My Nurse InfluencersThe Relentless School Nurse

The Relentless School Nurse: Battered, But Still Standing

By: By Robin Cogan

I came across this parking sign while visiting a Rutgers University school nursing student in her practicum. It was encouraging to see a parking space reserved for the school nurse, but it was weathered and worn, much like the way many of us are feeling. As we enter our third school year impacted by COVID, the exhaustion is real and the concern is building. While many of us have had space to regroup and recharge over the summer, that feeling is short-lived as we face the beginning of school.

Finding strategies to boost our resolve to face the challenges that are looming will help strengthen our resilience. What can we do to support our own wellbeing? The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has a wealth of open access resources that are helpful and actionable. They break down self-care practices into three parts:

As Glennon Doyle says, “we can do hard things.” We have proven this over and over again. The coming school year will be challenging, but our skills, determination and resolve will prevail. It is a privilege to connect with school nurses across the country. We need to maintain those connections now more than ever. Please reach out, let me know how you are doing and what topics may be of interest for upcoming blog posts. As always, my goal is to amplify the voice of school nursing, which includes your stories.

Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 20th 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.

The views and opinions expressed by My Nurse Influencer contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.

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