Meet Catherine Rodriguez RN, MSN, CSN and School Nurse in Zone 4’s Bronxville CSD.
Since her school district closed due to the pandemic, she has actively sought out opportunities to volunteer her skills and time to organizations in need. Catherine quickly reached out to the Department of Health and was assigned to White Plains YWCA where one day a week she works at their day care facility for children of first responders, assessing all persons entering the site. Catherine also responded to a volunteer opportunity posted on the NYSNA website, for the non-profit organization Afya. Their mission it is to help address critical shortages of medical supplies in underserved communities around the world through collection and distribution of donated items. During the COVID pandemic, however, they have changed focus and Catherine has been involved in packaging of donated PPE for distribution to hospitals and healthcare sites in the NY area. She has also been volunteering her time at St John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, working in the Employee Health department where she provides an array of services such as performing swabs for COVID-19, reporting on antibody tests, checking vital signs, performing vision screens, fit testing staff for N95 masks and running to and from central supply for PPE and COVID testing kits.
Way to go, Catherine! You make Zone 4 and all your NYSASN colleagues proud!
School nurses in the Connetquot S.D. created this inspiring video for their students and staff:
A personal story with YouTube link from Holly Giovi, RN, a school nurse from the Deer Park Union Free School District on LI:
I was already recruited by the time the (health care volunteer) surveys came out, and honestly it somewhat frightened me to be volunteering in what seemed to be, at the time, a possible medical draft. But I was lucky enough to be recruited through executive search and placed at the Jones Beach testing site.
I think nurses naturally feel an overwhelming sense of wanting to help and, although I have been a nurse for 26 years, my years of bedside nursing are very far removed from recent times and my ICU/ ER days were over 20 years ago. So with that being my experience I knew I would not feel confident going back to bedside direct nursing care. I felt the testing sites run by DOH in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, National Guard, military reserves, parks department, NY fire safety, sheriff’s department, and several other entities was a great fit to scratch that itch and felt like I was doing a small part within my current skill set to move us all closer to a new normal.
I wanted my students and staff to know I was being trained and supported by the state’s leading epidemiologist and medical directors so that I could be a resource of information for anyone that might need accurate science based information and not be confused by social media jargon. I have worked since the third day after school closures and put in 12-hour shifts with most weeks hitting overtime hours. In one week, I worked 70 hours. The days are broken up into two- and three-hour tours, with the nurse working every other tour. The site averages 800 appointments per day. We work in teams of two with a hot and a warm nurse. Earlier in the testing it had been three on a team. It is really like inventing a wheel since an operation like this has never existed before. We also have ongoing quality control nurses, and nurse educators. I have served in all roles. We have all been fit tested for N95 masks and have plenty of PPE, I feel extremely safe.
I have stayed connected to my school staff by participating in Zoom calls and made a quick video for students and staff thinking maybe I would host a virtual field trip. However, I wanted to balance knowledge without creating fear. I’ve included the link below, it is a quick tour of the compound as it started out several weeks ago, but has greatly grown since.
I would suggest anyone looking to participate with a similar opportunity to reach out to an Execu-search agency and join the Long Island Nurses Facebook page as there are frequent job listings found there. Of course you can also reach out to me directly and I will help any way possible. I wish you all the best of health & calm until we can be together again.
Warm regards, Holly Giovi
Link to tour: https://youtu.be/GcikLN-V0sg
Uplifting YouTube video from Valley Central S.D. in Orange County, New York:
Words of Encouragement from Lakeland Central S.D in Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/272135219517726/posts/3031869126877641/?d=n
From an anonymous New York City School Nurse:
I am working in a Regional Enrichment Center (REC) it is opened from 7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday for children of essential workers. Sites are located in all five boroughs and there are teachers, paras etc. Children get three meals a day and get help with school work, exercise, etc. They originally opened 123 sites but have been consolidating them. Also in the city they have “grab and go” breakfast and lunch, again in all five boroughs, at different schools.
- Some school nurses are working at the REC.
- Some are at testing sites.
- Some are in nursing homes.
- Some are working hotlines.
- Some school nurses are calling students with chronic diseases, especially persistent asthma students who get controller meds, to see if the parent has the medication and if they are giving it, need a refill etc.
- Some nurses might have gone back to the hospital but only if they volunteered, and recently worked at the hospital. Nobody has been forced to the front lines.
I do believe we will be more involved when they attempt to re-open the city, although I don’t know in what capacity.
NYSASN President-Elect Jackie O’Donnell shared this video, made by all the school nurses at William Floyd SD on Long Island, that went out to district staff and students. You can view it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oaV3U93ioQ. Jackie also reports that as of mid-April 150,000 meals have been delivered to families in need within her district!