Sherlock Holmes book
In a moment of change and oversaturation in COVID-19 news, we asked a few UVA Nursing faculty what they read to distract—or inform—themselves. 

In this new era of change and oversaturation in COVID-19 news, we asked a few UVA Nursing faculty what they read to distract—or inform—themselves. Here is what a few shared.

Theresa Carroll, senior assistant dean, Office of Admissions and Student Services

The Girl Who Smiled Beads, by Clemantine Wamariya

“This is a nonfiction story about a girl who escaped a Rwandan genocide, recommended by my students who went there last spring break. It’s a story of hope, but it’s also a story of survival; maybe that’s a good thing to read right now, because even though this pandemic is affecting everybody, it’s not the first time and won’t be the last time that people have to make great sacrifices. At least this [the coronavirus and COVID-19] is something we can do something about. All Wamariya could do was run.”

Cathy Campbell, associate professor of nursing, palliative care and hospice nurse

Sherlock Holmes stories, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“These were stories I’d read with my father, as a child . . . ‘His Last Bow’ is one of my favorites because it’s such a tender story, and ‘The Adventures of the Blanched Soldier,’ another of my favorites, which is about WWI, has a particular poignancy now, amid COVID-19. We went home for spring break, and thought we were going to be back and see our friends again, but it looks now like we’re not going to see each other for a while.”

Richard Westphal, mental health nurse practitioner and the Woodard Clinical Professor of Nursing

Trauma Nursing

“I’m not doing much reading for pleasure . . . Things that I’m reading now are predominantly copy for different groups doing the Stress First Aid workshops or copy that I’ve already written that I’m trying to refine that’s related to Stress First Aid. I did just write a chapter for Trauma Nursing that is the first manuscript where I’ve focused on the patient and family experience with stress injuries, though. That was satisfying.”

Pam Cipriano, dean and Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing

The Killing Fog, by Jeff Wheeler

“As I’m adjusting to this new reality, I’m reading mostly my normal stuff in time off. For me, that means fiction. I’m currently reading a book from the Grave Kingdom Series on a Kindle I share with my daughter. I think it’s a young adult novel, but it scratches all the itches I have for diversion. It’s a nice distraction.”

Tracy Kelly, pediatric nurse practitioner and director of the Pediatric/Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program

World War Z, by Max Brooks, and Polio: An American Story, by David Oshinsky

“I need to get my head around this pandemic . . .  Maybe I should consider a lighter read????”


Virginia LeBaron, assistant professor and palliative care nurse practitioner 

The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel

“I'm a (very amateur!) medieval English history buff, and had watched a show about Mary Queen of Scots, then the PBS series Wolf Hall, and kept googling to fact-check stuff. The more I read, the more interested I became. I'm fascinated by the role women played; they were primarily pawns in the political and economic aspirations of men, but they still managed to exert significant influence, and many of them drastically altered the course of major historical events.”

Christine Kennedy, associate dean for academics and pediatric nurse practitioner

Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series
“Before this, my go-to reading was mainly historical novels, like those of Sharon Kay Penman and Sara Donati. But if I had to be stranded on an island with books of only one author, it would be Louise Penny’s books on solving psychological mysteries. I can’t wait to get back to some version of normality . . .”

Maureen Metzger, assistant professor

“In the interest of full disclosure, I have not yet transitioned to pleasure reading as I have been struggling to create a new normal for work. Getting caught up on non-academic reading, cleaning out closets, organizing photos, and embracing technology are all on my pandemic to-do list. My office bulletin board is covered with short inspirational quotes, however. . . including one of my favorite poems, ‘The Journey,’ by David Whyte.