School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Left Within the Walls of University Classrooms

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Rutgers-Camden School Nurse Certificate 2019 Cohort

For the past 7 years, I have had the privilege of teaching in the Rutgers-Camden School Nurse Certificate Program.  I am a full-time school nurse in the Camden City School District during the school year, but each summer and fall I wear my favorite hat, that of school nurse educator.  I honor the efforts of my students and marvel at their courage, many having not been in the role of student for many years. My students are adult learners, professional nurses who want to enter the unknown world of school nursing.

Being a school nursing educator makes me especially #Relentless!  It is a daunting challenge and responsibility to teach the next generation of school nurses.  My goal is to share cutting edge school nursing practice with my students.  I am in awe of their dedication to glean as much information as they can in the brief time we spend in class together.

This year, our class was abuzz with the excitement of processing new knowledge. The classroom walls were filled with poster papers sharing reflections, questions, and what they needed from me as a learner. I marveled at their willingness to take on challenges of new information that changes our assumptions about the world. We took a deep dive into the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on our students, families and ourselves.

Our week together, which I like to create as a retreat, flew by quickly this year. The discussions were thoughtful, heartfelt and reaffirmed that the future of school nursing is very bright. The students aimed high and exceeded my expectations by their phenomenal engagement, enthusiasm and positive contributions to creating a week that I will not soon forget.

As I closed up the classroom at the end of the week, I sat for a moment and reflected on what had been co-created during this year’s class of Issues and Trends in Health Education. The walls were bare, the posters, writings, sticky notes, pens, markers put away for next time. The desks were orderly, and space was cleared for the next group that would be learning together. I began to wonder about the energy left behind from our class and tried to tap into the history of all of those classes and the learning that has happened within the walls of our classroom over the years.

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To my students, thank you for giving it everything you had this past week and know that your efforts are noticed and appreciated. I value your hard work, enthusiasm, and desire to learn. This work is hard, the challenge is daunting, but you will enter this new phase of your careers with a proven ability to dig deep and #BeRelentless.
As they prepared to deliver their final project, which was teaching a health lesson to their peers, I played this Sara Bareilles song: Brave!

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