Maryland Nurses Association
Honored as a “living legend” by the American Academy of Nursing in 1994, Rear Admiral Faye G. Abdellah dedicated her life’s work to the advancement of the nursing profession. She is regarded as one of the most influential nursing theorists and public health scientists of our times.
Abdellah graduated from Fitkin Memorial Hospital in 1942. A highly respected nurse leader, she holds 12 honorary degrees from universities recognizing her pioneering work in nursing research and education, development of the first nurse scientist program, and expertise in international health policy. Her seminal works, Better Nursing Care Through Nursing Research and Patient Centered Approaches To Nursing, forever changed the focus of nursing theory from disease-centered to patient-centered.
As the first nurse and woman to serve as Deputy Surgeon General of the United States, Abdellah worked tirelessly to protect the elderly by influencing policy on nursing home standards. She educated the public on issues such as AIDS, drug addiction, violence, smoking, and alcoholism. After retiring from the USPHS in 1989, Abdellah went on to found and serve as the first dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD. In 2002, she retired with more than 50 years of government service.
Her contributions to nursing and public health have been recognized with almost 90 professional and academic honors, such as the Allied Signal Achievement Award for pioneering research in aging and Sigma Theta Tau’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, Abdellah was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Abdellah’s leadership, her publications, and her lifelong contributions have set a new standard for nursing and for health care. Her legacy of more than 60 years of extraordinary accomplishments lives on nationally and globally.