May 9th - Advocates for 21st Century Student Health
May 9th is National School Nurse Day - a time to celebrate the specialty practice of school nursing. This celebration, sponsored by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), recognizes the contributions school nurses make every day to improve the safety, health, and academic success of all students.
Dana has been a school nurse for 20 years and currently works at Spangdahlem Middle School in Germany where she has been since 2015. Prior to Spangdahlem MS she worked at Maxwell E/MS in Alabama for 3 years.
Dana started her nursing career 1998 with an intense desire to experience as many specialties and aspects of nursing as possible to prepare for a future in nursing education. After starting her career in cardiac care, she had an opportunity to experience school nursing overseas while her husband served in the military. Upon returning to the U.S., she was able to gain experience as an emergency/trauma nurse. She also spent three years as a Clinical Nurse & Educator within the Emergency Department training new staff nurses and developing programs for the department. After almost 10 years, she transitioned back to school nursing in DoDEA, a surprisingly similar field.
Dana believes it is impossible to separate the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of a person and operates under the philosophy that the whole child needs to be cared and nurtured. She serves as Student Support Team Chair and enjoys sharing in the team's growth and successes with students and families. She collaborates with community organizations to provide educational health opportunities, fitness and nutrition challenges, and comprehensive health screenings. She led the way in organizing an after school run this school year focused on promoting nutrition, environmentally sound practices, and fitness to support her school’s Green Ribbon goals and initiatives.
An important aspect of her school nursing practice is that she strives for opportunities to grow professionally and personally, often stepping outside of her comfort zone. Where there have been perceptions that the school nurse should not, or cannot, fulfill certain roles in the educational setting, Dana has used that as an opportunity to reshape the boundaries, provide leadership in a new way, and practice school nursing within a true 21st century framework.
Additional resources to help your school honor school nurses can be found at: NASN Website