January 20, 2021
It’s a new day.
With a new national administration, we can nurture hope for an agenda that places an emphasis on and access to health (mental and physical) and health care. This emphasis, by default, places nursing and nursing research at the front and center more than ever before. In addition to nurses in the ICUs and at hospital bedsides, the nation looks to our profession to provide care at every level in our communities – from schools to assisted living facilities to rural clinics. Our school is poised to meet this challenge, guided by our mission to educating future nurse leaders and researchers and our shared vision to improve health and health care through innovation, education, and practice. Everyday our faculty, researchers, students, and staff are making steady progress toward our goal for ensuring inclusive, equitable health care for all.
As we look to our nation’s capitol on this historic day, we should keep our hopes high and our expectations reasonable. The incoming president has a lot on his plate. Everything we might wish for may not happen at once.
What we can look forward to immediately is a coherent plan for dealing with the pandemic through a coordinated vaccination effort. The prevailing approach has resulted in confusion, inequity, poor use of resources, a low vaccination rate, and a great deal of anxiety for those who feel themselves most vulnerable to the virus. President Biden’s direction to federal health agencies indicate that rapid distribution and the creation of immunizations sites are at the top of his to-do list, and I think we’ll see a change of action very quickly. And, as we’ve seen in King County where our nursing students and faculty have been working tirelessly for the past few weeks in the vaccination efforts of healthcare workers, nurses will play a critical role in the successful roll out of these plans.
The pandemic has expanded the cracks that have always existed in health care and revealed, in stark relief, the enormous disparities in our healthcare system. BIPOC communities are transmitting and dying from COVID at a far higher rate than the rest of the population. There are multiple social and economic determinants at work, and nurses must continue to lead the efforts to confront and address these inequities
As President Biden said today, “With unity, we can do great things.” I believe his call for unity and his commitment to all Americans will move us in a direction that once again makes the health of all the people a priority. I call upon our profession to rise to the occasion and help this new administration achieve this tremendous task.