HomeMy Nurse InfluencersThe Relentless School Nurse: A new honor

The Relentless School Nurse: A new honor

Author(s): By Robin Cogan

At the very end of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is surrounded by family and friends who joined her on her journey. She realized how each of them played a significant role on her path to find her voice and power. That is exactly how I feel today, as I reflect on my induction as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. I am sitting with profound gratitude for the nurses who saw something in me that I may have not seen in myself and encouraged me to step forward and embrace my leadership potential.  My most sincere appreciation to my sponsors Drs. Patricia D’Antonio and Sue Hassmiller who both opened doors for me I never knew existed.

In the midst of COVID, it is helpful to have something to celebrate. Because of COVID, I was inducted virtually, but I was not alone. Pat D’Antonio graciously hosted an intimate celebration of a small group of dear friends and colleagues who have shepherded me on my journey to become a FAAN. Our gathering began with a Binax Now test, so all who attended were comfortable knowing we were COVID negative. The evening was one I will cherish because I was able to express how each of the nurses had a powerful influence on my life. I celebrated their importance and how they impacted me and the lessons I learned through their work. The most magical part of the evening, was watching how this group of extraordinary nurses had connections to each other that I did not know. Some had graduated nursing school together, but had not known each other. One incredible connection was when two of the nurses, now accomplished nurse academics, realized they had met decades earlier as student and clinical instructor!

We watched the induction festivities together! As part of the ceremony, the in-coming Fellows were asked to submit a brief video that answered one of two questions in twenty seconds; How do you hope your work will shape the public’s health in the future? or 2. What is the greatest lesson you learned during your career? I chose the first, here is my submission:


I am one of 225 Fellows of the class of 2021, joining a small group of school nurse leaders who preceded me in The Academy. My goal is to grow our presence and contribution exponentially.

The newest Fellows represent 38 states, the District of Columbia, and 17 countries. In welcoming these Fellows, the Academy will be comprised of more than 2,900 nursing leaders who are experts in policy, research, administration, practice, and academia who champion health and wellness, locally and globally. – American Academy of Nursing Announces 2021 Class of New Fellows

So the work continues, and my promise is to leave remnants of imposter syndrome behind because as Glinda, The Good Witch reminds all of us:

You are capable of more than you know!

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.

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