It has been a heartbreaking time for UVA.
As nurses and people who support them, we are uniquely positioned to understand the grief traumas like this one stir. We also understand the very human need we all have to lean on and support one another in the wake of violence and as events in our community continue to unfold.
Ours is a community of caregivers. While nothing can prepare us for times like these, we are a family and will move forward as one as we support one another and our extended UVA community. It is just what we nurses do.Dean Marianne Baernholdt
Our hearts break for the three UVA students whose lives were cut short on November 13 as they returned from a school field trip to Washington, D.C.—D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr., and Devin Chandler, three wonderful and promising young men—the two UVA students who were injured and hospitalized, and the families that love them. We also grieve for the suspected shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., also a UVA student, and the family members who love him.
I have heard from so many of you last week and thank each of you for keeping us and our UVA and UVA School of Nursing community in your thoughts and hearts. Your well wishes and support truly matter.Dean Marianne Baernholdt
Our focus has been on the students, many of whom continue to feel (as we all do) frightened, baffled, anxious, violated, and angry— emotions very real and raw.
I have been moved again and again by how we've cared for one another: at a vigil on UVA's storied Lawn that gathered thousands in quiet contemplation; at a breakfast for students with Kenny, the therapy dog, and other canines from the Service Animals of Virginia; with faculty and staff at our traditional Thanksgiving Day luncheon, made even more meaningful by what happened in our community; in intimate virtual spaces and vast ones, including a powerful memorial service at John Paul Jones Arena that gathered thousands.
We repeatedly reminded students that their grades, exams, and clinicals could take a back seat to their well-being by encouraging them to attend specially developed programming from our Inclusion, Diversity, & Excellence Achievement (IDEA) and Compassionate Care Initiatives and seek support through the University's Student Health and Wellness and from one another. Grace and flexibility are and will continue to be the rule as we move into the latter part of our fall semester.
Ours is a community of caregivers. What I’ve observed in the aftermath of this tragedy has repeatedly reminded me of the deep and inherent spirit of compassion—precisely what made me want to return to UVA as dean. And while nothing can prepare us for times like these, we are a family and will move forward as one as we support one another and our extended UVA community. It is just what we nurses do.
I have heard from so many of you and thank each of you for keeping us and our UVA and UVA School of Nursing community in your thoughts and hearts. Your good wishes and support truly matter.
Thank you for reading this issue of VNL.
Marianne Baernholdt, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN
Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor and Dean