President’s Message to the Membership
I would like to start by saying thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in the role of President Elect for the last year. It has been my privilege to represent NYSASN at the National Association of School Nurses’ Conference in Denver, Colorado, in Latham at the NYSCEA Meetings, and also at the very well attended NYSASN Annual Conference in Latham at the Holiday Inn.
Now it is time to move into the role of being the President of the New York State Association of School Nurses. As I do this I am focusing on the mission of our organization. The mission of the New York State Association of School Nurses is to advance the practice of school nursing and enhance the educational success of students by promoting quality health services.
This is best served by two vital functions of our organization: our outstanding professional educational offerings and our commitment to influence, support or oppose relevant policy and legislative issues.
We have had several changes in our board this year. We still have some vacancies that need to be filled. We need nurses that will step up into that leadership role and take those Zone Representative Positions. Please check the website to find out where there are openings if you feel that you possess the leadership qualities that are needed to fill that role.
This organization was founded by a handful of school nurses that decided that their colleagues throughout New York State needed a more structured and professional organization that supported them and provided them with a voice. They had a vision and were able to achieve their vision through the development of the New York State Association of School Nurses and look at us today. Our board of directors are continually striving to uphold these values and improve upon them. They look for ways to streamline our “operations” to continue to be good stewards of membership monies.
We have been looking for ways to recruit and maintain members in our professional organization. This is the key to our existence and our viability. The membership vote of whether to unify with the National Association of School Nurses was held at our Annual Membership meeting during the Annual Conference in Latham. The decision was made to unify with the National Association of School Nurses. We feel this decision that you made will be a pathway to increasing our membership. New York State school nurses deserve a voice at the table and New York State Association of School Nurses’ mission clearly advocates for them. The larger our membership numbers, the louder, stronger and more powerful voice we have. Every single one of our members is valuable to the organization and contributes to the strength of NYSASN’s foundation. Unification with the National Association of School Nurses gives our membership a voice on the national level.
Being a member of this organization provides excellent professional opportunities that are being offered in the individual zones, at the annual conference, and during School Nurse Orientation. Nurses that attend the School Nurse Orientation program are paired up with an experienced school nurse mentor that they can reach out to after the program with any questions or concerns that come up. Our website is a resource for you to find information posted about conferences and professional development opportunities. Did you know that we offer the Charlotte Grace Scholarship to a deserving school nurse who is in the process of advancing their education in either a Bachelor of Science or Master’s prepared program? The information can be found on our website. The unification with NASN will provide our members with additional benefits such as access to peer-reviewed journals (The NASN School Nurse and The Journal of School Nursing), an online Learning Center which provides opportunity for either free or at a low cost learning for members to take advantage of, and access to an all member forum or online community that is accessible to members only at SchoolNurseNet where members can communicate and enjoy additional networking opportunities. Click here to learn more about these resources.
I would like to say a few words about Professionalism. In my coursework along my journey from Associates to Bachelor, and then to the Master’s Degrees I have taken classes like Professional Socialization, Professional Writing, and Professional Role Development and Ethics. These courses are designed to prepare nurses to be professional. Part of being a Professional Nurse is being part of your professional organization. I was reviewing the School Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice and I read Standard number 10 that describes Collegiality. “The school nurse interacts with, and contributes to the professional development of peers and school personnel as colleagues.” One of the criteria for measuring this particular standard is if the nurse “participates in appropriate professional organizations in a membership or leadership capacity.” I have been a member of this organization since 2004 when I earned my Associate of Science Degree in Nursing. I was an associate member before that when I was a School LPN. I have also been a member of the National Association of School Nurses. I consider them both to be a pathway to my commitment to lifelong learning as I take advantage of opportunities to attend conferences and complete some of the many continuing education offerings that are available on NASN’s website. I have also been taking advantage of the availability of vision vouchers that are offered with membership in National to help students in my school district get an eye exam and glasses.
My role as the New York State Association of School Nurses’ President will prove to be challenging as we move forward with the unification with the National Association of School Nurses. I encourage you to take a few moments to visit our website and review the material that has been posted about the benefits of unification so you will be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities and resources that will be available to you with this membership decision.
I am confident that together we will continue to keep our mission statement in mind and together we will build a stronger organization that will continue to support and meet the needs of the school nurses throughout our great state of New York.
Lou Ann Gleason, MSN RN
November 14, 2019