Classes are in full swing and another academic year is underway, an exciting year in which we welcome a new leader: Chancellor Franklin Gilliam Jr. It seemed there was not an empty seat in Aycock Auditorium on convocation day as people flocked to hear Chancellor Gilliam's inspiring first address.
For me, convocation capped off a summer during which a particular event reminded me of something else inspiring—that nursing is the most trusted profession.
One day in the middle of July, a young woman rushed into the School of Nursing building, her sister and friend following closely behind. They had just finished lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.
The group found administrative assistant Portia Moffitt, who quickly recognized that the young woman was in distress. Portia ushered her to Dr. Lynne Lewallen's office, where Lynne and I were meeting. We took one look at the woman and realized that she was in the early phase of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that was rapidly progressing to a full-blown anaphylactic shock. Her breathing was compromised. Her tongue was swollen. She was frantically scratching her arms and legs, which were becoming covered in hives. All three women were beginning to panic.
With few classes going on that day, the building was quiet. As administrators, Lynne and I no longer attend to emergency situations, but that day we immediately jumped into action. Lynne called the campus police, who alerted the EMS, while I sat the young woman down and began a preliminary assessment. Then Lynne turned her attention to the young woman's sister, who was talking to her father on the cell phone. Lynne assured them that help was on the way and everything was going to be okay. We managed the situation until the EMS arrived. Then we became a part of the response team. Lynne set up the IV and I drew up injection medications. Much to our relief, we got the young woman stabilized and the EMTs took her to a local emergency department.
When these young people were looking for help, they knew they could count on the School of Nursing. On any other day, the building would have housed many nursing faculty—ICU nurses, NPs, and certified specialty nurses who routinely attend urgent medical situations. But on that day, during the quiet part of summer, it was up to two nurse administrators to help this young woman. I confess that my nursing skills are a bit rusty. But the education I received as a student at UNCG prepared me for day one—and every day after.
Nurses carry a significant responsibility. Regardless of where we work, whether we are on or off duty, whether have a desk job or practice part time or full time—the public looks to us when they need help. Our mission is simple but critical: to provide exceptional learning experiences that produce nurses who will transform the profession and who are ready to respond to the health care needs of our community.
I look forward to what this new academic year will bring with that mission guiding our way, and I hope you do, too.
Robin E. Remsburg, MSN '82, PhD, FAAN, FGSA, FNGNA
Dean and Professor of the School of Nursing