Participating in NASN conferences changes you. We walk away with a treasure trove of ideas, information, resources, and memories of important and impactful conversations. During a 2017 blogging workshop, our small group had a rich, meaningful dialogue about how to quantify school nursing stories. The theme of telling our story and finding our voices as school nurses had been woven throughout the conference. The next steps may be how do we count the impact of our work, beyond our tasks. How do we capture care in a data-driven world?
Quantifying our best stories, those that illustrate the magic that is School Nursing may be the next generation in data collection. How do I capture the time that I intervened to save the job of an undocumented mother, whose factory worker boss refused to accept her return to work slip because he deemed it fraudulent? How do I quantify the hours it took to convince the employer that the phone number on the return to work slip from the provider was a keystroke error, not a fake note? How do I capture the numerous phone calls back and forth to the provider trying to help this mom, who spoke an obscure Mayan dialect because she came from a remote region in Guatemala where Spanish was not spoken?
This is a true story, with a happy ending. Mom kept her job, the provider revised the note and corrected the hundreds of misprinted labels that had an incorrect office phone number and a school nurse coordinated the pieces. The story is compelling, heartwarming, sad and hopeful at the same time. But does the time spent count? How can it be captured as Care Coordination?
Our true work goes well beyond any tasks that are completed. Yes, we must know how many screenings we have completed, how many referrals were identified, and the outcomes achieved. But the impact of our work is well beyond the tasks and when this is the focus of our mission to keep students safe, healthy and ready to learn, we have succeeded.
Blogging is one way to capture care! I invite the readers of my blog to #ShareYourSchoolNurseStory. We learn from reading each other’s stories. Let’s collaborate on your school nurse story. Send me a brief (400 words) write up, a picture and a bio and I will take care of the rest!