Dean’s Message — Winter 2021

Dear alumni, friends and supporters,

Dean Linda Norman headshotIt has been a year since we first heard about the novel coronavirus and saw the early cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. Few would have predicted the changes, hardship, challenges and grief that were to come in the months ahead. Today, although vaccines have been developed and people are being vaccinated, COVID-19 continues to dominate our lives and those of people everywhere. Several of the features in this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse are about alumni in the fight against COVID. Our cover story, “In the Thick of It,” takes us to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, where a School of Nursing alumna and a School of Medicine alumna work together to help one of the nation’s hardest hit populations.

Our other main feature steps inside Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital’s COVID unit and introduces us to the dedicated nurse practitioners and other health care professionals caring for what one called the sickest patients of her career. The story also highlights the interprofessional team responsible for the hospital’s COVID response. In what is the first of what we hope will be many successful collaborations, that article was also published in the latest Vanderbilt Magazine. Our third COVID article features Dr. Sheila Ridner taking on the challenges of conducting research in a pandemic.

Research is also featured in our annual “Making an Impact” section. It contains a list of current funding awarded to the school, a faculty and student publication and honor section, and new faculty announcements. Professor Julie Barroso is one of those new faculty; we have an article about her and why she has made it her life’s work to help persons living with HIV.

This issue of Vanderbilt Nurse reflects a change due to the pandemic. The winter 2021 magazine will not be printed and mailed. Instead, we will distribute it digitally, and send story links via our monthly VUSNews newsletter. Be assured that it is just this winter issue—look for the printed spring Vanderbilt Nurse in your mailbox in June.

Lastly, as you may have heard, I have announced that I am stepping down as dean as of June 30. I have been dean for eight years and at Vanderbilt 30 years, and feel this is the right time. The university is conducting a comprehensive search for a new dean and I look forward to the school’s next chapter. This is not my last issue of Vanderbilt Nurse, however, so you will hear from me again before I step down.

Best regards,

Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN
Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing