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An Extended Year of Celebration and Impact

As with nearly everything related to 2020, the Year of the Nurse & Midwife celebration did not go according to plan. But with every challenge the Penn Nursing community has faced during the pandemic, we have risen to the occasion—and the same can be said about the Year of the Nurse & Midwife. As we wrap up our expanded celebration of nurses and midwives and the role each of us plays in improving public health, it is clear that while many of our planned in-person events had to be transitioned to virtual events, many more dynamic projects bubbled to the surface that have made the Year of the Nurse & Midwife far more meaningful and impactful.

I was so inspired recently to hear about the progress made on student Year of the Nurse & Midwife initiatives—students working directly with Philadelphia schools, appearing on career panels, developing videos and TikToks, and preparing information to be distributed, all in the name of educating local high school students about nursing as a career option. Because of these students and the spirit of this very special year, Penn Nursing is a vital part of influencing a new generation of nurses that come from right here in our own backyard. Initiatives like this one will shape the nursing workforce, bringing more diverse voices to our ranks, for years to come.

Thank you for helping us recognize the Year of the Nurse & Midwife in 2020 and the first half of 2021—and I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Penn Medicine, who supported our efforts. It has indeed been a time to advocate, celebrate, and elevate nursing—oftentimes in ways we never expected. We bring the Year of the Nurse & Midwife to a close in the same way we opened it: understanding that what we do at Penn Nursing influences global health and wellness and embracing the pride of our important work. My own takeaway: nursing should be elevated, celebrated, and advocated for every single day.


Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing
University of Pennsylvania
School of Nursing