School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Encouraging and Engaging Inter collaboration for School Health Professionals With Jenny Gormley

One of my favorite roles outside of my daily work as a school nurse, is teaching the next generation of school nurses. I am completing my eighth year as faculty at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing in the School Nurse Certification Program.  In 2015, we were grantees of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) to redesign our program to infuse population health and leadership. Our newly designed program is now completing the second cohort. 

In my quest to bring timely, topical, and engaging learning opportunities to my students, one of my favorite assignments involves social media.  It is a three part assignment that threads throughout our fall semester and concludes with the student writing a blog post of a school nurse who is active on Twitter. I am fortunate to have a large pool of outstanding #SchoolNurseTwitter colleagues!

Here are directions for the assignment:

Each student will connect with a School Nurse Who Tweets via Twitter.  The names will be distributed during our first in-person class. Once you have reached out to your school nurse, you will be tasked with writing a brief blog post (maximum 500 words) to be submitted for publication to . The purpose of the blog post is to create linkages to school nurses who use social media as a tool to promote school health and school nursing.  Find out what community-based project your school nurse would like to share in a blog. The components of the blog include:

  • Introduction of #SchoolNurseTwitter
  • How and why they use social media to promote school nursing
  • Description of school/community initiative 
  • Outcomes realized – how has the project grown
  • Next steps and lessons learned
  • Picture of the school nurse
  • Professional bios of both you and your school nurse

Here is the fourth installment of the guest blog posts. Thank you to all of the school nurse Twitter mentors for sharing your expertise with my students. This post was well-crafted by Karen Vidal and features the work of Jenny Gormley, one of the most accomplished school nurses I know!

The camaraderie of inpatient (hospital based) nursing is like no other. You intimately share the
trials and tribulations of nursing with your co-workers. Nursing in the community is the
opposite. Nurses are cut off, segregated from nursing peers. Social media has become a breath
of fresh air, a means to connect in what is otherwise isolated practice of nursing in the
community. #SchoolNurseTwitter has been a platform to connect school nurse across the
country and bring back that feeling of companionship that has not been felt by many since their
days at the bedside on inpatient units.
Meet Jenny Gormley, DNP, MSN, BA, RN, NCSN. She predominantly uses Twitter as a way to
meet people and share ideas. She likes to promote and share positivity which has a direct and
positive impact on morale. Gormley is currently the director of Northeastern University School
Health Academy. She started her nursing career at the bedside in the adult work of cardiac and
pulmonary nursing. After years of hearing, “I wish I… when I was younger” Gormley took an
“upsteam” approach and shifted her focus to prevention and management of health conditions in children and adolescents. This led her to school health and school nursing.
Gormley’s favorite (of many!) community initiative was a multidisciplinary collaboration in
nutrition, health & wellness. At the time she was the director of Health, Nursing, Safety, at
Hudson Public schools. Gormley teamed up with Chris Perdue, director of food services at
Hudson public schools, and Dr. Sam Wong, Director of Public and Community Health Services
in Hudson, MA. Together they created the Cook Off and Wellness Expo where teams competed
to make healthy food items from traditional comfort food. Each team consisted of parents,
students, and faulty, each from the middle school and 3 elementary schools.
The cook-off challenged students to create a healthy version of comfort foods. Each year they
focused on 1 food: chili, pizza, soup, and the final year, macaroni & cheese.
The teams had rubric in which to calculate nutritional value such as calories, fat, sodium; similar
what you would see on a nutritional food label. All of the ingredients were disclosed and labeled
for food allergies.
Admission to the event was free. Guests were asked to bring a non-perishable food item that was
in turn donated to the local Hudson food pantry. They had a MC for the evening, a panel of
judges, and awards for the Overall Winner (best tasking & healthiest), People’s Choice Award,
and Best Team Spirit.
The Wellness Expo had various booths from many disciplines. Hudson school nurses did blood
pressure checks, the PE teachers’ demonstrated simple ways to increase physical activity at
home. School counselors showed literature used as anti-bullying resources in the school and
school resource officers had a drug awareness booth. Members of the community donated their
time and had booths with healthy cooking, yoga, and fitness demonstrations, and chair massages.
Unfortunately something of this magnitude is not easy to sustain. The time commitment was
challenging for volunteers. What a fun and unique way to promote nutrition and a healthy
Bio: Jenny M. Gormley, DNP, MSN, BA, RN, NCSN
Director, Northeastern University School Health Academy (NEUSHA)
Gormley has worked in the School Health specialty since 2000, providing direct care as a per
diem and elementary school nurse in two Massachusetts (MA) School districts, and as Director
of Health, Nursing, and Safety at a pre-K-12 school in a third school district, managing the staff
of school nurses and physical and health education teachers. Previously, Gormley worked as a
registered nurse from 1987-2000 with adults with chronic diseases. Taking an “upstream”
approach, she shifted her focus to prevention and management of health conditions in children
and adolescents in schools. Gormley enjoys planning, leading, and evaluating engaging
professional learning opportunities for school nurses, counselors, teachers, and
administrators. In 2015, Gormley joined Kathy Hassey at the Northeastern
University to provide quality continuing education for school professionals. Although MA has
been Gormley’s home since 1995, she grew up in the Midwest, and has lived on both U.S. coasts
and internationally.
Gormley believes in planning and implementing evidence-based live and online programming
through the use of backward design, formative and summative assessments, and interactive
instructional strategies that support participants’ application of learning. She serves on the MA
School Nurse Organization (MSNO) board as President 2018-2020 and “data champion” with a
MA school nurse colleague; together they are representing MA efforts in the national uniform
data collection project, formerly known as Step Up and Be Counted program, a joint initiative of
the National Associations of School Nurses (NASN) and State School Nurse Consultants
(NASSNC). Gormley is a nationally certified school nurse. She also received her Doctor of
Nursing Practice (DNP) at Northeastern University in May 2018.
Bio:  Karen A. Vidal, BS, RN has been a pediatric nurse for 21 years. She received her
BS in Nursing from the Pennsylvania State University. In 2001 she started credits to her
master’s degree. Vidal has been in her present role as Registered Nurse in direct patient
care on the inpatient Oncology, Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant units at The
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the past 15+ years. She has a passion for
providing quality care to patients, and the leadership skills to inspire other staff members
to strive to provide above standard levels of service while implementing the most up to
date evidence based practice to guide day-to-day clinical practice. She has been
recognized as a dedicated, ambitious, and reliable person who has the ability to expertly
navigate off shifts and work proficiently among multidisciplinary teams. For the past 11
years she has volunteered as team captain for CHOP Cancer Crushers, bringing together
over 200 staff members from the Cancer Center, family, and friends to participate in the
Parkway Run and Walk every September. She has volunteered as camp nurse for Ronald
McDonald Camp for children with cancer and their siblings. Prior to her career at CHOP,
she worked at Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children and Penn State Children’s Hospital
at the Hershey Medical Center. She volunteered as a camp nurse for Camp-Can-Do a,
weeklong camp for children with cancer from various children’s hospitals in
Pennsylvania. Currently Vidal is enrolled at Rutgers-Camden University pursuing her NJ
school nurse certification and working to complete her MSN.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.