ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — May 6, 2013 — Department of Defense Education Activity Schools around the world will join schools all across the United States in honoring the contribution of school nurses by celebrating National School Nurse Day on Wednesday, May 8.
National School Nurse Day falls in the middle of Teacher Appreciation Week which is celebrated May 6-10. For more than 100 years, school nurses have served a critical role in improving public health and ensuring student’s academic success. While nurses are not teachers, they play an integral part in ensuring schools provide healthy and safe learning environments.
In a message to school nurses, DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald said, “School nurses ensure that our students’ health care needs are safely met while they are in the school setting. School nurses are an invaluable bridge that connects schools, health care providers and families.”
“By promoting wellness and improving the health outcomes of our students, you act as a liaison to the school community, parents, and other health care providers on behalf of children’s health,” Ms. Fitzgerald added in her memo.
School nurses are members of school-based mental health teams, along with school counselors, psychologists and social workers. They use their specialized knowledge, assessment skills, and judgment to manage children’s increasingly complex medical conditions and chronic health illnesses.
School nurses contribute to their local communities by helping students stay healthy, in school, and ready to learn, and keeping parents and families at work.
Lily Bagtas is the Overseas School Health Nurse’s Association’s Nurse of the Year. She has spent 12 years as a school nurse with DoDEA.
“I've enjoyed educating and being the primary health care provider in our school. It is most rewarding when you see kids in the community call ‘mom, that's my nurse!’ or they give you a hug when they see you. Ultimately, my goal is using 21st century skills and making a difference - one child at a time.”
National School Nurse Day was established in 1972, to recognize the role of school nurses in the education setting. DoDEA has 198 school nurses supporting the health and educational success of our students.
DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.