and to become more than they imagined possible. She was a role model, mentor, and polestar. Dr. Barnett received her diploma from Parkland Hospital in Dallas, a B.S.N. from Peabody College, an M.S.N. from the University of Colorado, and her Ph.D. in education from North Texas University. She retired from AUM in 1995. Throughout her extensive career in both practice and as a nurse educator, Dr. Barnett provided caring and visionary leadership that advanced the field of nursing and left a lasting legacy for students and faculty. Dr. Barnett set the pace for involving the community in her program and cultivating excitement about philanthropic giving to further the work of educating students for the nursing profession. She built a school of nursing that has continued to be strong in both the civic and academic communities.