School of Nursing

June 11, 2020

Thank You for an Extraordinary Year

As this academic year draws to a close, I want to take a moment to say “thank you” and to consider all that went right, all that was gained, and all that we—collectively and individually—accomplished.

This year’s accomplishments deserve to be fully recounted and will be highlighted in our annual Year in Review, which will be published at the end of the summer. As you know, this is a comprehensive publication that recognizes each of the remarkable efforts by our faculty, students and staff.

It has been a challenging, demanding time that required everyone to adapt to many things simultaneously. I know that at times it felt as though there were nothing but crises. That’s why it helps to step back and see how much forward progress there was.

As a profession, we gained enormous stature thanks to the heroic response of nurses everywhere. How appropriate that in this, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, so many lives should have been spared through the efforts of nurses who met almost unfathomable challenges as they worked to stem the toll of a pandemic. The Year of the Nurse and Nursing Now initiatives helped focus the spotlight on the role of nurses, especially as leaders and innovators in healthcare.

As a school, US News & World Report ranked us #1 among public and private schools of nursing offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (tied with the Columbia University School of Nursing) and #2 among public schools that offer a master’s degree (tied #6 overall, public and private schools of nursing). This reflects the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students not just this year, but over many years. We have built a legacy of which we can all be proud, and everyone has contributed.

As partners with other faculty, our alumni, and donors we continued to fulfill our promise of service to our community. We cannot lose sight of the fact that this is a public university, and that we are a part of, not apart from, the community. Among our public service initiatives this year, we expanded educational opportunities in rural Washington communities, worked in partnership with public health and healthcare providers to respond to Covid-19 in Seattle and King County, and continued our work to improve access to health systems and implement accessible and novel healthcare strategies globally as well as nationally.

There were honors, grants, and recognition in many forms for many students and faculty this year. Each of these accomplishments is made even more extraordinary because it was achieved under difficult circumstances. But that’s what our profession does—we are exceptional under whatever the prevailing circumstances might be.

This year was a test, and you all passed with honors.

Thank you for all you have done, and especially to our staff and faculty who will continue to work hard over the summer on our Back to School/Back to Work plans, as well as their research.

I wish you all a healthy summer, and that I hope you are able to find time to rest and safely connect with family and friends during this unprecedented time. I look forward to reconnecting with you in the Fall of 2020 as we embark upon a journey into a “new normal”.