School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Beth Mattey – an Exemplar School Health Thought Leader

This series of guest blogs by my Rutgers – Camden School Nurse Certificate students has been a highlight for me as an instructor. I am thankful for the wonderful Twitter community that has been cultivated over the past few years. My students have been able to connect with the leaders in school health across the country because of the power of social media. Virginia (Ginger) Kueny was linked with Beth Mattey to find out how Beth uses social media to amplify her school nursing practice. Beth has been a national leader in school nursing for several decades. Her leadership has shaped our profession and elevated the profile of school nursing. 

Beth Mattey, MSN, RN, NCSN, FNASN
My name is Virginia (Ginger) Kueny and I am currently pursuing my School Nurse
Certificate at Rutgers University-Camden. One of my graduate course assignments, I
was asked to interview and connect with a school nurse who uses social media, such as
Twitter, to promote her professional practice and advocate for nurses and school
nursing. Being that I am new to Twitter, I could not wait to ask the relevant question to
my new Twitter friend, “ How have used you Twitter to promote school nursing and how
has it changed your nursing practice”.
Beth Mattey has been a Nationally Board Certified School Nurse since 1990. She
currently is the lead school nurse in the Brandywine School District in Wilmington,
Delaware. This role was explained to me as being an administrative role. She is also
the nurse for the 18-21 year-old population in her district that have special needs. She
helps to transition these students into the community and states that there are a lack of
programs in her community that assist this population after the age of 21. She is
frustrated with the many gaps in care and lack of community resources as the special
needs population continues to expand in her district. One of the paraprofessionals in
her district voiced the need for adequate transfer-training programs to assist with this
growing population. This was definitely a topic Beth was going to pursue in the near
future and implement in her district. Being that I am also a school nurse for special
needs children, I was able to enlighten Beth on some of the programs we have at
Kingsway Learning Center. I was also able to give some insight on our newly
developed Adult Program that serves the students after the age of 21. This program
continues to focus on the transition into the community.
Beth spent two years as President-elect for NASN and two years as the President of
NASN. She uses Twitter to get first-hand news stories. She loves that Twitter serves as a platform for nurses to have a voice. Beth states that the use of Twitter and other social media outlets are extremely good for promoting and sharing information. She feels that you can be on the “cutting-edge” of school nursing and continue to grow your knowledge as you become more familiar with social media. Beth has two Facebook accounts. One is her personal account and the other is for her nursing profession. She did state that at times they do coincide. She did have some ambivalence with having two different Facebook accounts because she thought that she might not be showing her “true self”. We discussed this further and we both came to the conclusion that having both accounts can serve two different purposes, but they can also overlap as
Beth was very impressed with Rutgers School Nurse certificate program and with my
instructor Robin with whom she met through Twitter. She was intrigued with Robin’s
Community Cafe project and wanted to implement it in her district. She loved the work
of the Camden Coalition and how social determinants of health play a huge role in these
communities. Beth indicated that “we as school nurses need to recognize our passion
and what it can yield in our community. Schools cannot function without nursing and we
need to continue to share our knowledge and educate”. I was really glad to have been
able to connect with Beth and to speak with a nurse who is so accomplished. Going
forward, I will continue to become more comfortable with using Twitter to gain more
knowledge and more confident in spreading knowledge.
Beth Mattey, MSN, RN, NCSN, FNASN

Bio: Beth Mattey, MSN, RN, NCSN, FNASN is currently the lead school nurse in the Brandywine School District in Wilmington, Delaware. Throughout her career as a school nurse, she has worked with elementary and high school students, as well as with students with special needs. She has been a Nationally Board Certified School Nurse since 1990.

Beth graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing and in 2017 was inducted into the University of Delaware’s Alumni Wall of Fame. She has authored a chapter in all three editions of the award-winning textbook, Selekman’s School Nursing: A Comprehensive Text, as well as written several articles for professional publications. She was a past-president of the National Association of School Nurses and the Delaware School Nurse Association. She was inducted as a Fellow in the National Association of School Nurses in 2018. Beth is currently the co-lead for the Delaware Nurses Action Coalition supporting the goals of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. She has served as the NASN liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health and the liaison to the National Board of Certification for School Nursing.  

Beth believes school nurses play a key role in promoting population health by creating a culture of health in the school community. As the advisor for the tobacco prevention club at her high school, Beth helped students spread the tobacco prevention message through multi-media outlets, music, and interactive games traveling throughout Delaware. This peer-led program has received more than $150,000 in grant funding and has reduced the use of tobacco products by teens at the high school by 50 percent since its inception in 2001. Several teens presented the program at the 2003 NASN Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Once again, at the 2015 NASN Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Beth was extremely proud to have alumni and current students perform, sharing the tobacco prevention message through music.        

Virginia Kueny, BSN, RN
Bio: Virginia M. Kueny, BSN, RN, has been a nurse for 29 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from West Chester University. Currently, she is employed as a school nurse at Kingsway Learning Center in Voorhees, NJ. She cares for special needs children with various medical conditions including, but not limited to: Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, congenital and genetic disorders. Virginia previous work experience included working as an in-patient care nursing consultant for Aetna. Virginia’s initial nursing job experiences were in the acute care setting. During these years, she had the opportunity to work in the operating room,
medical-surgical unit, and cardiac telemetry unit. Virginia continues to further her education to enhance her current nursing practice. She is presently CPR and Basic Life Support certified. She also belongs to Burlington County School Nurses Association. Along with her nursing career, Virginia completed a 200 hour National Yoga Teacher certification. With this certification, she has been asked to spread her knowledge of connecting the mind and body with children of
various age groups.

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