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We Are Nurses!

By: Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN

School nurse Jenna Palmisano posted this YouTube video to comfort her students and other children who may be confused or fearful of personal protective equipment (PPE). Jenna was gracious enough to share her innovative and engaging video with all of us!  Great job Jenna, you bring fresh, creative, energy to your school nursing practice! Your future is bright and your school community is very fortunate to have you caring for the students and staff.


Read Jenna’s story about creating her wonderful video:

During periods of uncertainty, I find myself wanting to create. Whether this is crafting decorations for my home, making a shirt for my dogs, or simply doing my makeup, creating anything brings me a sense of calm.

Being a new grad from Dominican University and a new school nurse, the current events brought on even more uncertainty. This included the health of my students and what I wanted my new role to be in my career path. I decided that I wanted to lean back on what I’ve done all along while bringing a sense of connection, education, and a little bit of fun.

And so, I made all of the personal protective equipment, or PPE (unfortunately, the hospitals can’t even get the real deal), grabbed my sister as my cameraman, and started filming.

With the current events leaving children confused and not knowing what will come next, I thought it would be helpful to create a medium that represents the different types of healthcare workers they may (hopefully never have to!) run into.

More specifically, highlighting what PPE looks like. Now more than ever, the media is showing our students what PPE is but left without an explanation–Why are they wearing that, and why does it scare me? Do I trust those people?

During my clinical rotations, I’ve seen kids cower at people in scrubs, let alone all dolled up in the necessary equipment. This video briefly explains that although these people look scary, they are there to help you. Underneath, it’s a person just like Nurse Jenna!

Another goal was to spark a conversation with my students about ALL types of healthcare workers, what they look like, and how they help keep you healthy. Someone described the video to me as “demystifying” PPE, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I’m overall just happy my ideas translated well into this form of media. I’ve always loved teaching– one of the main reasons why I became a school nurse. The current events prove that all forms of healthcare workers are important, whether they be on the frontlines or acting as advocates. And I am honored to be a part of the process of healing for children in the unique way of providing knowledge and lessening the feeling of the unknown.

Bio: My name is Jenna Palmisano and I am 23 years old. I graduated with my BSN from Dominican University in May of 2019. I began my career as a pediatric home health nurse part-time and followed my passion for school nursing full time in December of 2019.

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.

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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