School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: NASN in the HOT Seat on Capitol Hill

Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, LCPC, NCSN, NCC, CAE, FNASN is retiring as Executive Director of NASN after her dedicated service to our national organization for the past twelve years. On the eve (the end of April) of her well deserved retirement, she was called to Capitol Hill to face the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability. The committee held a hearing to “examine the consequences of COVID-19 school closures on student development and the role federal health agencies and teachers’ unions played in school closure decisions,” according to the committee press release.

I watched Donna’s testimony with great pride as she delivered a detailed description of the role of school nurses during COVID, including our challenges and triumphs. She spoke with purpose, conviction and represented NASN and school nursing as a consummate professional. Donna’s presentation was met with tremendous disrespect and accusations by some of the committee members. And yet, she remained steadfast and calm, even though she was clearly on the HOT seat on Capitol Hill. It was a stark reminder of how poorly many school nurses were treated during COVID in our own school districts.

The accusations and attempts to intimidate NASN’s Executive Director did not work, they only served to shine a glaring spotlight on how poorly school nurses have been treated.  Donna listened intently as demands for answers to questions that she barely had time to digest came flying from member after member of the committee. Here is one brief example of the disrespectful treatment she endured by Dr. Ronny Jackson, Congressman from Texas, attempting to intimidate our school nurse national leader:

After you watch this video, ask yourself how you would have responded. I am not sure I could have been as calm and measured as Donna. This is bullying and intimidation on a national level.

This hearing was held on Tuesday, March 28th, one day after the deadly school shooting in Nashville. I can’t help but think, is this really how our lawmakers are wasting our time and taxpayer dollars, attempting to intimidate and accuse NASN of influencing the CDC into keeping schools closed during COVID, when students and school staff are dying in schools from gun violence? Who have we become as a nation? 

Thank you Donna Mazyck for being grace under tremendous pressure, for all of your endless patience and for representing our profession with dignity and calm, even in an impossible situation. I have the highest respect for your ability to remain professional and measured and deeply appreciate your lifetime of service to children and school nurses. Enjoy your retirement, Donna, you are leaving NASN a robust, vital organization with a strong foundation and bright future. 

You can read Donna’s testimony here: Testimony of Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE, FNASN On behalf of the National Association of School Nurses Before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Pandemic On The Consequences of School Closures: Intended and Unintended March 28, 2023

You can watch the full committee meeting here:


6 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: NASN in the HOT Seat on Capitol Hill”

  1. Have these folks no shame? Can’t wait to read/watch the hearing. Thank you Donna and Robin!

  2. Mr. Jackson was disrespectful and contemptuous, at best. Donna held her own and then some. I agree she represented us with pride and professionalism. This was but a microcosm of the attitudes and rhetoric we encountered through those terrible months of being closed. Shame on our representatives who sat there with their pro gun pins on their lapels.

    1. I will have to take a closer look, I did not notice the pro gun pins on the lapels…makes it all even more outrageous & disrespectful.

  3. I had to physically walk away before commenting. I thinks the clip that I saw triggered all of the bullying and intimidation that has gone on in my career from hospital nurse all the way through to school nursing and the COVID pandemic. Donna Mazyck is such a kind, knowledgeable, and person who can handle a situation like this with far more grace than I can muster. I had to look up who Dr. Ronny Jackson was besides being the Congressmen from Tx. So this is the same Dr. Ronny Jackson who served in the 45th. President’s White House. Hearings should be about trying to understand what happened, he was not asking questions, he was demanding answers for a new conspiracy theory that some how federal agencies (CDC), the amorphous teacher’s union and school nurses all got together in a back room to keep children out of school. Shame on him. I hope Donna know we stand behind her.

    1. Donna did a stellar job, Dr. Jackson was not the only one who was confrontational. I wanted to share with our colleagues to show Donna our support and appreciation for her professionalism and calm under clearly hostile conditions. Stark reminder of how many of us have been treated during COVID.

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