School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Elizabeth Clark – A School Nurse Thought Leader

This perspectives piece is another installation in a series of guest posts by my Rutgers University-Camden School Nurse Certificate students. We explored the power of social media through a three-part assignment that culminated in a guest blog post about school nurses who use Twitter as part of their practice. Through our extensive network of #SchoolNurseTwitter, I was able to link each of my students with school nurses across the country in various stages of their impressive careers. Liz Clark, a Colorado school nurse was paired with student, Dawn Inserra and the result is a well-crafted profile of a stellar school health thought leader!

Elizabeth Clark has many years’ experience as a school nurse in Colorado. She uses social
media, especially Twitter to promote school nursing by getting her voice out, making others
aware of what school nurses do each day, posts updates, reads the latest news, and talks about
issues and why school nurses are very important. She is an advocate for school nurses.
During my phone call with Elizabeth, she explained her school and community initiative. This
includes creating a school -based health center that provides a complete clinic of medical, dentaland psychological services for students. She introduced the health services in three local districts in Colorado with dental screening sessions. These services included providing fluoride and sealants to children in the schools with the most need and with least access to these health
services. Elizabeth is also an advocate for increasing school nurse ratios. There was a time
during her school nurse career that she was providing care for three to four schools at a time with
three thousand students. Over the years she has worked with students in kindergarten through
twelfth grade.
In addition to offering dental clinics and the movement for an increase in school nurse ratios,
Elizabeth has worked to get more Medicaid reimbursement at the state and national levels as a
Medicaid Coordinator. The use of Medicaid will help schools gain additional funds. She
worked for three years with school administration in Colorado on school Medicaid evaluations.
The school Medicaid program allows schools to seek partial monetary assistance for health and
mental services provided to the students with Individual Education Plans. Elizabeth has seen
Medicaid reimbursement increase for schools and she is looking to expand this program across
the country to any student with Medicaid, not just students with an Individual Education Plan.
These Medicaid claims for funding will bring in money for more school nurses and health office
services to students. Every state has its own contract with the federal government for Medicaid
changes and more change is evolving. There is a move forward to change state Medicaid plans
but Elizabeth says it will take years to change.
Waiting and seeing the state Medicaid changes in the upcoming years is something Elizabeth
looks forward to. She is working towards other goals. Educating registered school nurses on the
steps they could take to complete forms and documents to streamline the federal government
reimbursement process is something she works toward. Elizabeth provides assistance and is a
great resource for school nurses. Through the National Association of School Nurses, she is creating educational programs for nurses. She has enjoyed her hands-on experience as a school nurse working with different grade levels of students and working in administration which has given her the ability to see the different school districts.
Talking to Elizabeth on the phone was an enlightening experience. Through the Rutgers School Nurse Certification Program I have met and learned about many school nurses that go far beyond their job description to advocate for children and programs that offer assistance to children in need. I’m amazed at how involved school nurses can become in work they believe in. I look forward to making positive changes in students lives as the nurses I have met through Rutgers.
Bio: Elizabeth (Liz) Clark, MSN, RN NCSN was a school nurse for twenty-five years working with students in grades
kindergarten through twelfth. Over the past few years she has worked between the administrative level and hands- on with students. She has worked to help schools receive
Medicaid reimbursement at the state and national levels. She retired from the school district last spring. Currently, she works as an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Colorado.
She also works with the National School Nurse Association creating educational programs for school nurses.
Dawn Inserra, BSN, RN
Bio: Dawn Inserra, BSN,RN, has been a nurse for a year and a half on a medical-surgical/telemetry unit at
a hospital, a substitute school nurse for the Brick Township School District since October 2018
and a recreation assistant at a nursing home for three years. Before that she worked with seniors
with dementia for 16 years as a recreation director where she was introduced to healthcare and
the desire to become a nurse. She attended Ocean County College for her ASN and has received
a BSN from Chamberlain University. She is also currently enrolled in Rutgers in Camden school
nurse certificate program and is a member of the Ocean County School Nurse Association.


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