Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame

Sketch of Maxine Walker

Maxine Walker

With more than 58 years devoted to nursing and nursing education in Tuscaloosa County, Maxine Walker has demonstrated a drive and passion for care giving that have ranged from helping educate hundreds of nursing students, to assisting the elderly with medication, to aiding cancer patients. Her passion for nursing has brought her recognition as caregiver, program director, educator, and administrator. Moreover, her professionalism magnifies her ability to interact at all levels of her career. The daughter of Norwegian immigrants, Mrs. Walker stayed true to her dream of becoming a nurse that began at age seven. She took secretarial courses “just in case,” but completed nursing studies at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital School of Nursing and received her diploma in 1953. Mrs. Walker joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and in 1955 moved to Tuscaloosa where she took a position as a private duty nurse at Druid City Hospital (now DCH Regional Medical Center). Mrs. Walker soon registered at the University of Alabama School of Nursing and received a B.S.N. degree. She then became an instructor in maternity nursing and the director of student health at Druid City Hospital while she also earned her M.S. degree in administration. By 1958, Mrs. Walker was named the school’s assistant director and two years later became its director. There she distinguished herself as a leader and advanced the program by instituting fresh ideas and policies and dropping dated rules, such as the one that would not let married students into the program. In her role as director, she modernized and developed a collaborative leadership style with her students. In 1976, Mrs. Walker understood that the trend in nursing education was to phase out nursing programs in hospitals and move them into universities, and she helped her program do just that. She was instrumental in helping close the nursing school at Druid City and starting the new program at The University of Alabama. After retiring, Mrs. Walker began volunteering at the DCH Cancer Treatment Center and accepted a part-time job as project coordinator at FOCUS on Senior Citizens to help low-income citizens with medication. Mrs. Walker continues her passion for nursing by helping seniors with limited dexterity. Her lifelong passion to her calling has inspired others to call her a “renaissance woman, problem solver, and humanitarian.”