COVID-19 care challenges inspire new lectureship

Challenges in health care during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired Paul Gross (M.H.A.’64/HP) and his wife, Veronica, to establish a new lecture series in the VCU School of Nursing. Last year, Gross and his family, many of whom have careers in health care, recognized a troubling strain being placed on nurses during the public health crisis.

“The dynamics of care and the demands placed upon health care providers became day-to-day conversation topics for us,” Gross recalls. “Every day in the papers and on television, we could see and feel the toll the pandemic and the fears associated with it were having on hospital nurses.”

Gross reached out to Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean and the Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing, during the height of the pandemic to discuss what more they could do to support nursing education on the MCV Campus.

“It was apparent that students would need buttressed strengths beyond clinical and scientific skills — emotional resilience, strength in their passion and commitment toward nursing and strength in communication skills to patients, families and their team members,” Gross says.

Paul and Veronica Gross established the Paul A. and Veronica H. Gross Nursing Lecture Series to address the everchanging role and demands of the professional registered nurse and everything that graduates will confront as they enter this new world of professional nursing. 

“We wanted to create a teaching opportunity for senior nursing students featuring skilled and experienced professionals who can offer master classes on those essential traits beyond the scientific course material,” Gross says. “Our hope is that this will contribute to their educational support and help nurses develop the endurance and resilience needed when facing such challenges and demands like the pandemic.”

Gross hopes the series will help the School of Nursing continue to achieve high rankings among institutions of nursing education and continue to meet the professional nursing and educational needs of Virginia and beyond.

“Nursing care is the measuring stick that drives institutional loyalty and maintains quality-of-care ratings,” Gross says. “I hope this lectureship will continue the School of Nursing’s strength in this area for generations.”

A version of this article was previously published by the MCV Foundation.

To learn more about the VCU School of Nursing, contact Pamela Lowe, senior director of development, at