NASXXX10.1177/1942602X15587484NASN School NurseNASN School Nurse
Building Trust Beth Mattey, MSN, RN, NCSN
he 2014-2015 school year is behind us, and for those of us on the east coast, the winter that never gave up finally gave way to tulips and daffodils, much to our relief. The 47th NASN Conference was a huge success, with school nurses gathering from all over the world and convening in the City of Brotherly Love—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The excitement was palpable as school nurses filed into the opening session wearing the regalia of our earned experience—pins and multicolored ribbons below our name tags (Porter, 2014). It is truly a unique experience to network with school nurses from all settings, sharing stories and solutions and listening and learning from experts in our field. If you have not yet attended an NASN conference, put it on your bucket list. Trust me on this one! It is indeed an honor to write this first NASN School Nurse letter as the president of NASN. I am humbled by the leaders who have come before me and established NASN as a leader in school health. I would particularly like to thank our immediate past-president, Carolyn Duff, for her inspiring leadership. Carolyn’s vision for school nursing and the care that school nurses give to children have helped position NASN to lead the transformation of school health. I look forward to continuing the journey. One of my goals as president is to expand our collective voice. We can no longer be comfortable quietly working within a hidden health care system—the school health program. We must be visible, recognized as a
200 NASN School Nurse | July 2015
member of both the health and education teams, and we must be reimbursed by health care funding streams for the care we provide. School nursing care is cost effective; it improves health and educational outcomes for students while decreasing absenteeism and increasing student time in the classroom (Engelke, Swanson, & Guttu, 2014; Lineberry & Ickes, 2014; Wang et al., 2014). School nurses recognize the care and positive outcomes for students as a result of our interventions and yet the public and others often do not realize the benefit to our students as well as the complexity of our role. Research gives us the data we need to demonstrate to stakeholders the outcomes of school nursing care where there is a full-time professional school nurse. I also believe in the power of our stories, the personal connections that make the “data” real, because all school nursing care is personal. It’s personal to the student, it’s personal to the families who entrust their children to our care, and it’s personal to school nurses. NASN wants to help you raise your voice. We have a new toolkit offering templates, ideas, and supporting data to share information with stakeholders. It is available on the NASN website. You will find more information about the toolkit in this issue. Please take a moment to check it out and identify how you can use the resource in your community, using data from your school community and sharing your personal school nurse stories.
NASN •• expanding our collective voice •• helping school nurses to raise their individual voices •• developing and providing a Framework for the 21st Century School Nurse
NASN is also developing a Framework for the 21st Century School Nurse. As a practicing school nurse, I am always looking for practical information that is evidence-based and current. I’ll admit, when I first looked at the Framework, I thought, “Is this something that will sit on the shelf?” However, the more I looked at the information and thought about my role as a school nurse, I realized that my practice today is much more complex than when I started out in school nursing 28 years ago. The ever-increasing health needs of my students and the barriers that many families face in accessing and managing needed health services exert a strong influence on my school nursing practice today. I strive to link health and education outcomes because I know that is best for children, and successful outcomes keep tight budgets from threatening much-needed services. The overview found in this issue states, “Mindful use of the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice fundamentally separates technical from professional school nursing practice, potentially leading to a shift in practice for all school nurses” (NASN, 2015, p. 221).
DOI: 10.1177/1942602X15587484 For reprints and permission queries visit SAGE’s Web site, http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav. Downloaded from nas.sagepub.com at UNIV OF VIRGINIA on June 5, 2016 © 2015 The Author(s)
The Framework captures the many, many important activities I do as a school nurse, and as I talked with other nurses about the Framework, the depth and breadth of our role became even more apparent. It is an understatement when I tell you I am excited about the 21st Century School Nurse Framework! The Framework provides a very rich source of information, not just to help you in your practice, but to share with others the important work you do to keep children healthy, safe, and ready to learn; to quote Kenny Chesney, it’s “the good stuff.” You can read more about the Framework for the 21st Century School Nurse in this issue, and I encourage you to think about what you do every day as you read the descriptions of the key principles and supporting components. As you plan for the upcoming school year, what is it that you want to implement in your school community that is described in the Framework? How
will the Framework help you to raise your voice and demonstrate to your administrators the extent and the outcomes of your practice? On the other hand, is something missing from the Framework that should be included or is something not clear and needs more explanation? Your feedback will be important as we move forward. The Framework for the 21st Century School Nurse does not belong on the shelf; it belongs right in front of you. It is an important tool that gives you support, encouragement, and guidance for all that you do every day. Trust me on this one, too! ■
References Engelke, M., Swanson, M., & Guttu, M. (2014). Process and outcomes of school nurse case management for students with asthma. Journal of School Nursing, 30(3), 196-205. doi:10.1177/1059840513507084 Lineberry, M., & Ickes, M. (2014). The role and impact of school nurses in American elementary schools: A systematic review of the research. Journal of School Nursing, 31(1), 22-33. doi:10.1177/1059840514540940 National Association of School Nurses. (2015). Framework for 21st century school nursing practice. NASN School Nurse, 30(4), 218-231. doi:10.1177/1942602X15589559 Porter, J. (2014). . . . And dare I say, spiritual. Retrieved from http://goaskthenurse .com/2014/06/29/and-dare-i-say-spiritual/ Wang, L., Vernon-Smiley, M., Gapinski, M., Desisto, M., Maughan, E., & Sheets, A. (2014). Cost-benefit study of school nursing services. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, 168(7), 642-648. doi:10.1001/ jamapediatrics.2013.5441
Downloaded from nas.sagepub.com at UNIV OF VIRGINIA on June 5, 2016
July 2015 | NASN School Nurse 201