At the end of 2021, I expressed my intentions to make 2022 the “Year of Wonder.” I have enjoyed sharing blogs and articles about wonder with College of Nursing faculty and staff. Wonder is dynamic because it can be used as both a noun and a verb. As it relates to the College of Nursing, wonder is curiosity. All nurses are curious — about health, people and how to make a difference. Curiosity is one of our college’s core values. And although I do not actually believe in New Year’s resolutions, I have tried to embrace WONDER and marvel about our work to make the world a better place in 2022 and beyond.
At the College of Nursing this year, we have already made strides in making the world a better place. All you have to do is read this issue’s inspirational cover story on Gator Nurse Pascale Bélony and her journey to the Miss Universe contest. Beautiful and intelligent, Bélony has made it her mission to improve global health and is active in volunteering through nonprofit organizations in her native Haiti. What a remarkable young woman.
I was excited for February’s Dorothy M. Smith Nursing Leadership Conference, which marked the 20th year of the conference being established. At first, I could not help but “wonder” how long COVID-19 was going to prevent us from returning to in-person events. We, once again, had to pivot and transition the conference to a virtual format. Although I was disappointed to not see friends and colleagues, it was actually exciting to be able to enable access to even more attendees, nationally and internationally. The theme of the conference was “Artificial Intelligence: Authentic Innovation” or AI2.
I was, however, extremely disappointed that the Dorothy M. Smith Nursing Leadership Special Guests and Awards Dinner was canceled. We decided to still honor the five leadership awards recipients. I hope you will read about them and watch the awards video at gatornurse.nursing.ufl.edu.
At the conference, we were honored to have Gator Nurse Linda Aiken (BSN 1964, MSN 1966) PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN, join us as we announced big news. Dr. Aiken announced the creation of the Linda Harman Aiken Chair, made possible through a significant gift to advance the previous professorship. It is a great privilege for me to hold this position within the College of Nursing, especially now when the nursing profession and Dr. Aiken’s work are having such profound impact on the world.
It seems like I say this every issue, but I look forward to seeing you all in person and the return to “normal.” I hope that you all have the opportunity to meet some of our exemplary students at our reunion this fall, as well as get to know our newest faculty members, like Dr. Angela Starkweather, the inaugural Endowed Chamings Professor.
When I look at our Gator Nurses, it is no wonder the nursing profession has been ranked as the most-trusted profession for 20 consecutive years, according to the most recent Gallup Honesty and Ethics poll. I often remind our students that we are counting on them to maintain the legacy and reputation for professionalism of all nurses. Thanks to all of you for what you do to support Gator Nursing.
Anna M. McDaniel
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Chair