School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: The Power of Writing a Thank-You Note

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is a fascinating place to see what is most pressing in our profession on any given day.  The community message boards are filled with conversations about the challenges and opportunities in school nursing.  A very interesting topic was introduced by Donna Lyman, a school nurse from Baltimore, MD.  I have never met Donna personally, but she was the very first person who was kind enough to comment on the first blog post I wrote, so I have a special place in my heart for her!

This is what Donna wrote:

“I am often dismayed when speaking to Nurse Practitioners, Pediatricians, and Family Practice health care providers and learning that they are not aware of the scope of practice of school nurses.  I recently encouraged a friend and Nurse Practitioner working in a pediatric office in a Florida community to touch base with the local school nurses- something she hadn’t yet thought of!  Reach out to the SCHOOL NURSE!  

I’m curious if anyone out there sends holiday greetings to the local practitioners thanking them for servicing our school families?  My dream is that these office practitioners send their parents and school-age patients back to school with a note or suggestion to “check in with the school nurse” upon returning to school.  Why do we have to be so invisible?”

Donna’s post really struck a chord with me.  Sending out holiday cards to thank our practitioners for caring for our students and families from the school nurse is simply genius. I shared on SchoolNurseNet that I sent out a thank you note to an NP after a complicated care coordination issue with a student. She was so stunned to receive it, she actually called me to say that in her 30 years of nursing, this was her first thank you.

Truthfully, I am embarrassed that I have only sent one handwritten note in all of my 18 years of school nursing. I thank Donna for suggesting this fantastic idea. As she noted, we often comment on feeling invisible, but she gave one antidote to invisibility, be the one to step forward in a very unexpected and thoughtful way.  Another school nurse loved the idea so much, she added to the idea by suggesting adding her business card in the envelope.

Relationships matter, sending our thanks and appreciation, especially during this holiday season, can go a long way in fostering personal relationships with our providers. I am going to step up my thank you game! Thank you, Donna Lyman, a truly #RelentlessSchoolNurse for sharing this terrific idea.  In fact, this practice is backed by science. Here is a recent article about the impact of writing a thank you note published by Harvard Health Publishing:


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