Dr. Rhoda Hutchinson
Early in her professional life, Dr. Rhoda Hutchinson learned key principles to work and live by that continue to guide her today. “Be kind, impartial, nonjudgmental, fair, a good listener and a keen observer. Get all the facts first and take time in making decisions. Know your faculty and staff well. Be appreciative. Look, act and be professional at all times.” These principles served her well in her distinguished 40-year career.
Dr. Hutchinson knew at an early age that nursing was the only career for her. It all started at home with a desire to relieve a recurring ailment of her father’s. She used a variety of home remedies to help him and says that is when she discovered that “helping” was in her DNA.
Upon earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Tuskegee University in 1958, Dr. Hutchinson launched her career as a charge nurse at Huntsville Hospital caring for patients with medical, surgical, obstetrical and other conditions. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1972 and a doctor of education from Nova South Eastern University in 1979. She held several academic appointments including Chairperson of the Health Science Division of Calhoun Community College. In one of her most notable educational achievements, Dr. Hutchinson established the first accredited Practical Nursing Program in the state of Alabama.
Another pivotal moment in her career came when she was appointed to the National League for Nursing’s Board of Review. She gained and shared knowledge about the structure of the organization and its accreditation standards to help not only her college but other programs in Alabama, increasing the number of accredited associate degree and practical programs in the state.
Nursing education in Alabama’s community college system has benefited immensely from Dr. Rhoda Hutchinson, who has “helping” in her DNA.