Letter from the Dean: Mar, 2021

Dr. Sylvia Brown

Dear Friends,

As we continue navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to share with you some of my observations about the ways in which the College of Nursing community has responded as true nurse leaders.

Over the past few months, we have adapted and marked some momentous occasions in our history—and on your journeys as Pirate Nurses—with virtual events and celebrations. We graduated classes and welcomed new ones. We enjoyed connecting with Pirate Nurses from classes that span decades as we honored a significant anniversary in the life of our college.

Even while some of our curriculum, training, testing and events shifted to virtual delivery, nowhere has the spirit of nursing shone through more than in-person interactions. The special connections that nurses make with patients and others has been front and center. While the world around us has changed and become less personal in the name of safety, the spirit of our profession and your determination to uphold its ideals have overcome those boundaries. Thank you for your commitment to excellence in nursing and education.

In the fall, we marked our 60th year and began our next era with nursing at the forefront of a global pandemic response. So too, have we responded here on campus and in our communities. Students and faculty are playing vital roles in COVID-19 vaccine clinics, using their knowledge and expertise to contribute not only to the efficiency of the events but to the comfort and safety of those receiving vaccinations. As the annual Gallup poll continues to rank nursing as the most honest and ethical profession. Seeing our nurse leaders in action lends credibility to that statistic. Our nurse scientists continue to devote their expertise to topics and ideas focused on improving care and advancing our profession. They are also contributing valuable discoveries to providers’ knowledge base of COVID-19. Their projects and publications lend to the understanding of the care and treatment needed for positive patient outcomes, improves education for nurses who work on the front lines and keeps the public and nursing community informed.

Another notable fact that shows the College of Nursing’s consistent success is that for the third straight semester, our programs have experienced record enrollment—up 7.5% compared to last spring. This shows renewed interest and dedication to a profession called upon now more than ever to make a difference though healing. Our online nursing programs were once again recognized in U.S News and World Report rankings, which you’ll read about in this edition of Pirate Nurse Notes.

In a recommitment to the college’s dialogue and contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion, we are increasing our focus on these important topics. We are updating our strategic plan with a more direct emphasis on nurturing a diverse nursing community and ensuring that we provide a welcoming and inclusive environment. The College of Nursing continued its tradition of celebrating Black History Month with virtual presentations from students and speakers who addressed health care disparities that impact the African American population and reflected on solutions to help correct disparities.

Now more than ever, the call to be nurse leaders is resounding and resolute. I encourage each of you to continue answering that call using your expertise, knowledge and compassion. You are all making a difference, every day.

Warmest regards,

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF Dean & Professor