School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Notes from the 2018 ACEs Conference

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I am sharing the notes I took during the ACEs Conference because this snapshot of the collective wisdom of this event is meant to be shared. I urge my colleagues and readers of this blog to learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and join in this work. Please reach out to me if you have questions or want ideas about where to begin. Once you begin to delve in the science of this work, a spark will be lit and you will see the world through a much different lens. One of social justice, prevention, equity, and advocacy. Our children’s future depends on a collective energy igniting a dramatic shift in how we define health and well-being.

  • ACEs is a social justice issue
  • We do this work because it is personal
  • We are building the ship as we are sailing it
  • Manage through trust rather than control
  • We live what we know – we have to change that paradigm if it is an adversity lens
  • Build a culture of love, hope and caring
  • Read “More Than a Bird” by Liz Huntley
  • There is power to the buffering effect of a nurturing environment = hope
  • If you are in a position to help children, tap into their potential.
  • Don’t meet people where they are, meet them where they dream.
  • There is power to change when people understand their position
  • We need to build systems in order to integrate this work
  • Understand how ACEs impacts health
  • We need strategies that systematically address maternal mental health = upstream
  • Build systems for people and families, not for provider systems alone
  • What are the collective social factors within a community that impact outcomes?
  • Structural inequities, look at the underlying structures that are not often seen
  • Structural competencies – see what is not easily visible
  • What does it look like to work towards a more equitable and just world?
  • What can we do collectively about those who are socially marginalized?
  • Solution finding approach – look at community capacity
  • A trauma-informed framework curates and shares data
  • Share outcomes, share improvements, share generously
  • Give power to the parents
  • Look up
  • Remember the power lies in the connection
  • Human dignity includes the worthiness of every child
  • Look for the counter-narrative
  • We have a collective will issue
  • We have to be outraged about the loss of human dignity and then channel that outrage into action
  • What do we need in order to be healthy? – Powerful question
  • Here is a radical choice = Let’s buy health and not healthcare
  • Screen for unmet social needs
  • Access to healthy foods, decent wages, and affordable housing is health.
  • Change the questions we ask: It’s not what’s happened to you, it’s what do you dream?
  • The way toxic stress is responded to in this country is deeply impacted by race.
  • We must be our best selves to best serve
  • Mitigate the harms and amplify the strengths
  • Our ACEs can be our superpowers – the fight or flight response is designed to give us an adaptive advantage
  • Talk about High Return vs High Risk
  • Language is so important
  • “I don’t want people to meet me where I am, I want them to meet me where I dream”
  • One system of support across many directions is key to collaborating and ending silos
  • Create an eco-system of support
  • Look at results-based accountability
  • Read about the Theory of Aligned Contribution
  • Read about Developmental Repair – Anne Garrity
  • Mission – Growing Great People

If you attended the conference and are reading this on ACEs connection, please let me know. Feel free to add to the list. Let’s create a shared document that archives the notes that each of us took. What messages resonated with you so strongly that you took a moment to write it down? I would love to read what others found to be helpful, hopeful and memorable.


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