September 2021

Dear Gator Nurses,

I want to begin by congratulating all of our new BSN Class of 2023, as well as Accelerated BSN Class of 2022 students. With the start of a new school year, we are excited to accomplish new goals and experiences within the many College of Nursing student organizations. If you have not yet been involved with the college's University of Florida Student Nursing Association (UFSNA), Nursing College Council (NCC) or Nurses Leading Change (NLC) student organizations, now is your time to join! We have a ton of new opportunities this upcoming year for pre-nursing and nursing students. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.

Look out for an email announcing our first general body meeting for fall 2021! I am excited to meet all of you and remember, GO GATOR NURSING!!!!


Alexis Bouters

UFSNA President


Senior Send-off

Hello, Gator Nurses!

Congratulations on being admitted into this prestigious program. Each of you will bring many unique skills and talents, drawing from many diverse backgrounds. As a father of two children, an Army veteran and a former insurance broker with an economics degree, did I feel I fit in with my classmates? Maybe not — though I never doubted for one second that I belonged — and neither should you.

I say that because there will be many challenges ahead. Things will turn out poorly despite your best efforts. Moments where you look in the mirror and ask, “what happened” or “what am I doing?” In those moments of darkness where voices of doubt seem to crowd out everything, just remember that you do have what it takes and that I believe in you even if you don’t believe in yourself.

Don’t forget about your classmates! Work together and help one another! You are allowed to collaborate on many assignments. Something tedious for one person becomes much less so when divided into four or five pieces. You will learn so much about teamwork and how to study your course material from your classmates. Pay it forward by offering to help when possible. You will be amazed by offers of assistance when you need it the most.

Enjoy your time here. You will learn from renowned and caring faculty, as well as clinical staff at the top hospital in the state. Should you desire, you can even begin your nursing career here. I am so grateful for this incredible opportunity afforded to me.

Again, congratulations! I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to meeting you in clinicals. 

-Peter Chen (ABSN 2021)


I want to start off by saying congratulations incoming Gator Nurses!

What an amazing accomplishment already. I remember being in your shoes what seems like just a couple weeks ago. The time goes by extremely fast! With that being said, information comes at you fast. Nursing school is not easy, but remember, you’re not alone. Reach out to your peers, professors and advisors in times of uncertainty for support.

Need help with study techniques? With nursing concepts? With unexpected life challenges? The College of Nursing is full of wonderful people who are there to help you every step of the way. If you feel comfortable taking on more than you already are, get involved in the various clubs and programs offered by the college to connect with others who share similar goals. Clinicals are intimidating at first, but never give up that golden opportunity to perform a skill— you’ll regret it! It’s all a learning experience.

I encourage you all to take time for yourself every day. Exercise, eat healthy and surround yourself with people who make you happy. Don’t forget to relax when you can! Nursing school can be greatly demanding and intensely overwhelming at times, but remember, the journey begins with small steps.

The work you put in is worth it. Sooner than you know you’ll be sitting at your pinning ceremony thinking “where did the time go?” just as I was. My last piece of advice to you is to stay organized, study hard, make memories and be kind.

Good luck! Believe in yourself, because I believe in each and every one of you! 

-Kayla Vigliotti (ABSN 2021; DNP 2025)


Summer Reflection

I spent my summer working as a medical assistant in an outpatient plastic surgeon’s office in New York. This was my third summer working in the office and I enjoyed every second of it! My job was to help the surgical technician set up the operating room before surgery and clean the room after the surgery is completed. I also helped the physician assistant with recovery care, clean used instruments after surgeries and file patient charts.

I had many opportunities to observe surgeries such as rhinoplasty, breast reduction and augmentations and non-surgical treatments such as dermal filler and Botox injections. This experience for the past three years has enhanced my knowledge of patient care and interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

-Carsen Schmid (BSN 2022)

This summer, I had the privilege to work as a professional nursing assistant at Duke University Hospital on a pulmonary stepdown unit. I worked alongside my nurse preceptor during the entirety of the 10-week program and words cannot describe how grateful I was to be a part of their amazing team! This clinical partnership strengthened my awareness of the overall nursing scope of practice and enhanced my critical thinking skills. I gained valuable experience with intubated patients, tracheostomy care and positive airway pressure therapy.

