As our semester comes to a close, I continue to share the blog posts that were part of my Rutgers-Camden School Nurse Certificate students’ social media assignment. This three-part assignment included linking students with seasoned school nurses through a series of social media excercises. My students created Twitter and LinkedIn profiles as a first step. I then matched each student with a school nurse who Tweets and we gathered for a #SchoolNurseChat in late September. From there, my students interviewed their assigned school nurse and created blog posts to be be pubished on The Relentless School Nurse website. The following blog post is another in the series! Great work Erin and thank you Tonja for being such a wonderful role model!
Meet @SchoolNurseT who uses Twitter as an outlet to connect with others through #SchoolNurseTwitter. Tonja Frank is from Nebraska and has met school nurses across the country through Twitter. @SchoolNurseT feels all social media in general allows school nurses to get ideas, connect, and find mentors. Tonja met Robin Cogan via Twitter and wrote in her very first blog post for The Relentless School Nurse website two years ago. For @SchoolNurseT participating in her first blog post allowed her to speak about what school nursing really means. Tonja was able to speak about the multiple tasks, roles, and responsibilities she performs in just one school day. Social media and specifically Twitter has allowed her to get her message out into the world. Tonja was one of the founders of #SchoolNurseChat on Twitter. She co-leads Twitter chats with school nurses from across the country, posing questions that generate conversation and fellowship.
Tonja is passionate about safe staffing ratios particularly because she worked in a district that not every building had a school nurse. She expressed how difficult it was to make a difference and even more difficult to get anything accomplished floating through 3 different grade schools. @SchoolNurseT currently is working in a middle school that she is looking into finding curriculum for middle students on asthma. She feels that students need better education on asthma specifically the reason why they are prescribed specific medications and how to properly use inhalers. Although she is not currently creating this initiative she is working on finding resources to make it an initiative in her school. She also feels that at her school and age level there is increased fights, violence, and attendance issues. This is something that she feels that administration is getting stricter with but that school nurses need to be involved in initiatives to reduce these issues in schools.
Tonja now works for a district with a school nurse in each building but still is passionate about safe staff ratios. In order for safe staff ratios to improve it’s important for the public to understand all that school nurses do. We as school nurses need to use our voice to educate others on what we do.
Tonja created a website that she hopes to continue to grow for a place for other school nurses to get resources. Schoolnurset.com is under construction to give resources on personal development/ continuing education, cool ideas, advocacy, resources on trauma informed care, and upcoming twitter chats. Tonja feels that with school nursing she is always learning and wants to help share resources she finds for other school nurses. She thinks it will help other nurses to have a place to go like her website instead of searching for the resources and ideas themselves. @SchoolNurseT is showing the value school nurses provide not only in the school but outside of the school. Connecting with motivated passionate school nurses allows us as school nurses to show the public what we actually do! Clearly we are not just band aids and ice packs but so much more.
Bio: Tonja Frank BSN, RN has been a professional nurse for 31 years. She has worked in all areas of nursing. Tonja most recently has specialized in school nursing over the past 10 years. She presently works as a school nurse at Morton Magnet Middle School in Omaha Nebraska. She provides care for students in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th. Tonja achieved Nebraska School Nurse of the year in 2015-2016. She professionally is passionate on educating kids about health and wellness. She was a former president of the Nebraska School Nurses Association.
Bio: Erin Evans BSN, RN has been a professional nurse for 4 years. She has worked as an emergency department nurse and currently is working as a full time school nurse at South Valley Elementary School in Moorestown, New Jersey. She cares for students Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade. She is also currently completing course work for her School Nurse Certification at Rutger’s University Camden. Erin is passionate about lifelong learning and educating students, staff, and parents to keep students in school and ready to learn.