I would like to thank NYSASN membership for electing me as their 31st president and express my appreciation for the support of our Board of Directors. As I was handed the gavel at the banquet Friday evening, I realized all my past nursing experience has lead up to this moment. I have been a nurse for 41 years, and have varied nursing experience; med/surg, burn unit, ambulatory surgery and 26 years as an emergency room nurse. Nine years ago, I became a school nurse and work for the OSH (Office of School Health) in NYC.
School nursing is the most challenging nursing position I have had, as it encompasses a full scope of nursing practice. We evaluate, assess and administer care to students for acute and chronic conditions; we are independent decision makers, and we advocate for and educate students and their families.
While visiting a legislator’s office, I was surprised at how little he actually knew about school nursing and how easily he was led to understand the importance of having a school nurse in every building. Because of increased communication, this legislator went on to sponsor a bill in our favor. Sometimes we just don’t know the knowledge deficit others have about our profession and sometimes they don’t always want to admit that to us. When talking to family members or administration about a student’s care it is important to explain the “why” behind what you are doing and incorporate information about the evidence base which guides your actions. This will increase the knowledge of and support for our practice.
Communication among our school nurse colleagues is also important. Getting involved and communicating with members in your zone will strengthen our association. We all know there is strength in numbers and by reaching out to other school nurses we will be stronger and more influential.
The focus of my presidency will be dedicated to increasing the communication of the NYSASN board and our membership with each other, other nurse colleagues, students, their families, administration and legislators. If we focus on communication we can be a stronger voice for children’s health and increase their learning potential.
Mary Fitzpatrick, BSN, RN, NCSN