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Nursing the World to Health

Dear friends and Colleagues: When we started planning for the issue of Penn Nursing magazine that you now hold in your hands, the world was a very different place.

Dear friends and Colleagues: When we started planning for the issue of Penn Nursing magazine that you now hold in your hands, the world was a very different place. As we face our changed reality— perhaps serving on the frontlines as health care providers under heightened circumstances; working, learning, or instructing in virtual environment; or following stay-at-home restrictions— one thing is certain: the content within this magazine predominantly reflects a pre-global pandemic world. Let it serve as a reminder that Penn Nursing, now the #1 ranked nursing school in the world for the fifth consecutive year, is continuing to educate the future leaders in nursing and produce cutting edge research— exactly the kind of nurses and nurse-scientists we need during times such as these.

Beyond what you’ll read about in the magazine, Penn Nursing’s vision for current and emerging issues that will influence the field of nursing and health care is clear: innovation—in research, education, and practice—is the central tenet of everything we do. From providing students and faculty with funding and mentorship for early stage entrepreneurial product ideas to serving as experts to the media on social distancing during the current COVID-19 outbreak, our School is at the forefront of developing leaders, no matter the next evolution in health. This issue highlights the impact of our students, faculty, and alums—and I hope you are filled with as much pride as I am in reading about their journeys and their passion.

Another tenet central to Penn Nursing is health equity. It seems prescient now that Penn Nursing has been so involved in making sure everyone is counted in the upcoming U.S. census— as our article about the census indicates, an accurate count is essential to guide federal funding for a range of health-related programming, and it is our responsibility to ensure public health needs are met. We are seeing in real-time the varying needs of different communities during this pandemic—and what happens when those needs go unmet or are underestimated. I am proud of Penn Nursing’s role in the census this year. It speaks to our commitment to social justice and better health for all people, and it will pay dividends during future health crises.

The World Health Organization declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse & Midwife long before COVID-19 emerged. This initiative marks the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, but it also highlights the role of nurses and midwives in, essentially, nursing the world to health. As it turns out, we have more reason than ever to advocate for nurses and midwives this year, and to celebrate and elevate the work they do. Nurses and midwives around the world are in harm’s way as they care for COVID-19 patients and others. They are in labs and in boardrooms and in Congress, coming up with solutions.

As G.J. Melendez-Torres, one of the alums profiled in this issue, says, “Now more than ever, I am proud to be a nurse: proud of my colleagues at the bedside and in the clinic, on the frontlines of public health and policy, and working to mobilize the research knowledge we need.” I hope you will join all of us at Penn Nursing as we celebrate the Year of the Nurse & Midwife—and as we honor nurses everywhere.