University of Maryland nursing pioneers honored for their impact on communities

BALTIMORE — On Monday, the University of Maryland School of Nursing announced expansion plans and honored two of its nursing pioneers who made the changes possible.

Remembering the past while honoring the future was the mission for the expansion of the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Yolanda Ogbolu, who is an associate professor, said it is a day she will stay by her side forever.

“It was so exciting to be there and to see two visionary pioneers honored and to have their names sketched on our building is a memory I will treasure forever. Honoring amazing visionary black leaders. Nurses who have focused on social justice, health equity and truly improving care for the underserved,” Ogbolu said.

It’s what nurses Esther McCready and Shirley Nathan-Pulliam embodied.

As such, they were both honored in a ceremony to announce that their names will be engraved on the building as part of this new expansion.

“I think it’s especially nice, especially as a Black woman, to see other Black women who have paved the way. Other black nurses who have shown us how to work on issues that are very important to the black communities we serve,” Ogbolu said.

Issues such as health inequalities are common in minority communities.

“Whether it’s maternal mortality, infant mortality or high blood pressure, these are problems that affect people of color more than any other race,” Ogbolu said.

Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam has worked on these issues for more than 30 years of her life, developing policies and programs to help those affected.

Jane Kirshling, the dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Maryland, said the school where Nathan-Pulliam got her start now honors the work she and Esther McCready completed, which also has implications for future nursing students will.

“It’s truly an important part of our history to recognize these two phenomenal graduates who are opening doors for generations of nurses of color to enter the profession and transform the lives of the people they serve,” Kirshling said.

Kirshling said she wants other nursing students to know that their individual actions can be just as effective if they are persistent.

“Your actions can make a similar difference as Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Esther McCready. So keep pushing for equality, keep advocating for health justice issues, just stay in the present moment to advocate for all the people of Maryland,” Kirshling said.


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