It has taken a pandemic to understand the importance of school nurses

Author(s): Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN

After learning about The Woodhull Study Revisited, which revealed the alarming lack of nurses voices as primary sources for health related news stories, I started collecting  news headlines about school nursing.  Unfortunately, they typically included bandaids and icepacks as descriptors in the title. My, how these headlines have changed!  While I am relieved that it is no longer the case, I can’t help but think, “did it really have to take a pandemic to understand the importance and value of having a school nurse in every building every day?”

Here is a collection of news stories from the past few months. It did take a pandemic, but here we are. Let’s keep the momentum going in terms of school nursing using our voices to speak out about the urgency, necessity and role we play in keeping our students and staff healthy and safe.

Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 19th year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. She serves on several national boards including The American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM), a gun violence prevention research non-profit organization and the National Board of Certification for School Nurses (NBCSN). Robin is the Legislative Chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association (NJSSNA). She is proud to be a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow and past Program Mentor.

She has been recognized in her home state of New Jersey and nationally for her community-based initiative called “The Community Café: A Conversation That Matters.” Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include 2019 National Association of School Nurses (NASN) President’s Award; 2018 NCSN School Nurse of the Year; 2017 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year; and the New Jersey Department of Health 2017 Population Health Hero Award. Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Certificate Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty.

Robin writes a weekly blog called The Relentless School Nurse. You can also follow her on Twitter at @RobinCogan.

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