Posted on Feb 17, 2022

USF Health College of Nursing hosts inaugural Day of Trailblazers

USF Health College of Nursing hosts inaugural Day of Trailblazers

The USF Health College of Nursing and Office of Student Affairs proudly awarded a nursing student with the first Culture Coin at the inaugural Day of Trailblazers on February 17, 2022.

The Culture Coin recognizes students for their successes and accomplishments. Director of Student Affairs Tanya Hodges announced Daniela Beatriz Diaz as the college’s culture champion for 2022.

Dr. Catherine Belden and Daniela Beatriz Diaz

Dr. Catherine Belden and Daniela Beatriz Diaz

Beatriz, soon-to-be May 2022 graduate, is a BSN candidate and vice president of the College of Nursing Student Council.

“Ms. Diaz exemplifies and demonstrates the core values of the CON in all that she does as a nursing student and a humanitarian,” said Hodges. “Some of her many contributions include developing mentorship and leadership programs for upper-level nursing students to assist lower-level nursing students in College of Nursing and facilitating outreach and hurricane relief event in Louisiana.”

Diaz’s grandparents are immigrants from Cuba; she credits her Cuban culture and heritage in guiding her nursing education journey and contributing to her passion for healthcare.Loretta Ford presenting virtually

Esteemed guests alumna Candice Saunders ’75 and honorary alumna Dr. Loretta Ford shared memorable moments of their nursing careers and advice to future nurses.

Ford, an internationally renowned nursing leader, started her career in World War II as an army air force nurse. In the 1960s, Ford discovered health care for children and families was severely lacking because of a shortage of primary care physicians.

In 1965, she co-founded the first pediatric nurse practitioner model and training program. By 1972, the program was a national success and Ford developed a unification model of nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. The model combined clinical practice, education and research, ultimately creating a holistic nursing education. In 2011, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Ford encouraged students to continue to build their skills and most importantly, to never lose hope as a nurse. “Have hope,” she said.

Saunders, president and CEO of Wellstar Health System, is a proud alumna of the first USF Health College of Nursing class in 1975. Saunders told students her best learning has been from her failures over the years. “Don’t be afraid to fail or to try new things.”

In her current role, Saunders constantly encourages her nurses to “connect a purpose.”

“Never ever lose the ‘why’ you got into nursing for,” she explained. Early in her career, she discovered her ‘why’ is human connection. “It keeps me going.”

Story by Cassidy Delamarter