“But the duties of a school nurse call for something more than thorough training, ability, keen observation, good sense and sound judgment… a love of achievement, initiative, honor, mercy and truth should be the very breath of her existence. Her character must be blameless. She must be kind, for children are quick to recognize this quality in their elders…”
Lina Rogers Struthers, The School Nurse (1917)
Appointed in 1902 by the New York City Board of Education as first School Nurse in the United States, Lina Rogers taught school nurses how to document cases of diseases such as measles, smallpox, rickets and diphtheria. In the manual she wrote in 1917, she described how to conduct “nose-blowing drills” with classes and advised that the supplies to be maintained by the school nurse should contain “500 Mercury Bichloride tablets” and “1/2 lb. Sulphur Ointment.” Yet, despite the difference created by the century between the publication of that book and our current time, we still adhere to her declaration that “The highest objective of all efforts is to teach children how to be healthy and how to stay healthy.”
For those who might be interested in this piece of our history, you can read the book in its entirety at this link: https://archive.org/stream/schoolnurse008694mbp#page/n85/mode/2up
We belong to a profession that still aspires to the dedication and excellence prescribed by this illustrious School Nurse. Happy School Nurse Day to all our colleagues!
Carol Bumbolow MS, BA, RN
New York State Association of School Nurses