May 9-15, 2003
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Graduation 2003

Ann Gill Taylor Professor honored for research to combat pain

By Katherine Thompson Jackson

Caring. Comfort. Touch.

For Ann Gill Taylor these words describe the foundation for practicing complementary and alternative nursing.

The soft-spoken Taylor gently waves her hands back and forth as she discusses the importance of caring. Rising, she pulls one tissue from its container, dots a runaway tear from her eye, and continues.

“Bedside nurses provide care and comfort in spite of painful conditions. Sometimes the nature of the work causes patients discomfort.”

Caring enough to restore a measure of comfort to patients is what has compelled Taylor to study alternative therapies to combat chronic pain.

Nurses manage pain and anxiety. That makes them valuable resources for providing alternative methods of care, said Taylor. By managing pain, they are attempting to fill an important gap in health care.

Taylor cares that Americans are spending millions of dollars a year on alternative medicines. Patients and families should be informed about the nature and efficacy of these treatments, she said.

In 1995, Taylor spearheaded work on U.Va.’s Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, the culmination of a career-long effort. She has been called an exemplary leader, superb scientist and mentor.

Over the past four decades, she has shown tremendous leadership and achievement in teaching, research and service. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She was honored with the 2003 Distinguished Nurse Award, which recognizes innovative and visionary nursing leadership locally, nationally and internationally. The Beta Kappa Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing honored Taylor, who is the Betty Norman Norris Professor of Nursing, at a banquet on May 2 in the Rotunda.

“There is nothing better than recognition and respect from peers and students for work being done to honor supporters, nothing better,” said Taylor.

On the nursing faculty since 1968, Taylor directs the center that she helped establish. Her duties involve cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on complementary methods for patient care.

The work is rewarding, said Taylor, because of “people’s response ... to the fact that we are exploring and enhancing their comfort.”

“Often they’ll say, ‘We can’t believe you care enough to do this for us.’”


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