School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Are School Nurses OK?

We are certainly in extraordinary times, as exemplified by this “Public Advisory” issued from the Washington Education Association. The message specifically speaks to the well-being of the state’s school nurses. Are school nurses ok? Is anyone checking on our health and welfare? As we spend endless hours devoted to keeping school communities safe across the nation, who is checking in on us?

This message struck me as equally brilliant, thoughtful, and devastatingly sad. We have reached a tipping point in our country and our school communities. As I peruse the message boards across social media, I understand why this message is so needed, appreciated, and should be a national response. School nurses are struggling, they are sharing those struggles privately, but maybe we need to speak the truth about how underwater we feel trying to manage this unprecedented pandemic with few tools.

There are silver linings in the midst of so much loss, death, illness, and social upheaval. We have to do a better job at remembering them, quantifying what is going well, but time and bandwidth are in as short supply as PPE. We are working our way through the maze of ever-changing messaging regarding response to COVID. We are collaborating through social media networks providing help and support to decipher the myriad of contact tracing scenarios. School nurses are supporting each other in amplified ways that will continue beyond this current national emergency, that I know for sure. 

We are not in this alone, although it can certainly feel isolating at times. Remember to connect to your county, state, and national organizations. NASN has done a wonderful job providing much-needed resources. There are support groups for school nurses. I run one in New Jersey that meets twice a week. Join us, we are here to support you. School nurses need a safe space to land, just as we provide that in our school health offices for so many. Here is a virtual safe space to land.

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