Today we have a guest blog from Linda Gibbons, Director of the School Nurse Certification Program National-Louis University and Illinois Director to the National Association of School Nurses
Thanks to the sponsorship and support of the Healthy Schools Campaign, 40 Illinois school nurses traveled to Springfield and spent the day making a difference and advocating for our students and the need for professional school nursing support.
We were able to present our petition for a State School Nurse Consultant at the Illinois State Board of Education meeting with more than 20 nurses present. Mark Bishop (of Healthy Schools Campaign), Linda Gibbons (of the Illinois Association of School Nurses) and Vyki Jackson (the Illinois School Nurse consultant) presented compelling testimony about the need for coordination at the state level within the Board of Education. The Board members were very supportive of our position, but cited the need for funds and the ability to add positions within the agency.
It was a real "high" for all of us!
Then, we convened with the entire group of school nurse advocates at IEA headquarters for some briefing and to receive materials to bring to the Capitol. At the Capitol, we were generally well received by both our representatives and senators, and we took commitments that they would vote to support school health and school nursing on a number of specific bills.
When we reconvened, it was with a group of school nurses who were feeling very empowered to make a difference and to continue the contact with our legislators next week when they are back in their home districts.
It was an exciting day that we hope to make an annual event.
Many thanks to Healthy Schools Campaign for the organization, lunch and support of this important endeavor.
School Nurses left excited about what we can do and energized to really make a difference through legislative advocacy.