Here is a message from our friend, Judy Doran, the Maine school nurse who writes a guest blog aptly titled “Maine Points,” from her corner of the country. She is a school nurse friend with whom I have an unbreakable bond after being in the long COVID foxhole together. I am sure you know what I mean. We are all emerging even stronger versions of who we were before times. Thank you Judy, for your kind words at the beginning of this blog post, (yes, I did include them, because you wrote them) but most importantly, for your sweeping definition of what it means to #BeRelentless.
Some thoughts on RELENTLESS SCHOOL NURSES – by Judy Doran
Relentless. – YOU are our A#1 model. Your relentless embodiment is palpable. 0200 or 0600 posts before school. Sometimes night ones when most everybody has shut down. You are ON it.
You also have the capacity to turn on a dime. And shine the conversation on the matter at hand. Your gears are always turning. It’s amazing and appreciated! And that is to say you are. Relentless. Fearless. Proud.
So if we put this on a continuum or spectrum you are as relentless as they come. If we went to the other end of the spectrum we’d be looking at a person who is defined by the media description of ice packs and bandaids. There might be some like that, but I don’t know any
Who are the others?
The ones who got the water fountain fixed.
The ones who made sure 68 hours of hunger backpacks filled.
The ones who got free eyeglasses.
The ones who organized vaccine clinics.
The ones who made phone calls to providers to square away meds.
The ones who made safe places for a breather.
The ones who taught everybody everything about keeping students with X conditions safe and in school.
The one who tangled with food services for nutritional labels.
The one who pushed for naloxone in school.
The ones who found warm shoes and clothing.
The ones who helped folks navigate loss of housing.
The ones who learned about grieving children.
The ones who step up to learn about gun violence prevention.
The ones who wonder about their physical safety every day.
The ones who stepped up in the face of a world wide airborne pandemic and proudly declared that while they didn’t know much about Covid specifically they did know infection control and mitigation measures.
The ones who try all day every day to treat children with the dignity they deserve.
The ones who endured outright incivility and abuse from adults and kept going.
The ones who speak in front of the school board.
The ones who write letters.
The ones who exercise their voice.
The ones who with their eyes open, assume responsibility for the health and safety of hundreds or thousands of other people’s children 180 ish days per year.
Honestly, the ones who show up every day.
Probably a year or two into school nursing I came to the realization that nothing and everything preceding had prepared me to be a school nurse. How do you even explain it? Even to other nurses. It is indeed a very broad specialty. It’s like can you simultaneously practice/balance ten thousand different things (few of which are actually clinical)? Then at the same time you need to be on your clinical game because weird and scary stuff can and does happen. OK, then you can be a school nurse. To be a good one, you need to be relentless which I’m going to argue most are in their unique ways. That’s why when you meet a kindred one, you can immediately share a laugh, an “I know EXACTLY what you mean!” moment. You know a lot about each other before the introductions are even done. I’m proud to have been a school nurse. Think I’m closing out pretty soon and I will always say I have had the privilege of being a nurse.
Published by Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN
Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN, is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 22nd year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the Director for New Jersey to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Board. She is proud to be a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow and past Program Mentor. Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include, 2019 and 2020 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award, 2018 NCSN School Nurse of the Year, 2017 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year, and the New Jersey Department of Health 2017 Population Health Hero Award. Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Certificate Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty. Robin writes a weekly blog called The Relentless School Nurse. She also writes a monthly column in My American Nurse, the official journal of the American Nurses Association. Robin’s work is included as a case study in The Future of Nursing Report 2020-2030. You can follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinCogan.
View all posts by Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN