C. Alicia Georges ’65, Ed.D., R.N., FAAN, chairperson of the
Department of Nursing at Lehman College, of the City University of New
York, president of the National Black Nurses Foundation, Inc., and
College of Nursing alumna, has raised the bar in academics, research and
community activism. She recently spent a few minutes reflecting on her
You worked as a community nurse in New York after you graduated from Seton Hall. How did this experience affect you as a nurse?
I was a visiting nurse from 1965-75 and I absolutely loved it. Many
students want to work in hospitals, but I tell them if a person lives to
be 100 years old, they only spend a short time in the hospitals –
community nursing is where the action is! You get to see people in their
homes, as they truly are.
Of course. There was a huge drug epidemic – people were doing heroin
and there were some buildings in New York that we couldn’t even enter.
Treating children who were suffering from withdrawals was difficult. In
the beginning we didn’t have escorts, but then we needed to have someone
accompany us into these uncomfortable areas. New York is much safer now
– I would say it’s as safe as any city.
When you were honored at the College of Nursing’s tea celebrating
Black History Month, I learned about all of your accomplishments and
achievements and yet, the thing that struck me was your genuine delight
and enthusiasm for your classmate’s and colleagues’ accomplishments, as
though you were more excited for them than for yourself.
I just have the greatest respect for people who do what they do
every day with no thought of monetary gain, and it makes me happy to get
up and go to work every day. Brenda Bennett (a fellow Seton Hall
nursing classmate, who continued on to medical school) could have
specialized in plastic surgery or gone into practice anywhere, but she
chose to open her office in Harlem. And I just have the greatest
admiration for Annette Hubbard (’65, R.N., B.S.N., M.A.), who has made
such a difference in our community.
How has your position as a black female leader in education helped
you make strides toward your goals of eliminating health disparities and
improving the health of minorities and the disadvantaged?
We have fair, equitable admission criteria, but we get the
opportunity to increase the ethnic mix and admit students who can serve
as role models. People respond better when treated by someone with
similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We are able to ensure that
nurses who work in our neighborhoods are reflective of the population
I know that you love to travel. Can you tell me your favorite place that you have visited?
My two favorite places would be Cape Town (South Africa) and Hong
Kong. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and
it reminds me of St. Thomas, where I was born. Hong Kong is one of the
most cosmopolitan places in the world. You can meet everybody and do
everything, yet there are still strong Asian traditions – I love the
Favorite restaurant in NYC?
Le Bernardin, but I only go on special occasions!
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