I truly believe that this experience helped me expand upon what I think is one of the most crucial elements to becoming a nurse: Learning how to work well in stressful situations while remaining calm and having the ability to improve someone’s quality of life. Although I watched and participated in numerous rapid responses on our floor, I look forward to gaining the knowledge needed become a leader in these types of high-pressure circumstances.

I am extremely appreciative for the inspiring nursing staff who opened my eyes to different aspects of nursing I never thought I’d love. I will be forever thankful for the relationships that I have gained this summer and the knowledge I acquired from this experience!

-Jenna Enten (BSN 2022)


Kudos Corner

Submitted by UFNSA

We love to see our Gator Nurses engaging in research!

Grace Kuenzli, Gator Nursing senior, participated in a 10-week research summer program at the University of Rochester Strong Children’s Research Center. Her research focused on the preventable causes of acquired subglottic stenosis, a condition where parts of the trachea become narrow and inflamed, among newborns and pediatric patients in ICU.

Data collection started at the end of June, which meant Grace only six weeks to collect data for the research. She and the research team performed data analysis of e-records for newborns who had endotracheal intubation after surgeries to examine what caused them to develop subglottic stenosis. Grace shared that the role and specialty of the operator has a massive influence on whether the patient develops subglottic stenosis. Other factors such as the size of the tube, underlying diseases and the type of tube used in the trachea also are important factors. More research is needed to narrow down the actual cause.

Overall, Grace expressed her gratitude for this research opportunity and all the valuable experiences she gained while having a fun time!


Student News

Submitted by NLC

Nurses Leading Change is excited to take on the new academic year with numerous diversity and educational initiatives in the works. Currently, we are continuing our work with the homeless community in Gainesville. One project approved and forthcoming is resourceful bags to hand out to the homeless community with educational pamphlets. Nurses Leading Change plans to take on language barriers in the health care field by teaming with the Equal Access Clinic to create easy translation handouts from English to Spanish with commonly used phrases and medical terms. This year, the organization is also forming many new committees to tackle health disparities and social issues in different forms. For each general body meeting, we will have a theme on completing our purpose of decreasing health disparities. We are eager to provide important and informational meetings that will educate the future field of nurses into becoming the best versions of themselves and making healthcare personalized to all populations.

As the executive board continues planning for the year, we are thrilled with the progress we have made to expand Nurses Leading Change’s impact in both the College of Nursing, as well as the Gainesville and Jacksonville communities.


Student Spotlight: Gator Nursing Students ‘Think Like a Scientist’ to Support Community Organizations

Gator Nursing faculty members feel that the accomplishments of their students are the winds of change. For what would likely be their first deep dive into implementing research, her BSN students were tasked with creating quality improvement projects that would benefit their communities. Assigned one of 26 community providers ranging from local schools to the Florida Department of Health, students worked directly with each agency to identify a problem, create a solution based on the evidence and implement their innovation in a “real-world” environment. Read more


Question Time

Prizes will be awarded to the first five students who email Dr. Karen Aul with the correct answer to the following trivia question!

"Which character in the movie Despicable Me is on the office door of Ken Foote, academic adviser, in the Office of Student Services?"



College of Nursing Colleagues,

As summer comes to an end, I wish to take this opportunity to welcome you all back to campus. This school year marks a special start for us. From this point forward, we will now learn alongside our classmates, connect with faculty and begin anew. Congratulations to you all, it truly is an honor for you all to be a part of the College of Nursing!

Stay updated on UFSNA and NCC news by following our shared Facebook!


Francisco Sheno

NCC President



Sept. 5: EMBRACE program applications due

Sept. 6: Labor Day

Sept. 7: Flu Shots (In HPNP Reception Hall)

Sept. 11: Alachua County Heart Walk 

Sept. 21: HeartBeat Newsletter submissions due


If you have information for The HeartBeat newsletter, send it to one of the CON's student organizations!

Nurses Leading Change: Jessica Mesa, President

University of Florida Student Nursing Association: Reyna Cuales, Vice president

Nursing College Council: Francisco Sheno, President


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