A distinguished career in nursing has taken School of Nursing Alumna of the Year Robin Dail around the globe. Currently the associate dean for Faculty Affairs and a professor at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, Dail’s research helped revolutionize the field of neonatal care. And it all started at UNLV.
Her research on thermal care for preterm infants has helped improve the health of newborns all over the world. Dail’s research has revolutionized neonatal care, and she’s presented that research both nationally and as far away as Ireland, France, Australia, and Rwanda. Her work has been incorporated into the American Academy of Pediatrics’ best practices, and it has been recognized by the Council of Advancement of Nursing Science.
After earning her associates of nursing degree from UNLV in 1981, Dail quickly became one of the country’s leading research nurses. She received a master’s degree in nursing from East Carolina University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She went on to serve as a registered nurse before taking up the mantle of educator, teaching at Chapel Hill and later Duke University.
Dail has earned numerous awards and accolades throughout her remarkable career. She was named a Galaxo Scholar in 2003; a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar from 2010 to 2013, an Amy V. Cockcroft Leadership Fellow from 2016 to 2017, and an American Academy of Nursing Fellow in 2014. She also earned a March of Dimes graduate nursing scholarship in 2004, and last year was awarded a staggering $2.8 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Nursing Research.
While her work as a researcher and educator occupies much of her time, Dail remains committed to paying it forward, most notably as the current councilor-at-large for the Council of Advancement of Nursing Science. Dail is a member of numerous organizations, including the Southern Nursing Research Society, Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, and the National League of Nurses.
What moment or experience during your time at UNLV had the most profound impact on your life and career?
As a young nursing student, I spent a day observing infants in the neonatal intensive care unit at Sunrise Hospital. It was a day that forever changed my life. Watching nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians working together as a team to care for Las Vegas’ most fragile citizens — premature infants struggling to live — that was the moment I knew I would pursue a career in neonatal nursing. And I have done just that, devoting my entire working life to this extremely important field.
But that’s not all that defines me, as I’m not your typical mom, grandma, or academic. For instance, I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, circumvented Iceland on a motorcycle, hiked the Alps, and scuba-dived off the Cayman Islands more than 50 times. I’ve also flown in helicopters to transport premature babies, been a National Institute of Health researcher and an associate dean of faculty. Like a true Rebel, I’m a diverse human being who loves and appreciates diversity in others. And my hope is to someday live in a world where everyone understands, values, and respects the differences in others.