This article shares a brief history of school nursing from one pandemic to the next, and I am honored to have my work included. The interesting thing is that I never spoke directly to Nicholas Gilmore, the journalist – I missed his messages. He listened to a podcast I did on RN-Mentor and read recent blog posts about COVID. It has taken a pandemic for the nation to understand the importance of school nursing. I can only imagine what the original school nursing pioneers, Lillian Wald and Lina Rogers, would think of what is happening today as we prepare to return to school. I thank them for leading the way and look back to lessons learned from 1918 to move forward through the most consequential time in the current history of school nursing.
One hundred years ago, American school nursing was praised as a public health innovation. School funding cuts have threatened school nurses, while a deadly pandemic proves they could be among the most important figures in education.