Known as Tony, Charles Anthony Smith shares his years of nursing expertise with not one but two Atlanta-area universities. Smith serves as chair for the Georgia State University Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions’ board of advisors and teaches and coordinates the R.N. to B.S.N. degree program at Mercer University’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing.
When a previous dean of the Lewis College approached him about joining the advisory board, Smith didn’t hesitate. His university experience built respect and loyalty in Smith, and he felt it was time to repay Georgia State.
“I saw the opportunity to be of service to my alma mater and, at the same time, to be of assistance to students who were pursuing their education at Georgia State,” said Smith. “It is very rewarding to be able to give back to an institution that helped me in so many ways along my own professional journey!”
Smith, an orthopedic specialist, spent much of his nursing career in the hospital setting at Piedmont Hospital. He received his nursing diploma there and began work as a staff nurse. Smith returned to school to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing from Georgia State, all while moving up the ranks at Piedmont to nursing director and eventually, executive director of nursing for inpatient acute care services.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Smith added teaching to his career when he became a clinical instructor. Twenty-five years later, Smith left the hospital setting to teach full-time at Mercer University. Due to his many years of nursing experience, Smith was an ideal teacher to guide registered nurses through the bachelor’s degree bridge program, helping them increase their professional knowledge and skills for new career opportunities.
“I was able to have the best of both worlds in nursing. While I was able to have a long and well-loved career in the acute care hospital, I kept my hand in nursing education,” said Smith. “I have always loved working with nursing students in the clinical setting, so I count myself very fortunate to have been able to meld practice and academia together.”
Smith focuses his research on matters close to the heart of a bedside nurse. He studies patient safety, presenteeism and nurse fatigue, all critical issues facing nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has received several awards and honors, including Nurse Leader of the Year given by Piedmont Hospital and the Excellence in Mentoring Award presented by the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing.
Smith is a Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society member and received his Ph.D. in nursing from Mercer University.