Notes from the Dean's Desk


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Name: Marie Ann Marino, EdD, RN, FAAN
Position: Dean and Professor, Jefferson College of Nursing

Not Yet Back to Normal

Our high hopes at summer’s beginning that the season’s end would bring a back-to-normal environment soon were dashed as COVID-19 cases surged again thanks to the Delta variant and continuing lags in vaccination rates across the country. In-person classes and some other campus activities did return, but other gatherings had to be cancelled or pared-back. Masks again were part of daily attire for everyone while indoors. Uncertainty seemed here to stay.

Thomas Jefferson University required all students returning to campus for the Fall semester to have proof of full vaccination. And, online students were required to follow the vaccination requirements of their host sites for clinical or experiential rotations.

To safeguard the health and wellbeing of patients, students, employees, and the communities we serve, Thomas Jefferson University also mandated COVID-19 vaccination for all employees and medical staff in clinical environments, as well as academic faculty and staff.

The vaccination mandates and other rules were rooted in science. Our commitment to sound public health practices befitting an institution that prepares healthcare professionals for their careers and provides care to those in need.

For sure, maintaining such vigilance has been a burden on all of us. Beyond the daily impact in the classroom, residential hall, or healthcare setting, it forced us to scale back graduation ceremonies, drastically limit the College of Nursing’s 130th anniversary observances, and otherwise operate without the close personal contact all of us thrive upon. But it has been absolutely vital to protecting public health over the past 18 months, and some measure of restrictions are likely to remain for months to come.

At the same time, the pandemic has reinforced the importance of working together to improve the preparation of nurses and their work, throughout their careers, to serve patients and help create a healthier future for all.

As we move through the 2021-2022 academic year, we remain committed to our central goals of

  • Advancing nursing excellence at all entries of practice
  • Strengthening our partnerships with the our community and beyond
  • Developing joint strategies with our Jefferson Health partners
  • Supporting faculty and student innovation to serve a changing world.

That commitment was in place long before anyone heard of COVID-19 and will remain at the core of what Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Nursing is, and aspires to be, long after the pandemic has passed.