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PURPOSE: November 2020: Thankfulness during Difficult Times

PURPOSE: November 2020: Thankfulness during Difficult Times

Members of the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing administer COVID-19 anterior swab testing to members of the WVU community at the Rec Center Oct. 8, 2020. (WVU Photo / Brian Persinger)


This year is a year unlike anyone could have anticipated.

It’s been a year of uncertainties and redirection, but it’s also been a year during which countless people have risen to meet the demands of COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, the World Health Assembly (the governing body of the World Health Organization) marked 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse” to acknowledge nurses and their vital position in transforming healthcare around the world.

This year coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the “founder of modern nursing.” Her vision helped transform nursing during the Crimean War as she showed compassion and commitment to patient care for British soldiers.

This year also marks a special occasion here at the WVU Health Sciences Center — it is the 60th anniversary of the School of Nursing. While in-person celebrations have been postponed, it has nonetheless been a formative year for our nursing students on all four WVU School of Nursing campuses.

They have assisted with COVID-19 testing and the administration of flu vaccines. We thank them for stepping up to the challenge to help meet the healthcare needs of our community.

Seeing the pandemic unfold in real time, students have learned the value of preparedness and flexibility — two tenets of a successful nurse. Our students have seen how valuable our frontline workers are and how worthwhile their careers will be.

For many nurses, their career is a calling to a higher purpose. Nurses are healers and caregivers, not only to their patients but to patients’ families, too. The work of nurses can be physically, mentally and emotionally taxing, but it is highly valued and appreciated.

As the holidays approach, let us share how thankful we are for our nurses and our nursing students. We are grateful for all of our Health Sciences community —our healthcare providers and essential workers, our researchers and students, and our faculty and staff.

Please take some time this month to reflect on who and what you’re thankful for. This year has been difficult on many fronts, but a moment of gratitude can highlight what truly matters in life.

As author William Arthur Ward once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Clay Marsh, M.D.
Vice President and Executive Dean
WVU Health Sciences