The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated unprecedented challenges globally, nationally and, specially, for the nursing profession. I know many of you are on the front lines caring for patients and having a transformative impact on the health of the nation. I want to personally thank you for all that you are doing during this time.
This spring, we took precautionary measures to protect the health of faculty, staff, students and the public. For students, this meant moving classes to an online format and beginning virtual clinicals. The college continued the delivery of courses via the online format for summer (A and C) courses. Our college is working to provide the highest-quality online education through our exemplary faculty and technology platforms.
Faculty and staff worked remotely, which began early on before the Alachua County shelter-in-place order took effect, to follow physical distancing protocols and reduce the chances of virus exposure. Our college’s nurse-managed primary care practice, UF Health Archer Family Health Care, remained open and continued to see patients. Providers and clinical staff took precautions to triage patients over the phone who displayed symptoms of COVID-19 or were in contact with someone who had been diagnosed.
Unfortunately, we had to postpone several spring events, including our Research Summit, BSN Pinning and Recognition Ceremony, Alumni Council meeting and Commencement. The university has plans to reschedule commencement, and we also considered special ways to uplift our outstanding spring graduates, including via a video message and social media.
This spring, our country also faced another challenge during the social unrest caused by the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Our hearts are heavy and we cannot ignore what has happened and continues to happen across our nation, as so many people have been affected by actions motivated by racism and violence. It is difficult to watch our country so divided by hatred. Yet it serves as a powerful reminder that we, nurses, still must work together to promote equity and social justice in America.
As a community who strives to care, lead and inspire we must express our core values of diversity, respect and courage in our thoughts and actions. In the College of Nursing we don’t have a place for any kind of “ism,” including racism.
To close, please know that in the College of Nursing, we are striving to include everyone, to give each individual a sense of belonging. Although we are employing physical distance, we do not accept social distance. At this time “we see you, we hear you and we grieve with you.” And we also want to thank all those who have been involved in direct or indirect coronavirus testing, patient care or relief efforts. Please consider emailing Jessica Clayton, associate director of advancement, so that we may share your story of selflessness that you possess in the name of health care. As nurses, we are known to put others first, but we need to remember to take care of ourselves as well. So please, remember to stay calm and safe during these trying times. Thank you for selflessly serving others and continuing to Care, Lead and Inspire.
Anna M. McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor