The Year of the Nurse and Midwife was not like we imagined, and to say that 2020 has been difficult would be an understatement. COVID-19 plagued us all physically, mentally and financially. We had events and celebrations planned that had to be canceled. Instead, nurses as a collective did what we do best: We buckled down and when the world needed a champion, we became that champion. With the battle against COVID-19 still raging, now we also answer the call to become champions for social and racial justice. Social unrest has led to sleepless nights for many of us, but at the University of Florida, we have taken a personal and professional pledge to foster an environment that supports individuals and values diversity, inclusion and equity.
Within the college, we ask ourselves, “How can we make a difference? How can we serve as examples of change agents for anti-racism?” At the College of Nursing, “Care, Lead, Inspire” are not just pretty words we use as our motto; they are words we live by every day. As you see in this issue’s cover story, we are devoted to diversity and inclusion throughout our three missions of teaching, research and clinical practice.
But it is not enough to simply say we value diversity and inclusion. That is why we have also formed a Social Justice Steering Committee composed of students, faculty and staff, who will recommend systemic changes we can make at the college level that then branches out to the community, state, nation and world. At each opportunity, we have invited special guests and experts to share their experiences and offer insight to how we, as nurses, can make the world a better place. During our annual BSN Convocation this fall, Mary Magee Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN, LSSYB, FAAN, and LaRon Nelson, PhD, RN, FNP, FNAP, FAAN, discussed their challenges and successes as Black nursing leaders. They offered advice on how our students can take roles in the community and at the bedside to be allies and offer a voice to the voiceless.
Every week for the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we have been featuring Gator Nurses on our social media channels who embody our principles of “Care, Lead, Inspire.” I encourage you to visit the complete list on our website. I know you will be as inspired as I have been learning about how our Gator Nursing alumni, faculty and students are making a difference in their respective areas.
I ask you: What are you doing to make the world a better place? We hope to hear about the great work being done by all of our alumni and friends. Please share your news and stories with us online. Together, we can make a difference through this journey of discovery, acceptance and advocacy.
Anna M. McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor