The Year of the Nurse

June 30, 2020

Four days before the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, students graduating from the Wegmans School of Nursing gathered together—virtually. Using computers, phones, and tablets to connect, they logged on to Zoom to recite the Nightingale Pledge, an oath inspired by the nursing pioneer that espouses the values and ethics of a professional nurse, which is an annual tradition carried out by the School of Nursing to welcome the newest Fisher Nurses to the profession.

Collage of Fisher nursing alumni professional headshots

Many credit Nightingale as the founder of modern nursing. So it’s no surprise that, in honor of her milestone birthday and recognition of her influence on the field, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

It is also, of course, the year when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe. The coincidence is not lost on School of Nursing alumna Kristin Opett ’97 who noted there has never been a more fitting time to highlight the impact of nurses in society.

“It’s ironic that it’s the Year of the Nurse, because never has the profession meant so much,” said Opett.

As hospitals adjusted to treat the growing number of patients in intensive care units and on ventilators, nurses and other health care professionals learned to navigate the sea change while trying to protect themselves from acquiring the new respiratory illness as well.

“If anyone needs to see a real-life superhero, find a nurse, and say thank you,” Opett said. “Without our nurses, we would have lost so many more lives to this disease. They are saving lives, saving families, and saving communities. I think that this will shape the future of the nursing profession.”

And, as always, at the forefront of shaping the profession’s future will be the Wegmans School of Nursing. The largest enroller of nursing and mental health counseling students in the region, the School consistently achieves rankings as a top program locally and nationally. Students enrolled in the baccalaureate degree program benefit from the expertise of the School’s faculty, strong partnerships in the local and regional community, and international clinical experiences, as well as the opportunity to learn in the cutting-edge Glover-Crask Simulation Center.

Dr. Christine Boev, who serves as co-chair of the undergraduate nursing program, said that the “Fisher Nurse” has created a singular reputation.

“Students enter the workforce not just with the ability to be a good nurse, but the compassion and empathy required of good communicators and good leaders,” she said. “Our holistic, patient-centered approach to care makes our graduates desirable to employers, not just in Rochester, but across Western New York and beyond.”

In acknowledgment of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Collegium is highlighting alumni who, in their own unique ways, embody what it means to be a “Fisher Nurse.”

Nurturing the Profession - Kristin Opett ’97

Protecting the Public - Shane Gurnee ’12

A Heart for Healthcare - Kayla Goodberlet ’14 and Justin Plata ’14

Focusing on the Front Lines - Meredith Bailey ’07

Advocacy for Patients - Celia McIntosh ’11, ’15

Motivated to Care - Lindsey Michaud ’17