Dr. Hildagarde Reynolds

During a career that spanned more than four decades, Hildagarde Reynolds helped achieve vast changes in the nursing landscape in the state of Alabama. During her terms on the Board of Nursing (1953–1957 and 1960–1970) she spearheaded many efforts to eliminate rigid requirements for nursing education and practice to assure the independence of the Board of Nursing, while protecting the public. Her leadership was critical in providing the impetus for a significantly revised Nurse Practice Act in 1965. Dr. Reynolds’s impact on nursing also includes the development of associate degree programs and expansion of baccalaureate programs. Since her retirement in 1986, she has remained active in the Retired Registered Nurses’ Association, serving as president. Dr. Reynolds earned her diploma from City Hospital in Mobile and received her registered nurse license thereafter. She then worked for the Board of Health as a staff nurse, where she saw the effects of poverty and treated many for syphilis with arsenic and bismuth injections. Dr. Reynolds also worked as a staff nurse in the isolation unit at City Hospital during the early days of penicillin use and served as the first chief nurse of the Mobile Regional Blood Program through the American Red Cross. In 1950, Dr. Reynolds became an instructor at City Hospital School of Nursing and served as associate director of nursing services. In 1958, she became the director of the School of Nursing at the Mobile Infirmary and then the chair of the associate degree in nursing program in 1973. In 1974, she earned her doctorate in education from Mississippi Southern College and later became the chair of the B.S.N. program at the Mobile College Division of Nursing. She was chair of both programs until 1981. A member of the Alabama State Nurses’ Association for 51 years, Dr. Reynolds served on the Alabama League for Nursing, representing the State on numerous national committees. Her impact on nursing and health care in Alabama will be felt for years to come.