Nurses have served in Indiana schools since at least the early 1950s.The nurse in the school district accompanied the school doctor to classrooms to give immunizations in some city schools. Rural schools were served by the county health nurse.
In the 1960s, school nurses in Indiana were hired with Title I federal money, at least one per district, meaning there were at least 290 school nurses. Many of these nurses, one per district, had a BS degree in Nursing. Some of those school nurses attained an Indiana Student Services Educator’s License, which remains an option to this day.
The Indiana Department of Health was a liaison to school nurses hired by school districts until the 1970s. Indiana was divided into three regions, with a liaison for each region. School nurse conferences were hosted by the IDOH in this era.
In the late 1970s, the Indiana Department of Education became the organizational liaison for school nurses, and it continues to fulfill this role. We have an excellent school nurse consultant who serves as Indiana’s data champion and advocates for school nurses at every turn.
The Student Services liaison of the IDOE provided conferences for school nurses until 2009, when IASN was asked by IDOE to take over this responsibility. IASN continues to meet the need for ongoing educational and networking opportunities with our annual statewide conference in Indianapolis each fall.
The following dates are significant:
1983- School nurses formed an organization.
1984- Norma Kronewitter of South Bend became the first State Director from Indiana. It is estimated that there might have been 50 members in the first years.
1985-87- Norma Prewitt, of Seymour, became a charter member of IASN and State Director. Norma and Anita Sturgeon, another former State Director, were recognized at IASN’s 2018 annual conference.
1992- It is estimated there were 630 school nurses.
Early 1990s – Indiana Department of Education sponsored an Indiana School Nurse Academy consisting of 20 nurses from throughout the state. There were three classes, who met for three years. Each class designed a project that they carried out. All were members of the Indiana Association of School Nurses. Membership in IASN had increased to 100+ members.
2003- The annual Friend of School Nursing Award was named in memory of KA Coffman, a dynamic former school nurse in Columbus and a past state director. The award is given to a non-nurse or organization that supports school nurses and child health.
2006- IASN voted to hire a part-time Executive Director. Having an Executive Director has allowed for increased IASN representation at state nursing, public health, and legislative meetings, has encouraged communication among members and state agencies, has provided for educational planning, and has promoted effective advocacy for the health of children in Indiana.
2014- IASN member Lindsey Minchella became the first Indiana school nurse elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of School Nursing.
2015-Delegation Guidelines for School Nurses were developed and approved by Indiana Association of School Nurses, in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana State Nurses Association, and the Indiana Licensing Board.
2017- IASN was awarded a grant by the Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives to develop an Indiana School Nurse Leadership Academy. The grant has been renewed for 2019, and the SNLA continues to develop new Indiana nurse leaders.
2018- Membership in IASN reached 300. This number was a 26.6% increase, and a milestone for the association. We were recognized for this at NASN’s annual conference in Baltimore in June.
Present- There are around 1000 school nurses in Indiana. The last survey by IDOE was completed by 1017 school nurses. We have an active presence on Facebook and Twitter (@INSchoolNurse) and we are happy that our website is now hosted by NASN—find us at www.inasn.org.
Carolyn Snyder, immediate past Executive Director,
Indiana Association of School Nurses