Over the next two years, I look forward to working with Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi Board of Directors, members, partners, and sponsors in Making the Connection!

 I am Shana Cummings-Lenoir, President of Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi. I serve as “Sweet 16”.

 In 1945 we became the first African American registered nurses’ association and was formed in Jackson, MS known as the Colored Registered Nurses Club.  Today we represent professional nurses within our state, nationally and internationally.  We welcome all members and guest to explore our revised website. 

With current changes in healthcare and nursing practice, it is of the upmost importance for nurses to stay informed and serve as advocates to our community, our patients.  Nursing is one of the few professions with societal mandate.  We do not get to decide if we will be engaged, we are required to do so from the day we recite the Nightingale Pledge.

“Making the Connection:  A Treasured Past and Promising Future” is the theme for my two-year term.  So Eliza, let’s make the connection!  First, let’s connect with other nursing organizations to promote the full scope of practice for all levels of nursing.  Next let’s connect with city councils, industrial businesses and civic organizations to serve as board members on non-nursing boards.  Make the connection, by mentoring new graduate nurses during their first formative years in the profession.  Remember someone mentored you, pay it forward!

Let’s make the connection by forming a strong network of African American advanced practice nurses.  There is strength in numbers, advance practice nurses should provide adequate primary care to our rural communities.  A familiar face may be the driving force to the promotion of healthy living in our state that leads in heart disease, obesity, and diabetes—to name a few.

Let us never forget where we started and retain the rich history of this organization.  Our founding members met regularly in each member’s homes.  Many of the challenges our founding members faced as nurses we continue to face today.  Our namesake, Eliza Pillars with her sister’s assistance, started her own hospital to provide nursing care for her segregated southern community.  Over the next two years, I look forward to working with Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi Board of Directors, members, partners, and sponsors in Making the Connection!

Shana Cummings-Lenoir

Shana Cummings-Lenoir, RN, MSN serves as the state president of Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi. She is an active member of District I- Tupelo and joined the organization one year after beginning her nursing career. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Alabama College of Nursing (2001) and a Master of Science in Nursing Education from the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing (2014). During her time at UMMC she was inducted into the school’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nurses Society.

As a student nurse, Shana served as the secretary of the UNA Student Nurses Association. She also served as a state delegate for the Alabama Student Nurses Association Convention and a national delegate in the National Student Nurses Association House of Delegates. Shana was the recipient of an academic nursing scholarship for students maintaining above average GPAs during the first year of nursing. 

What is your favorite food?


What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is The Color Purple for sure! I also love the musical that was done.

What would you say is your favorite book?

Turning Angel by Greg Iles (fiction); The Holy Bible (nonfiction)

What made you want to be a nurse?

I believe choosing nursing was a natural fit for me professionally. My daddy was a EMT and he always wanted to see me be a nurse. I have always found myself wanting to help others and l love to talk. I have a passion for aging adults. I researched nursing my first year in college and I said this is it! I can not think of anything else I would do. I truly believe nursing is a ministry, a high calling. One of my favorite quotes on nursing is “The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest”…. – William Osler
I say if you don’t believe it, find someone that’s been ill and see what a nurse meant to them.