When the World Health Organization declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the world was unaware of how appropriate that designation would be. One year and a pandemic later, and the health care landscape has forever changed. Nurses are recognized as the invaluable frontline change agents we have always known them to be. For this reason, the World Health Organization and the American Nurses Association have extended the Year of the Nurse and Midwife through 2021 to honor and thank nurses for the role they play in providing equitable access to health.
As civilization continues to grapple with safely moving forward from the pandemic, we understand that delivery of care, groundbreaking research and transformational education must continue to be the focus at the University of Florida College of Nursing. Starting with the Summer B semester, we have returned to normal operations at the university. It has been so refreshing to see people in person again. All of our faculty and staff have returned to the office at the College of Nursing, and our students have been excited for a fully hands-on nursing education.
Although the past year was fraught with challenges, we realize that we have much to be thankful for at the College of Nursing. As you will read about in this issue, our students have excelled in their clinical preparation as well as in innovative research projects that improve the health of our communities. We all continue to be dazzled by our new state-of-the-art Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Innovation and Learning Lab that is used for simulations and skills learning. I am excited that all of you are able to “walk through” the lab’s halls through our new, interactive virtual tour online.
At the UF College of Nursing, we are so proud of our alumni, faculty, students and staff, who have responded to COVID-19 with grace, understanding, flexibility and resiliency. And we are grateful for the unending generosity and support we have received from our many alumni and friends. We hope that you are all able to join us in person for our Gator Nursing Reunion Weekend on Sept. 25 for the Tennessee football game. The theme of reunion — “Year of the Nurse: Celebrating Gator Nurse Heroes” — could not be more appropriate right now. I look forward to celebrating all of you and how you Care, Lead and Inspire.
Anna M. McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor