It's been an exhilarating week in Charlottesville,
one that has reaffirmed my choice to return to UVA as the seventh dean of its School of Nursing. From my new office, I can see the gleam of our close neighbor, UVA Health, and observe the synergy it offers. My mentor always said that people come to hospitals for nursing care, but it’s clear today that nurses are integral across the many places where we do our work around the world: in government, as part of advocacy organizations, at tech companies, design firms, in remote village clinics, and board rooms. Ours is a big, wide, possibility-filled world.
I’ve often heard people laud nurses as “connective tissue,” the gap-filling forces that link people in need to the systems set up to help. Now in year three of a pandemic, though, it’s clear that nurses’ work doesn’t lie at the seams but is at the very core of our aspiration to be a healthy, well-functioning, equitable, and diverse society. Today, we nurses are more listened to, visible, and needed than perhaps we’ve ever been before.
We must wear our nursing proudly and out loud: not on the sidelines, in the cracks, or as gap-fillers, but at the head of the surging, steaming, sometimes rowdy crowd: pushing, patient, purposeful, and prevailing.Dean Marianne Baernholdt
That makes ours an important moment. Teaming—distinct from teams, which are interdependent but still-distinct groups of people with some shared goal—must become our new North Star: learning to identify and assemble essential collaborators who quickly get up to speed to get important things done. And what the Institute for Healthcare Improvement once hailed as its triple aim—improving population health, enhancing the care experience, and reducing costs—must expand to encompass the tenets of health equity and clinician well-being, becoming our collective quintuple aim.
Nurses are truly in lockstep with humanity’s march forward. From my new vantage in Charlottesville—which, this week will mark the five-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally of August 11 and 12, 2017—it’s apparent to me that we must wear our nursing proudly and out loud: not on the sidelines, in the cracks, or as gap fillers, but at the head of the surging, steaming, sometimes rowdy crowd: pushing, patient, purposeful, and prevailing.
I hope you enjoy this issue of VNL.