school nurse

The Relentless School Nurse: When the Nurse’s Office is a Refuge

cropped-logo-clip.pngIt was the title, but especially the tagline of an article posted by Harvard University’s “Useable Knowledge” that caught my attention.  The article shared on Twitter was called, When the Nurse’s Office is a Refuge, by Jill Anderson, the tagline was: The vital, overlooked role of school nurses in combatting student anxiety.  I was intrigued enough to click on the article and was delighted to read about the work of Dr. Golda Ginsburg of the University of Connecticut.

Student anxiety is a chronic health condition that school nurses encounter daily. Anxiety is by far the most common reason that school nurses are spending up to 35% of their time on mental health issues. What struck me was that school nurses are recognized as vital, but yet acknowledged as overlooked at the same time.  The irony of that statement reinforced the urgency with which we need to be a unified voice in describing not only our value but the scope of our practice.

“School nurses are often the first point of contact with anxious students. They have a fabulous reach and a role in schools that creates an opportunity to help these kids that’s been untapped.”   –   Dr. Golda Ginsburg

The article has been shared widely on social media.  It provides the background behind a very interesting series of training that Dr. Ginsburg has done with school nurses using the CALM (Child Anxiety Learning Modules) method to recognize and reduce student anxiety.  I was delighted to learn that NASN is involved in this initiative that Dr. Ginsburg is planning on disseminating through videos and training manuals in the near future.  Here is a statement about the project that I found on NASN’s website:

“NASN continues as a member of a development workgroup focused on refining an intervention for school nurses to use to reduce student anxiety called CALM – Child Anxiety Learning Modules. This work is being led by the University of Connecticut Health Center and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and funded by the Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences. The project is approaching the end of its second year. It is currently in the randomized control trial phase, comparing CALM to relaxation. The resources being developed will support evidence-based practice related to childhood anxiety” (Updated 09/07/2016)

Social media is an amazing tool for making connections.  I reached out to Jill Anderson, the author of this informative article.  I shared that the article has been making its way through the school nurse Twittersphere and making an impact.  Jill graciously answered my email inquiry and was very excited to hear that school nurses were reading and sharing her story.  She asked for us to share any additional story ideas about student health.  Please share your ideas by leaving a comment on this blog post and I will be sure to share them with Jill Anderson!

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