UNC Greensboro’s School of Nursing graduates take giant steps ‒ from the impact of daily patient care and outreach to becoming leaders in the nation’s top nursing organizations. One of those is Dr. Ernest J. Grant ’93 MSN, ’15 PhD.
Grant grew up in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, as the youngest son of seven children. After high school, he enrolled in Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College for the Licensed Practical Nursing program, and the rest is history. Big history.
Grant received his master’s degree in nursing from UNCG in 1993 and later returned to earn his doctorate. In 2015, he became the first African American male to graduate from the university with a doctorate degree in nursing.
This month, he was elected president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the premier organization of the nation’s four million registered nurses. He is the first male to hold the position at a time when, on average, under ten percent of practicing nurses are male.
“I am extremely delighted and humbled to have the opportunity to advocate for the nation’s four million registered nurses, the nursing profession and those whom we care for,” said Grant. “I could not have gotten this far in my career without the education I received at UNCG – an education I use every day to advance health and health care.”
Grant, who was previously ANA vice president, is an internationally recognized burn care and fire safety expert. He oversees the nationally acclaimed North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he has coordinated prevention outreach programs for more than 35 years.
After Sept. 11, 2001, he volunteered at the Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, and cared for patients injured during the attacks on the World Trade Center. For his service he received the Nurse of the Year Award from then president George W. Bush. Grant has also served as a consultant to the government in South Africa preparing fire safety curricula and advising the Congress on burn prevention law and policies.
“His activism and political advocacy locally, state-wide and nationally has advanced the nursing profession and inspired many students and colleagues to follow in his footsteps,” said Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Robin Remsburg. “His expertise in burns has taken him across the country and the world.”
Grant teaches as an adjunct faculty member for the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, where he works with undergraduate and graduate nursing students in the classroom and clinical settings.
He also gives back to UNCG, remaining active on the School of Nursing Advisory Board. The year that he earned his doctorate, Grant established the Ernest J. Grant Endowed Scholarship in Nursing to provide support for multicultural male students with financial need seeking degrees in nursing.
He has been named UNC Greensboro Alumnus of the Year and in 2010 became the first African American male president of the North Carolina Nurses Association.
“We know that our students, our alums, can do whatever they set their minds to,” said Remsburg. “Ernie is a stellar example.”
Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications