School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: When the Unimaginable Happens

This summer I will be presenting a workshop with two school nurses who have faced the unimaginable in their schools and communities. Terri Bolt and Penelope Michaels are my partners in this special session at #NASN2020 in Las Vegas. They will be sharing stories of being the first responder during a school shooting and helping to coordinate reunification after a community mass shooting. I will be discussing community gun violence and the ripple effect across generations from gun violence in my family.

I am indebted to these brave school nurses for sharing their truth. Speaking out about the impact of when the unimaginable happens at school is not something that we as a profession have done. It is long past time that we give ourselves permission to ask for help and to share the ripple effect of what happens after the shooting stops. 

It is our intention to create a safe space for school nurses to explore school shootings, community violence and the public health approach to gun violence prevention. School nursing practice in the 21st Century demands it.

Here is a description of our workshop:

Everyday school nurses enter our nation’s schools prepared and ready to serve more than 55 million children. For six and a half hours, each day, 180 days a year, families, school districts and communities entrust their children to school environments where the expectation is that they will be kept safe from harm.  Yet, each day school communities wonder, if their school will be next – next in the line of fire. Firearms are one of the leading causes of injury and death in children and adolescents.

A group of school nurses joined together to share experiences, reflections and next steps in promoting healing following mass shootings in their school communities. School nurses find themselves on the frontline of gun violence, where community violence meets violence in classrooms, hallways, and on school grounds. Mass shootings that occur inside school buildings brings violence and trauma that is professionally and personally overwhelming for school nurses. They know first-hand how violence and revenge are partners that wreak havoc on innocence, and when coupled with access to weapons, cause death and destruction in the most innocent spaces. 

This session will focus on three components of gun violence that impact school communities. The purpose of this workshop is to give insight into gun violence within schools from the perspective of school nurses, who are the first responders, responsible for the health and safety of students and staff inside their building.

For those school nurses who will be attending #NASN2020, please consider attending our workshop. There is a closed Facebook page for school nurses impacted by school or community gun violence. It is easy to join, you only need to answer a few questions. Here is the link: School Nurses Impacted by School or Community Gun Violence

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