One Year Later | COVID-19

Dear Gator Nurses,

In January 2020, we were excited for the recognition and opportunities made possible through the World Health Organization’s designation of The Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

A little over one year ago, we looked forward to celebrating our accomplishments together and further advancing our college and the nursing profession.

Exactly one year ago, the world was turned upside-down when the COVID-19 pandemic barged into our lives. And although many of our plans were shifted, at the University of Florida College of Nursing, we are proud that the pandemic did not put a stop to our celebrations and advancements. In fact, nurses — who, as you know, make up a long-trusted profession — rose to the forefront of respect and admiration for their dedication and bravery in providing care on the frontlines. We are proud to be a part of the University of Florida and the UF Health system, and I invite you to visit the UF reflections and timeline to see how far we’ve all come.

And the battle continues to require our attention, knowledge and skill. As the COVID-19 vaccination continues to become more available, nurses are again being praised for their work in administering the shot of hope. Our Gator Nursing faculty and students have volunteered thousands of hours at vaccination clinics and will continue to do so until the final vaccine is distributed.

The past year has allowed me time to reflect on what is most important to me. As the leader of the best College of Nursing in the country, I am so grateful for our alumni, students, faculty, staff and clinical partners. My hope for all UF Nursing graduates is that they see every encounter with a patient as a learning opportunity. Every individual is unique, and it is a privilege to engage in a caring relationship that affects the nurse, as well as the patient. Each interaction adds to a nurse’s expertise if one is open to seeking the lesson that person has to show — about oneself and about nursing.

Over the last year, I have also thought a lot about the phrase, “Things happen for a reason.” I have never been comfortable with this saying because I have never believed that there was some mystical purpose behind suffering and tragedy. As a young nurse, I worked in the intensive care unit, and I was witness to unspeakably heartbreaking situations that defy any reason. I believe — and am more certain than ever — that “Things happen, and then there is a reason.” A reason to … work, love, learn, strive, comfort, persist, sacrifice, build, teach, grow, evolve, thrive. What are your reasons?

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the first patient in Gainesville, I want you to know how grateful I am to all of you for your perseverance and understanding as we have faced this situation together. And please know this — YOU ARE MY REASON.


Anna McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor
UF College of Nursing