Dear NYSASN Members,
One year ago, I was installed as NYSASN’s president elect, and there was no way I could have imagined the challenges that we, as school nurses, would be facing in 2020.
Since the Covid pandemic hit, school nurses have been thrust into the forefront of the public health arena. Where school nurses had traditionally been viewed as support staff, they are now being called upon to be experts on disease control. And, as always, nurses have risen to the occasion.
NYSASN realizes that it is important for school nurses to keep their seats at the table, working with district, local and state decision makers when they revise and update the plans.
In part due to the efforts of NYSASN, school nurses who serve on our board were included in both the NY State BOCES task force committee and the NYS Education Department Regional Task Force on Reopening Schools. The state has recognized school nurses as stakeholders in the advancement of student health.
In the coming year, NYSASN will strive to maintain and cultivate the relationships that help us to promote our profession as well as best practice in school health. The public is recognizing the value of school nurses to the school community. We as a profession need to build on this momentum and become the visible face of student health. One of the most effective ways to do this is to promote ourselves through our professional associations at the local, state and national level. This is the time to be visible, outspoken and strong.
I encourage you to urge your colleagues to join the effort and become members. As I have said many times before, there is strength in numbers.
I also ask our current members to consider joining our board of directors as zone representatives. When I was brought onto the board in 2007 by my NYSASN mentor, Rita Molloy, I was so impressed with the knowledge, dedication and professionalism of the board members. Collectively, they inspired me to take my practice to a new level. I joined as Suffolk County zone representative, and the rest is history.
I’d like to thank Gail Hall, my leadership mentor here on the board, and outgoing president Lou Ann Gleason, who rose to the challenge of having to lead the association during quarantining, social distance, and conducting business virtually.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Jacquelyn A. O’Donnell, AAS, RN