Stephen CavanaghDean Stephen J. Cavanagh

Happy National Nurses Week! If there was any question as to the wonderful contributions of nurses, the past two years has certainly answered that. Throughout the pandemic, nurses — those on the frontlines, those conducting research and those advocating for change — have been more visible than ever.

One month into the pandemic, some reflections were published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. “As nurses, we have the knowledge and skills to deliver the care needed in all phases of the illness trajectory, and in reassuring, informing and supporting people within communities who are frightened, worried and wanting to stay well,” the authors stated. “As we have seen throughout history, nurses are well able to think outside the box, and develop creative and innovative solutions to all manner of problems, conundrums and challenges.”

We here at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing are fortunate to go beyond the contributions of nurses. Our physician assistant graduates make an impact across the street and across the state. Our nursing science researchers innovate in ways we seek to understand the challenges of family caregivers in a myriad of circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated issues that have long been a source of health care inequities and the mental health struggles for Californians. I’m proud of our work in both of these areas as we strive for optimal health for all.

We applaud all of these contributions. And I thank you for all that you do to educate, inspire, mentor and support our education, clinical and research missions. We have an important — and growing — role in UC Davis Health. Our new strategic plan ensures that we leverage the many opportunities for collaboration and contribution.

This year, the International Council of Nurses chose a theme that resonates deeply with me — Nurses: A Voice to Lead. Our mission, since the school’s founding, centers around leadership. Together, we lead innovative research, education and practice.  Our school prepares leaders who advance health, transform health care and ignite bold system change locally, nationally and globally.

Now we look toward next month’s Academic Symposium, Commencement and welcoming our new cohorts — P.A, MEPN and inaugural DNP students —beginning this summer and into fall.  I’m reminded of how much we’ve accomplished and our path ahead. We continue to innovate, build and develop leadership potential in all our students. We maintain our commitment to patient- and family-centered care in our clinical practice. We remain focused on integrating nursing science research with evidence-based practice. And, we are steadfast in our resolve to becoming an indispensable partner within UC Davis Health.

So glad to have you along this Nurses Week as well as the other 358 days of the year.