A Message from the Outgoing NYSASN President

Dear NYSASN members,

I am leaving the NYSASN presidency in the midst of another strange year.   Last year, I was inducted as president, with only the executive committee present.  The induction was then uploaded onto our website and social media sites.

This year, I was thrilled to be able to gather in person, and share in NYSASN’s 35th anniversary celebration.  It was a wonderful evening filled with lots of memories and it was a pleasure to honor the past presidents, the current Judith Harrigan award winner, the everyday hero designees, and the Excellence in School Nursing winners. We also held  the induction of new officers.

We are hearing from our members that this year is even more challenging than last year for school nurses.  After last year, we didn’t think that could be possible.  Last year, school nurses were heralded as champions of community health.  We were looked at as heroes, and we had concrete guidelines to support our policies and protocols.  We worked hard to keep our students safe, and the declining covid rates showed that students could be safe at school.

This year, even though the community numbers are better than last, school nurses are experiencing a different kind of stress.  Without firm and consistent criteria from the state to back our protocols, we are being questioned and even argued with by parents, teachers and administrators.  Contact tracing, vaccine mandates and weekly Covid testing are putting a strain on many nurses, along with the usual mandates and responsibilities that we must comply with.  Last year, many schools started with a hybrid model, or even did not start with in person learning.  We did not have to deal with sports until after the new year. This year, we were thrilled to open up fully, but that opportunity also brought the previous responsibilities, in addition to the new ones.

Of course, New York’s school nurses will rise to the challenge, and emerge once again as the champions we know we are.  Throughout the 35 years of NYSASN, school nurses have faced many obstacles, and we have always prevailed.

However, our member feedback regarding the particular challenges of this year, led to the difficult decision to postpone our annual fall conference.  We are pleased to let everyone know that we have rescheduled the event to April 30th.  Our annual general membership meeting, generally held at the fall conference, but held last December via zoom, will once again be virtual Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

I would like to thank Lou Ann Gleason, outgoing past president, and this year’s Judith Harrigan award winner, for her service to NYSASN’s executive committee.  Lou Ann served as a mentor to me as I entered the term of president.

I’d also like to thank Gail Hall for being a leadership mentor to me, and for serving as interim secretary in addition to Public Relations chair.

Teresa Ergul, our treasurer, has brought NYSASN’s bookkeeping system into the 21st century with new technology and I am so thankful for her precise record keeping and budgeting skills.  Thank you Teresa.

Gerri Plechner is a tireless and hardworking leader.  She will be an excellent president, and I am proud to pass the gavel onto her.

My sincere thanks to the NYSASN board of directors, all volunteers.  Time is a precious commodity, and they are so generous in giving their time to serve the organization.

Thank you for allowing me to serve NYSASN this past year as president.  It has been my honor and privilege.


Jacki O’Donnell