by Donna Fishman
HSC is proud to announce the graduation of 14 school nurses from the School Nurse Leadership Program in suburban Cook County this winter. An additional 10 nurses participated in the three-day leadership course that was sponsored by the Communities Putting Prevention to Work of the Cook County Department of Public Health. The school nurses in the program serve thousands of students across the area.
We were so impressed with their accomplishments in the area of wellness, especially given the high ratio of school nurses to students, funding cuts and the increasing number of students with special health care needs in their schools. On the second day of the program, HSC asked the nurses, “What one change will you make after today?” Here are some of the responses:
- I will continue working on a strategic plan with a new food vendor.
- I will investigate staff wellness programs.
- I will step up as a leader.
- I will suggest starting discussions with food vendors about food choices/selections that better meet the needs of the school population.
- I’m going to start a wellness committee.
- I’m going to meet with my school wellness team to develop an action plan.
- I’m going to start presenting ideas to the administration.
Some of the school nurses have already put ideas into action. One participant said, “For the last couple years, I have wanted to start an employee wellness program and now the wellness committee is on board with the idea.”
The Cook County SNLP alums were dynamos and I was thrilled to see them gain new leadership skills. As part of their third and final day of training, school nurses made presentations on school wellness topics such as healthy fundraising, physical activities, and making healthy decisions.
One participant summed up her experience in the leadership class this way: “I need to be refueled and re-energized sometimes and this workshop has done that. I really appreciate the support of HSC. There is still lots of work to be done at all levels in schools and districts. Let our voices be heard about school health.”
Congratulations again to the School Nurse Leadership Program graduates!