dean sarna

This magazine was originally supposed to come out in Spring of this year, as a print edition. We had the stories drafted and the images selected. We had a few more pages to put together, and then we could start the process of printing. But when Spring came, it brought with it a global pandemic that changed our lives in a myriad of ways, including nursing education. What this year has proven, if nothing else, is that when a public health crisis emerges, we need to be ready. I’m extremely proud the team at the School of Nursing was ready and resilient.

For the past year, we have celebrated the courage and bravery of nurses as the pandemic created unexpected tests of strength and character. This was a year that the World Health Organization had declared as “The Year of the Nurse.” I am honored to be a part of a profession that has provided healing and compassionate care to so many at such a vulnerable time. Many of our own Bruin alums were on the frontlines.

The School of Nursing has stepped up to these new challenges as well: developing solutions to difficulties presented by this pandemic in educating the next generation of nurses, leaders, and scholars. We completed our once-a-decade accreditation visit completely virtually (and even produced a welcome video for the accreditation team). We received accreditation for our new Doctor of Nursing Practice program reviewed in February, before the pandemic hit. We’ve been able to continue remote learning since March for all of our programs — while continuing onsite skills labs to prepare our students for practice. We’ve installed a new community advisory board, and welcomed a new alumni board, all with Zoom meetings.

The activities of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council have continued in earnest. In this transformed environment, we’ve facilitated virtual discussions and have created digital experiences to replace in-person interactions, as we faced painful realities at the intersection of social injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year we welcomed a staggeringly talented new class of undergraduate and graduate students. We welcomed back Bruins who will be, undoubtedly, leaders in the nursing profession and health care industry. We celebrated distinguished alumni and staff excellence. We continue to build our science as our research was “ramped down” and now “ramped up.”

I hope you enjoy this virtual issue of the magazine: in it, you will find inspiring stories about students discovering the impact neighborhoods have on health; and a teaching kitchen that allows students to explore the link between food and health. Of course, there are also plenty of stories about our amazing faculty, alumni and donors.

These might be challenging times, but with the support of many, we remain Bruin Strong.

Linda Sarna, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Endowed Chair