As we look into the immediate future of the chaos which is the start of another school year, it is easy to wring our hands and feel overwhelmed (even though we cannot wait to see our students). Instead, I challenge all of us
to take 3 baby steps toward improving school nursing in Oregon before the school year even starts
. If every nurse practicing in the school setting will commit to these three steps, we will strengthen school nursing in Oregon immediately
1) Become a member of OSNA/NASN,
our professional organization. I recognize that this presents a financial burden for most of us but maintain that this will be the best $140 we ever spend
as professional school nurses. We are so autonomous, having our professional organization at our backs and resources at our fingertips is ESSENTIAL for safe, evidence-based practice.
OSNA's Membership Committee has put together a letter to help nurses advocate for themselves by requesting that their employers pay for their memberships (now, before funds disappear) which contains the following information (see letter below). Even if your employer typically does not pay for "professional memberships," you can ask for the funds in another way; some districts will pay for professional publications (2 come with membership https://www.nasn.org/nasn-resources/publications
), supplies (VSP vision certificates), curriculum (tool kits for supporting student care Toolkits
), or professional development (clinical conversations will be located in the discussion list of the OSNA website PLUS members receive discounts on OSNA conferences AND free CNE modules of 3 credit hours or less on the NASN e-learning portal https://www.pathlms.com/courses?category_ids%5B%5D=686&slug=nasn
). Ask for any of these! Check out the NASN Homepage to learn more about additional available content. https://www.nasn.org/home
2) Set the OSNA website as the homepage for our work computers
. Though many of us do not even have the chance to open our computers until mid-day, having that brief glimpse into what's happening in Oregon school nursing when we do, indeed, open our computers will keep us informed. I cannot even count the number of times school nurses have said, "If I had only known..." Even if all we have time to do is read the headlines and discussion list titles, we will keep ourselves in the loop when the homepage pops up.
3) Commit to becoming involved.
This can be by committing to do any of the following: 1) Read the OSNA website headlines and discussion list titles weekly, 2) Include a 12 month phone number in your NASN profile (After years of advocating for school nursing in Oregon, we have realized that it will take ALL of us, 12 months a year, to make change. Though we all need down time in the summer to rejuvenate, there are moments when OSNA needs school nurse voices to support our work, and when these times occur in the summer, we need to be able to connect with you), or 3) attend a committee meeting or an OSNA conference (both are announced on the Events portal of the OSNA website).