A message from Dean Patricia D. Hurn

Over the last year, we have faced new challenges and many different kinds of hardships. Yet these difficult moments have also allowed us to create new opportunities, further our resolve to educate nursing's leaders and best and accomplish our scholarship even in the cold grip of the pandemic.

We are emerging stronger, increasingly focused on advancing nursing’s impact on the health of all who need us. The future of our institution still shines bright, and our school is in a strong position.

I have been privileged to work alongside a community of compassionate faculty, students, staff and supporters who live our values every day. We have navigated new circumstances together, guided by these values, our commitment to science and evidence and the drive to create new ways to provide safe care to many. We have learned to appreciate many kinds of achievements, small and great.

Our community has worked extremely well under some of the toughest circumstances we have ever encountered. Our students are a credit to the school, to nursing and to American and global health care. I’m proud of every one of you for a carrying out a public health-informed fall term. And I’m fully aware of all the sometimes herculean efforts needed to protect yourselves and those around you.

Many things have been difficult, slow, tiring or uncertain. Our faculty has stepped up in every conceivable way, completely committed to our students, our patients and our research. Likewise, our staff members have worked tirelessly to support every facet of our school’s success. Simply put, we could not be working harder or accomplishing more.

Our mission will continue without fail and with safety and achievement in the winter of 2021. We will adapt to new uncertainties and capitalize on promising opportunities to guide the return to a sense of normalcy and a better future.

The introduction of COVID-19 vaccines moves us into a new phase of the pandemic. Thousands of vaccines have been administered by Michigan Medicine to date, covering our faculty and students and a variety of our school's essential workers. I view the COVID-19 vaccines as the light in our winter tunnel ahead; I also recognize and respect that not all may see it as I do. I’m grateful to the many faculty members who have shared their vaccination experiences and provide so much encouragement for us all.  The recent expansion to larger Phase 1A and 1B groups is an important step in immunizing our community. Nevertheless, winter term will still be stamped with continued public health-informed measures, remote work for many, and the protection of those who are unable to work and study remotely. The vaccine breakthroughs and our continued diligence will help the world reach a safer future, so let us look forward to better days, but tempered with great care.

In closing, I remind us that nurses know unpredictability. Resourcefulness and innovation are in our DNA. We know how to adapt, and we know how to pull together. While the world has changed in many ways, the need for highly educated nurses remains, and the need for nursing leadership grows every day. No matter the obstacles, the University of Michigan School of Nursing remains immutable at its core, committed to integrity, inclusiveness and accomplishment. One of the final lessons of the pandemic will be that our world needs nurses. And I say that we need Michigan Nurses.

My deepest gratitude and respect to all of those who made it possible for us to continue our mission this past year. Thank you for your dedication to our school and to our profession. I am confident that great things await us in the year ahead, and I look forward to sharing in those successes together every day.

Patricia D. Hurn
Dean and Professor
University of Michigan School of Nursing