On May 12, the First State’s school nurses are being recognized for their bravery, hard work and ability to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delaware School Nurse of the Year
The Delaware School Nurse Association (DSNA) traditionally selects one school nurse for the prestigious School Nurse of the Year award, which acknowledges individual excellence in their field. In an unprecedented move, DSNA will present this year’s award to ALL school nurses in the state of Delaware for their stellar contributions to the health of students, families, staff and communities during a challenging year.
All in a Day’s Work
It is 10 a.m., and Alisha, RN, has already seen 11 students. Mary has diabetes and needs her blood sugar checked. Ethan fell getting off the school bus and has an ankle injury. Olivia’s teacher sent her to the nurse’s office because she complained of “not feeling well” and was resting her head on her desk. Alisha assesses this student to determine if this is an illness, anxiety, lack of sleep or a social-emotional issue. Kadisha has not eaten breakfast and is complaining of a stomachache. Another child comes to the nurse with a nosebleed. A mother calls to request assistance in finding resources for food insecurity. Liam, a student who has autism and is nonverbal, has been escorted to the nurse’s office by his paraprofessional, who is concerned that Liam is “not acting right.” Isabel has missed yet another day of school, and Alisha works collaboratively with the attendance team to determine if her absence is related to a transportation issue, an underlying illness or a family situation needing intervention.
Super nurse, you ask? YES!
Unique school nurse? NO!
This is the norm for all school nurses in the state of Delaware.
On a typical day, a school nurse will see an average of 40 students within a 7- hour period, in a school size of 600.
For some students, the school nurse is the only health professional they visit regularly. The school nurse often identifies a health issue and provides case management. It has long been recognized that healthy students are more successful academically. Nursing interventions are intended to keep students in class and ready to learn.
School nurses must balance other roles and responsibilities with hands-on student care, including:
- Performing hearing, vision and postural screenings, and referring students for follow-up.
- Reviewing health records for proper medical and immunization documentation.
- Participating in IEP (Individualized Education Plans) and 504 accommodation meetings.
- Serving on the Safety Crisis Team and assisting with disaster preparedness.
- Serving on the Behavior Support Team.
- Planning and executing student health-education presentations.
- Composing Individual Healthcare Plans for students with healthcare needs that may impact their academic performance and/or attendance.
- Reciprocal communication of concerns with parents/guardians.
- Collaborating with other specialists and educators to support the mental, emotional and social determinants of student learning.
School Nurses Find Themselves on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the essential role of school nurses in Delaware. They have shared their expertise and guidance as frontline health professionals to ensure a safe return to school. Many have served on state and district health and wellness committees. They are the gatekeepers, assuring that district policies align with CDC and state guidelines. Their public health role has expanded to include additional responsibilities. Our school nurses are focusing their efforts on mitigating COVID-19 in their schools and communities through contact tracing and performing antigen testing, as well as educating staff, students, and families. Delaware’s school nurses have also volunteered countless hours at vaccine clinics.
School Nursing: No Longer Just Lice, Ice and Band-Aids
The role of the school nurse has evolved as student health needs have become more complex. The school nurse serves in a pivotal role that bridges the gap between health care and education. It is the position of the National Association of School Nurses that every child has access to a full-time professional registered nurse at all times. Research provides evidence that the presence of a school nurse and case management is directly related to improved school attendance and clinical outcomes. It also has shown to improve the quality of life in students with and without chronic health conditions.
In Recognition and Appreciation
DSNA recognizes the dedication, flexibility, and extraordinary efforts of all school nurses throughout this past year. They have demonstrated their ability to adapt to changing healthcare needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been leaders in creating safe learning environments in their schools. DSNA is proud to honor these unsung heroes on National School Nurse Day.
The Delaware School Nurse Association is a unified affiliate of the National Association of School Nurses and is dedicated to promoting the specialty practice of professional school nursing. DSNA serves as the professional organization for all school nurses, with over 300 exceptional school nurses in the state of Delaware. If you desire more information, please contact us DSNACommunicationCommittee@gmail.com.
Delaware School Nurse List
Html code here! Replace this with any non empty text and that's it.
Caesar Rodney School District
Lake Forest School District
Polytech School District
Capital School District
Milford School District
Ann Marie Nash
Smyrna School District
Connie Renee Startt
Brandywine School District
Appoquinimink School District
Christina School District
Caren Di Battista
Ann Marie Kaiser
Colonial School District
New Castle Vo-Tech School District
Red Clay School District
Mary Beth Lewis
Woodbridge School District
Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
Rose Marie Cozine
School Nurse Mentors /Retired Nurses
Cape Henlopen School District
Delmar School District
Delaware Department of Education
Ann Covey—Education Specialist, School Health Services
Pat Guilday – Developer and Trainer
Laurel School District
Seaford School District
Sussex Technical School District
Indian River School District
Paige Lynn Dolan