Nightingale Podcast Series celebrates innovative nurses, inspires future health care visionaries

Florence Nightingale sculpture
This sculpture of nursing visionary Florence Nightingale stands near the School of Nursing to light the way for future students. It is a gift of Alexander B. Hamilton and UT Health San Antonio nursing Professor Kathleen Stevens, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN.

The UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing is presenting a podcast series beginning today that features interviews with international, national and local nursing leaders.

The Nightingale Podcast Series is named for Florence Nightingale, a health care visionary who contributed to the development of the modern-day nursing profession. Her 100th birthday was celebrated in 2020 in conjunction with The Year of the Nurse.

“Nightingale and many notable diverse leaders in nursing share a common purpose with our UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing that we observe even today in our patient-centric missions, our vision and values that reflect our commitment to the underserved and underrepresented,” said Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing.

Dr. Breslin asked diversity, equity and inclusion expert Chiquita Collins, PhD, MA, to host the Nightingale series because the podcasts will highlight the achievements of notable and famous figures in nursing history who inspire the growing diversity among nurses and other health professionals.

Dr. Collins is associate vice president for inclusive excellence and health equity at UT Health San Antonio. She also serves as vice dean for inclusion and diversity and chief diversity officer in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. Nationally, Dr. Collins is chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Diversity and Inclusion.

In this podcast series, Dr. Collins will interview nurse leaders who bring to life these historical figures and connect their trailblazing ideas with priorities that are relevant in modern-day nursing, medicine and health professions.

Three episodes

The first episode of the podcast, available now on this School of Nursing webpage, features Lynn McDonald, PhD, professor emerita of sociology at the University of Guelph in Canada and a former member of the Canadian Parliament. Dr. McDonald has written extensively on the impact of women thinkers in the 18th and 19th centuries and is a leading expert on Nightingale as director of The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale. McDonald’s papers on Nightingale include 16 volumes of Nightingale’s books and other writings, including previously unpublished correspondence, which were gathered from more than 200 archives worldwide.

Episode 2, expected to be released in late December, focuses on Norma Martinez Rogers, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor emeritus of nursing at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Rogers is a staunch advocate for health equity for all, particularly among underserved and marginalized communities, where health disparities are disproportionately prevalent. She is founder and leader of the Cultural Inclusion Institute, an annual conference that focuses on racial and social justice for the most vulnerable in society, including those affected by human trafficking, child abuse and domestic violence.

The third episode will also be released in late December. This episode will feature Vernell DeWitty, PhD, MBA, RN, a transformational leader who serves as director for diversity of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In this post, she advises the nation’s top academic nursing leaders on building consensus and a strategic approach to diversity and inclusion. A 2014 recipient of the Mary Mahoney Award, Dr. DeWitty’s career has encompassed nursing education, practice and health care administration. She previously served as director of the Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, a collaboration with the AACN, where she created and implemented strategies and resources that contributed to the academic success of underrepresented and disadvantaged students in nursing schools located in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition to the Nightingale Podcast Series, a nine-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Nightingale was installed near the School of Nursing on Nov. 19. The sculpture was commissioned by Alexander B. Hamilton and School of Nursing Professor Kathleen Stevens, EdD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, to celebrate the accomplishments of Nightingale and to honor and legacy of Stevens’ family in nursing. Texas Western artist Rick McCumber from Huntsville created the sculpture. A ceremony to dedicate this gift to the School of Nursing will be held Feb. 4.

“We are very appreciative of this gift to the School of Nursing, which will welcome our students to the school and inspire them to be innovators like Nightingale and other notable nurse leaders who have made a lasting impact on nursing and health care,” Dr. Breslin said.

Watch the podcast series and learn more about the history of visionary nurses here.

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