Dear School of Nursing Community,
I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. We are living in unimaginable times for society and for nursing education. As we celebrate “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” Florence Nightingale’s birthday was to be celebrated in Westminster Abbey at a special service on May 12th, a service for which I had tickets. But, this is not to be.
In some ways, we are acknowledging the heroism of nursing in a different way, by battling a 21st century pandemic -- a pandemic where nurses can make a difference in practice, education and research.
I would like to share a few updates with you about how the School of Nursing is responding to this rapidly changing COVID-19 situation that affects how we deliver nursing care, nursing education and conduct our research. I am deeply grateful for your steadfast support and concern for our faculty, staff, and students, and for the nursing profession as we respond to this pandemic. They make me proud.
During this unprecedented time, stories of selflessness and sacrifice are beginning to surface from the frontline. Our own faculty, some who are being called back to practice, and our alumni are putting the health and wellbeing of patients above their own personal priorities.
School of Nursing COVID-19 Task Force Several weeks ago, we created a task force to address issues of concerns about how COVID-19 might impact nursing education, research, and day-to-day operations. I appointed Professor Dorothy Wiley, who has a strong Public Health background, to lead this effort as well as serve on similar campus-wide and system-wide groups. She has done us proud. Other members of the team are: Sheila Davis, Assistant Dean of Administration, Shelli Shepherd, Director of Student Services, and Laura Perry, Director of Communications.
Students and Faculty Transition to Remote Learning and Testing: With less than 24 hours’ notice, our faculty successfully converted to remote instruction (including final exams), which will continue through the Spring Quarter. Our nursing faculty and IT department have worked around the clock to ensure we continue to provide excellent educational experiences in new and innovative ways to our bachelor's, master's and doctoral students. Our students have been amazingly resilient, many of them more familiar with the tech environment than our faculty! We are working closely with UCLA Health and guidelines from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to follow best practices in our programs.
Commencement: As you may have heard, the entire campus is currently looking at how we will stage this celebration that is so meaningful to the students. The Class of 2020 has worked so hard towards this goal. We will involve students and staff in planning for a ceremony we will conduct in a virtual environment. We also will be considering other options to celebrate in the future, including joining the College for a unique in-person gathering of this special class.
Business Operations We are working remotely, following campus guidelines to limit the number of people on campus in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, using Zoom calls to keep us in touch. This is NOT business as usual. But with flexibility and good humor, we have enacted plans to ensure business continuity during California’s “Safer at Home” and social distancing directives. Nursing is “essential,” so our educational mission moves forward. Most clinical and laboratory research is on pause, which is challenging for our faculty.
Opportunities to Help We have been approached by LA Mayor Garcetti’s office as they are looking for recruiting additional healthcare workers that can be called upon to help with caring for our vulnerable populations if the need arises. If this is something you would be interested in, please visit the Volunteer LA special COVID- 19 site to register.
UCLA Blood & Platelet Center is currently experiencing a critical shortage of donated blood. Click here for more information and to schedule an appointment to donate.
In Closing I encourage all of you to take care of yourselves during these stressful times. I have advised all of our students, faculty and staff to take care of their mental health too. Mindfulness expert Barbara Demman shared this wonderful UCLA resource with Guided Meditations and an App you can download from UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center.
No matter how quickly or slowly this public health crisis ebbs, California and the nation will need trained, educated nurses. We are working with our fellow deans at the University of California, and across the nation to allow for temporary changes in regulations that will expedite graduation for our students during this time of crisis.
I want to acknowledge the faculty and staff for their commitment to the mission of the University, the School and the nursing profession. I have great confidence that we can weather this crisis if we support one another. As we receive requests for volunteer opportunities for our alumni, we will send these forward in our alumni news.
To our nursing alumni, thank you for your service and dedication. To our school of nursing family and supporters, thank you for your continued support
Linda Sarna, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor
Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Chair
If you would like to make a gift to assist the School of Nursing’s efforts to support nursing students and faculty during this pandemic, please visit: School of Nursing COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund