School of Nursing professor Vickie Southall poses with UVA rotunda in background
Southall, an award-winning educator, discovered confidence as a professor. "You can still be a leader even if you're a quiet person," she said.

Vickie Southall (MSN ’85) is the longest-serving faculty member at the School, but she is constantly finding new ways to teach her students.

"You can still be a leader even if you’re a quiet person.”

Vickie Southall, assistant professor and community health nurse

This semester, Southall took her students to Serenity Farm, an equine sanctuary in Louisa, Va., that works with children with special needs and mental illnesses. “I don’t know much about horses, so it was just fascinating to hear how children with certain issues will gravitate to horses with the same issues to help overcome trauma,” she said.

An assistant professor of pediatrics and public health, Southall has introduced generations of nursing students to Louisa where she lives with her husband, a family physician. “It’s kind of a win-win situation,” she said of embedding students in the community for clinical experiences. “We’re doing things the community wants and needs, and the students get to do meaningful work.”

Last year, she helped train UVA nursing students to administer COVID vaccines. And each week, she picks up an order of vaccines from the Blue Ridge Health Department, puts them on ice, and drives them home to Louisa where they are administered through family practices.

When Southall was a nursing student, she didn’t consider herself to be a leader. “I didn’t feel like I was assertive enough,” she said. “But I came to realize it’s more about being an advocate. My favorite part of teaching is finding the talents that each of my students have and playing to their strengths. You can still be a leader even if you’re a quiet person.”

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Advice to future nurse leaders: I’m a news junkie. I get two daily newspapers, read various websites and apps, and listen to the news on the radio. Nursing leaders have got to be informed in healthcare policy to be able to change the things that they want to change.

  • Tanya Thomas, clinical instructor and co-creator of UVA Health's COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies infusion clinic
  • Vickie Southall, award-winning assistant professor and veteran community health and pediatric nurse
  • Debra Barksdale, dean,  UNC Greensboro School of Nursing, mentor, and nurse scientist
  • Ashley Apple, assistant professor, pediatric nurse practitioner, and the Virginia Nurses Association's commissioner on government relations
  • David Simmons, clinical instructor and senior clinician, UVA Health Department of Nephrology, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, trustee
  • Becky Compton, UPG's chief clinical officer and Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners' president
  • Dawn Adams, Virginia State Delegate and nurse practitioner