Frontline worker gesturing a heart symbol

Dean Frazier's Message Honoring National Nurses Week

Dear Columbia Nursing Community,

Today marks the beginning of National Nurses Week. Of course we observe that noteworthy occasion every year, but it has particular meaning at Columbia Nursing in 2022, since this year marks our 130th anniversary as one of the country’s preeminent schools of nursing. And, as it happens, both our school and our profession have much to celebrate!

To start with, 2022 is the 20th year in a row that nursing was ranked by the Gallup organization first on the basis of honesty and ethics among all professions. Every single nurse in their own way has contributed to that shining reputation for the profession we all serve. And a notable symbol of the nationwide esteem now being accorded to nursing is the fact that later today I will have the honor—on behalf of all of you!—of ringing the closing bell on the floor of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. The fact that an enterprise as consequential as Nasdaq has seen fit not only to pay homage to National Nurses Week, but to do so in Columbia Nursing’s name, should be a considerable point of pride for each and every one of you!  

You also can all take enormous pride in the resilience and courage and commitment you’ve shown during the past two years as nurses everywhere, including many of our faculty and students, have been on the front lines fighting COVID, while simultaneously adapting every aspect of our operation to pandemic precautions. And then adapting again. And then moving gradually back toward a semblance of normality. Flexibility has always been a hallmark of a good nurse, and you have all shown unimaginable flexibility over the past two years.

In addition, we need to salute the progress we’ve made—while we recommit to making continued progress—in facing and dismantling structural racism. The work of recognizing and rooting out practices founded on bias is not easy, for they are deeply embedded in our society’s mores. But it is essential work, for these ingrained biases result in inequities in the delivery of health care and health education: realms that are very much our domain.

Finally, National Nurses Week gives us cause to celebrate this special institution that is our professional “home.” From our school’s seminal emphasis on nursing research, to our role in paving the way for advanced practice nursing education, to our establishment of the nation’s first independent primary care practice run by nurse practitioners, to our leadership in the social justice and health equity sphere, Columbia Nursing has had a major impact on our beloved profession.

So as the nation marks National Nurses Week—I celebrate each and every one of you and your role in making Columbia Nursing what it is. With our first in-person graduation since the pandemic coming up soon, the future looks very bright indeed.

I could not be more proud to be your dean!

Dean Frazier

Lorraine Frazier, RN, PhD, FAAN
Dean and Mary O’Neil Mundinger Professor
Senior Vice President, Columbia University Irving Medical Center