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Greetings from the Bluegrass State

By Karen Elliott posted 06-08-2019 07:07

Karen Elliott
Thanks for joining me!
It’s been quite a school year!
Greetings from the Bluegrass State (or a Commonwealth whichever you prefer). This is my “freshman year” as a NASN director and Denver will be my first NASN conference! I’d like to take a moment to refresh your memory of where my state is in this great country of ours. Kentucky borders seven states, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia. I live in the western end of the state where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers join so I truly live in the Midwest.
Kentucky School Nurse Association or KYSNA formed in 1973 which member, Lucille Ross was instrumental in forming. In honor of her, our School Nurse of the Year Award is the “Lucille Ross Award”. I’ve been a member of KYSNA since 2005. I became active on the board 2009. After some encouragement of my mentors, I became the Western Delegate, then President-Elect, and then President. In 2015, I was awarded School Nurse of the Year. I have learned and gained much knowledge in this organization that has helped me in my role of district nurse at Carlisle County Schools. Our district has approximately 900 students from preschool-high school and we are very rural. My district is surrounded by farm fields on three sides, with all buildings on the same campus, which is helpful since I’m the only nurse here. I do get in my steps daily because I’m always on the move with three main school buildings and a preschool that I cover. I have wonderful relationship with students, staff and the community. I like to have fun with my folks and I don’t take myself too seriously. Many of our students are economically disadvantaged, which makes my work as a school nurse important because often I am the best (and sometimes only) access to medical care that they have.
Our affiliate joined NASN in 2001, but KYSNA was not involved in the creation of NASN. We (KYSNA) have lobbied and spoke at hearings on the diabetes training for unlicensed assistive personnel. We are driven by our work to put a school nurse in every school in Kentucky. NASN, unfortunately, was not able to be of help when we started to get marketing materials together for this initiative due to their policy on use of the NASN logo, but they have been helpful on other topics and great for resources. KYSNA’s training materials for unlicensed assistive personnel have become the standardized materials for all districts in our state and other states have used our materials as guidelines for training their staff as well. KYSNA is very proud to partner with NASN to improve the lives of the students and staff we see every day.
Being a school nurse in an important job. Every voice to improve the lives of our students is important and those voices become stronger when we work together toward a common goal, be it local, state or national levels. Remember to use your voice, especially when it’s shaky. As a school nurse you are an integral part of your school community. Don’t be afraid to speak up for our kids. KYSNA, and now NASN, are a voice for our students. We need to use this voice.
1 comment



Your wonderful personal story serves to connect a face with KYSNA and school nursing. KYSNA has been active linking health and education and you are highlighting the important role school nurses have in keeping students healthy and safe in schools.  Thank you for sharing the accomplishments of KYSNA for the 50th Anniversary of NASN!   #NASNat50​