A pandemic — who would have thought? This year continues to bring many changes into each of our lives. As I take on the role of president of the UF College of Nursing Alumni Council, it is another change for you and me. It is such an honor, albeit challenging, to follow the superb leadership of Peggy Rodebush. In the midst of great uncertainty and change in our lives, I reach out to you, my fellow Gator Nurses, for your input, guidance and support as we persevere together in the pursuit of our goals of the Alumni Council.
Amid so many changes, our Alumni Council is also still grieving the loss of one of our long-time members in May. Linnea Schramm was a devoted Gator Nurse and served on the council for 20+ years. Linnea was a fervent Gator fan and received all of her degrees from the University of Florida. She was also a former College of Nursing faculty member. Our alumni gatherings will certainly not be the same without her enthusiasm and generous spirit.
Our spring meeting was held virtually in April. It was good to see those who could join. Our virtual pinning celebration for spring graduates was super. We loved all the pictures of our Alumni Council members with their UFCON pins. We’re also looking forward to our virtual celebrations for our August graduates! Our reunion this fall will not happen on campus, as I’m sure you have already guessed. We will have the silent auction in a unique way that promises to be fun, have exciting items and reach more people. Hopefully, we will raise more funds for our Book Awards for first-year BSN students. This is such an important and worthy tradition. We must not let a virus prevent our support of Gator Nursing students! So be on the lookout for announcements surrounding these exciting virtual events for the fall.
A little bit about myself: I came to UF specifically for the nursing program after two years’ studying as a biology major in my home state of South Carolina. I obtained my BSN in 1965 and my MSN (pediatric nurse practitioner specialty) in 1988. I never imagined the many unique opportunities that would come my way. My husband, our three children and I have lived in four cities in Florida. My nursing roles throughout my career have included: public health nursing; nursing faculty member at the University of Miami; Division of Children’s Medical Services nurse; private pediatrics practice ARNP; and the UF College of Medicine as an ARNP, educator and researcher in several divisions/departments. After many years of service, I happily retired in 2016.
I am truly in awe of all of you. We are diverse in gender, ethnicity, nationality, geography and nursing experience – yet we are singularly Gator Nurses! We studied under the leadership of five Deans and multiple faculty members who have continuously built upon the foundation to provide excellence in nursing education and in preparedness for service.
Care, Lead, Inspire. What better time than a pandemic for all of us to do just that? Care by regarding others as ourselves, by treating and comforting, by respecting all equally, by offering truth, by seeking areas of commonality, by observing for need and hurt. Lead by our example of excellence in performance of duties, of messages, of our interactions, of innovations. Inspire by being a part of problem-solving and of the solution, by adopting the old adage — “If it’s to be, it’s up to me” — by remembering that others view us as nurses 24/7, not just when “on the job.”
We are prepared — we’ve got this! I look forward to hearing of your nursing experiences and sharing some of mine. In the meantime, stay safe, Gator Nurses!
BSN 1965, MSN 1988