Dear Gator Nurses,
Although 2020 was designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, none of us could anticipate how appropriate that designation would be, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although last year was fraught with challenges for all of us, we remained optimistic at the University of Florida College of Nursing. I am proud of our many accomplishments and the opportunities we seized.
The Bright Side of 2020
When the country mandated stay-at-home orders in the spring, our faculty and students quickly jumped into action to transition to a completely virtual format. In essence, undergraduate students did everything they would have done in the actual clinical environment but more purposefully and with greater oversight. Surprisingly, a deeper understanding evolved of each student’s preparedness for the role of professional nurse. This was made apparent when 100% of the BSN students who took the National Council Licensure Examination before June 30 passed.
Ten of our faculty members demonstrated their expertise in nursing education as a specialty area of practice through the National League for Nursing’s Certified Nursing Educator. Now, nearly 50% of all clinical faculty members in the college hold this esteemed certification.
Not every achievement, however, is cause for a celebration. After the horrific death of George Floyd and the social unrest experienced by our country, the College of Nursing formed a Social Justice Steering Committee with members from the faculty, staff and nursing student body. The steering committee is focusing on a framework that includes awareness, building capacity and actions in order to prepare nurses who will be equipped to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination in the health care system.
Looking Ahead to 2021
We are very excited to debut the college’s brand new, completely renovated Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Innovation and Learning Laboratory at the Iona M. Pettengill Nursing Resource Center. This spring, our students will make full use of the new space, complete with the latest in clinical simulation and video-capture debriefing technology, practical skills labs, patient care rooms for use with programmable mannikins, and other key education and practice areas.
To prioritize health and safety, we are being very intentional and have undergone extensive planning for the return of students on campus, which was implemented in the fall and expanded this spring. Our faculty will deliver experiential learning activities (patient care, simulation and skills training) in person, observing physical distancing restrictions and wearing face coverings at all times. The college will use a blended model for face-to-face and distance-learning classes, which will allow our nursing students the optimum opportunity to prepare as professional nurses and scientists.
We look forward to sharing more news and
achievements with you, and we ask that you will do the same. Please inform us
of any updates you have had in
your professional career. It is my sincere hope that we are able to, once
again, see one another in person, safely and soon.
Best wishes for a
healthy, successful year!
Anna M. McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor
UF College of Nursing