School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: “Keeping Kids Healthy and Learning is What We Do Best”

 Sue Scalgione  and Dr. Cynthia Samuel

Update 10/16/19 – Yesterday, these two powerful school nurses met in real life at the NJAAP School Health Conference for the first time. They recognized each other from the PSA that NJEA released in 2018 to coincide with School Nurse Day!

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) spotlighted the work of school nurses in their Spring 2018 Pride in Public Education ad campaign! The campaign featured two NJEA members, Dr. Cynthia Samuel and Sue Scalgione in a fast-paced ad that mirrors the frenetic pace of most health offices! It was a widely viewed campaign that ran for six weeks on television, radio and online platforms in both English and Spanish. The campaign highlights the role of school nurses in keeping our students healthy and ready to learn.  Dr. Cynthia Samuel shares her experience and reflections about participating in the campaign in this week’s blog post!

NJEA created an extended version of the Pride in Education Ad Campaign that can be viewed here, along with the original 30-second ad:

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 5.19.55 AM     Cynthia Samuel, Ph.D., RN

“Being a School Nurse is a lot more than fixing scraped knees!”  I thank Judy Woop for the opportunity to represent school nurses in the NJEA commercial that aired this spring on television, radio, cable, and social media.  This commercial wasn’t about me, the commercial recognized all New Jersey school nurses, and the hard work, diverse, and multi-faceted roles we play in students’ academic success. 

 NJEA was absolutely wonderful and gracious in shooting the ad:  they showed up bright and early on April 9, 2018, and concluded the shoot around 5PM that evening.  The experience was one I shall not ever forget.  I felt so special and honored being a New Jersey school nurse.  Television careers are not as glamorous and elegant as one may think:  shooting a commercial is grueling, time-consuming, and takes immense patience.  A commercial is never one and done.  Countless retakes are the norm in creating perfection for the television audience to see.  NJEA got it right featuring school nurses, and how significant we are in the lives of our students.  The roles we play are critical in their lives.  We are student/community advocates, resource banks, counselors, and shoulders to cry on when no one else understands or listens.

It is heartwarming to hear people say, “I saw you on TV!” or “I heard you on Pandora!”  What means most to me is hearing people say, “I’m so glad seeing NJEA acknowledge nurses for the hard work they do on a daily basis.  As school nurses, we do the difficult and challenging everyday business as usual.  To do the impossible, however, takes a collaborative effort from us all.  – Dr. Cynthia Samuel

Professional bio:  Dr. Cynthia Elizabeth Samuel is the senior school nurse in the Irvington Board of Education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She went on to receive a Master of Science in Health Administration, and a certificate in School Nursing from Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University).  Cynthia also received a certificate in Administration and Supervision and her doctorate in Health Sciences from Seton Hall University.

Dr. Cynthia Samuel has held a number of nursing positions, but for the last 32 years, the focus of her career has been on caring for and educating school-aged children from pre-kindergarten through 5th grade and their families. As a school nurse at the Grove Street Elementary School in the Irvington Public School District, Dr. Cynthia Samuel administers direct care to the ill or injured child, teaches children and parents strategies for health promotion, consults with teachers to promote healthy learning environments, coordinates and conducts in-service education programs for her colleagues, and meets with administrators and the Superintendent to help shape nursing policies in schools, and at the district level. Cynthia’s nursing practice reflects NASN’s 21st century School Nurse Framework that creates an overarching structure including concepts integral to the complex clinical specialty practice of school nursing.  Cynthia is an avid advocate for nursing and creates a climate to influence students to select a career in nursing.

Dr. Cynthia Samuel shares her expertise in publications and presentations on school nursing practice: The school nurse’s role: Why we need school-based clinics in urban communities, Financing school-based health clinics, and School nursing practice: Transformation through health care reform, to name a few. Her publications align with the 21st-century school nurse framework providing guidance for the practicing school nurse to reach the goal of supporting student health and academic success by contributing to a healthy and safe school environment. You can reach Dr. Samuel through her email:

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