Everett Darrell Davis is no ordinary nurse. In fact, he is extraordinary. For over 40 years, he has been helping and healing others. It was near the end of the Vietnam War Era when Darrell was drafted into the U.S. Army where he trained to become a Combat Medic.
Combat Medics are soldiers with medical training that receive basic training for eight weeks, regardless of their future Military Operation Specialty. From there, a Combat Medic would receive an additional eight weeks of training, usually at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. This is where Darrell learned how to draw blood, use splints, start IV's, treat shock, gunshot wounds, and seizures, perform tracheotomies, C.P.R., along with many other procedures. Oftentimes, the Combat Medic is referred to as "Doc" within their unit.
Darrell, a Stanly County native, was only 20 years old when he trained to become a Combat Medic. He served alongside his comrades, carrying blood, splints and a surgery kit, as well as a .45 Automatic Caliber Pistol. After serving 24 years in the Army where he traveled around the world helping others, Darrell came back home to Stanly County to retire. However, like most service personnel, retiring on a military pension would not be enough to make ends meet.
"I can remember sitting around with my comrades and we would share with each other what we wanted to do with our lives once we got out of the service," recalls Darrell. "One friend wanted to take up culinary and become a chef. I dreamed of becoming a nurse; I believed it was God's calling for me."
Once Darrell got back home from the service and settled in, he found himself procrastinating and could not find the motivation to commit to his dream. Until one morning, he woke-up to see the front page headlines on the Stanly News and Press that read, Extended Enrollment for the Nursing Program at SCC. "I knew God was calling me to get over to SCC and enroll in their nursing program, and that is exactly what I did," he said.In 1995, Darrell finally decided to register for nursing classes at SCC. He recalls walking into the Patterson Building only to be met with curious looks and inquisitive eyes. "I can remember when I arrived at the College to enroll for classes folks were staring at me, whispering, with lots of surprised looks on their faces, simply because I was the first black male to enroll in the nursing program at SCC. No one prepared me for this intense public attention, but the faculty and staff were very supportive and happy to help me get started." Two years later, Darrell would make history and become the first black male to graduate from the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program
at Stanly Community College. He recalls it was a life changing experience for him. "I remember we started the program with 30 students and only 16 of us ended up graduating. I felt confident that I was well trained and had no trouble finding employment right away."
To this day, Darrell continues to help others, whether it is through work, church, sports, or music. He remains in the healthcare field as a Behavioral Health Nurse at Carolinas Healthcare System Stanly. Jan Almond, SCC Coordinator for Nursing Level I, stated, "Darrell was a pleasure to teach. He was an excellent nursing student and was so eager to learn. The patients he cared for always had great comments about his caring attitude and the outstanding nursing care he provided. As a new nursing instructor, he made my job easy!"
Darrell wants nursing students to know that SCC will give you the skills you need to pass the state board exam, and to never give up. "Expect to be well educated, challenged, and engaged," he said. "A career in nursing is very rewarding and life changing."
Everett Darrell Davis, ADN graduate (1997) stands beside his niece, Shani Davis, who is also an ADN graduate (2017) from Stanly Community College, and who is just beginning her nursing career at Carolinas Healthcare System Stanly.