National School Nurse Day

National School Nurse Day

Wednesday, May 8th is National School Nurse Day - a time DoDEA joins the nation to celebrate the specialized practice of school nursing. This celebration recognizes the contributions school nurses make every day to improve the safety, health, and academic success of all students.

School nurses are the very heartbeat of DoDEA schools. They stand ready to help every child all day, every day. They serve a pivotal role that bridges health care and education that is critical to student achievement. Grounded by standards of practice, the services provided by the school nurse include leadership, community/public health, care coordination, and quality improvement.

Why Is a School Nurse Important?

The number of students with complex physical and mental health conditions, along with the number of students at risk for health concerns, and students who are affected by societal issues, such as living in poverty, necessitates school nurses to use critical thinking and provide highly skilled, evidence-based practice that meet the needs of students, families and school communities.

Framework for School Nursing Infographic

School Celebration Ideas

Take time to recognize and celebrate school nurses!

  • Have the school principal present the school nurse with a Certificate of Appreciation!
  • Recognize the school nurse with appropriate mementos of appreciation.
  • Have students make cards for the School Nurse.
  • Include information about School Nurse Day in all school communications.

Additional resources to help your school honor school nurses can be found at: NASN Website

Congratulations to Elizabeth Schuster-Shoaf 2024 OSHNA School Nurse of the Year

Elizabeth Schuster-Shoaf has been chosen as the 2024 School Nurse of the Year by the Overseas School Health Nurses Association (OSHNA). She is a school nurse at SHAPE American Middle School in Belgium. OSHNA is an affiliate of the National Association of School Nurses in the United States. The award was given to her on March 1, 2024.

Nurse Liz, as her students call her, got her calling while caring for her 96-year-old grandmother with terminal cancer. This was the start of her nursing philosophy to treat every person with compassion and respect. Before that, she worked as an Army Public Health Nurse. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Colorado, graduating summa cum laude, and went on to receive a master's in nursing education from South University. Currently, she is working on her doctoral degree from the University of Strathclyde in Public Health and Social Policy in Scotland.

Schuster-Shoaf began her career in school nursing the year her only child went to college. In her words, "It was perfect timing. Instead of becoming an empty nester, I became a safe place to fall for over 300 students." 

Being very active in her school and community, she is the school Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) representative, school Art Club sponsor, Red Cross CPR instructor, and an active participant as a coach and camp nurse for the Benelux Child and Youth Services program. She also researched and developed a Calming Corner for students to utilize when anxious or need a break. She then presented her program and findings at last fall's OSHNA conference in Brussels, Belgium.

Schuster-Shoaf grew up in a military family and attended DoDEA schools in Europe. Coming full circle, she feels it is a privilege to work for DoDEA in support of other military families. In her many roles as a professional registered nurse, school nursing has been the most challenging yet rewarding. This allows her to provide medical services to middle schoolers while assisting them to navigate the challenges of growing up

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