Message to the VUSN community regarding the Derek Chauvin verdicts

The murder of George Floyd last spring impacted many of us deeply. His death, and the deaths of so many people of color at the hands of police, brought to the forefront much-needed discussions of racism, injustice, violence and privilege. Yesterday’s conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on all counts for Mr. Floyd’s death doesn’t bring those discussions—nor the need for action—to an end.

As long as police react with deadly force against Black people, as long as Black men, women and children fear interaction with police officers, and as long as Black mothers and fathers must have ‘the talk’ with their children, our society will need to address race and racism.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing is committed to addressing and fighting against racism and for diversity, equity and inclusion in our society, school, communities, workplaces and health care systems.

If you read the very thoughtful statement from Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, Provost Susan Wente and Vice Chancellor Dr. André Churchwell concerning the verdicts, you will see that they have confirmed Vanderbilt’s commitment to working for a more just future, bringing positive societal change, and identifying solutions against racial injustice.

As nurses, we are called to care for patients—and I add, each other—equally, without consideration of race, socio-economic background or ideologies. Nurses believe in equality and the well-being of all people regardless of differences. That is who nurses are. That is who we are. Along with other members of the Vanderbilt community, we are committed to civility, respect for others, inclusion and diversity.

That is just one of many reasons why, as Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, we also commit to working for a just future, societal change and racial justice.

As always, the faculty and staff at VUSN are available to help with any concerns or support you need. Reach out to Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Tamika Hudson or Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Rolanda Johnson, or take advantage of the many services and programs Vanderbilt offers for discussion, support and assistance, including the University Counseling CenterBishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Student Center for Social Justice and Identity and the Employee Assistance Program.

Best regards,

Linda D. Norman, RN, DSN, FAAN
Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing