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Colorado Association of School Nurses, Supporting Students with 21st Century School Nurses

By Kathy Reiner, MPH, BSN, RN posted 06-28-2019 18:32


We are proud to recount the history and strong current position of the Colorado Association of School Nurses, (CASN). Formed in 1981 with the motto, “Strength in Membership, Unity, and Commitment”, our organization wasted no time exerting a strong voice in support of students and school nurses. Just a few short months after CASN came into existence, a large school district was about to eliminate 20 school nurse positions. CASN composed a letter to the district Superintendent and collaborated with the state nurse and state education associations in support of the nurses. We've been an advocacy and educational organization from the outset. Our very first meeting agenda included plans for a workshop for school nurses!

Our organization has come a long way since 1981. In the beginning, we were school nurse focused. CASN today is a student-centered organization. We are stronger in numbers, 400 of the approximately 600 school nurses in Colorado are CASN members!

We value keeping school nurses on the cutting edge through professional development. Our large membership supports our ability to provide strong educational offerings and scholarships. We provide over 25 hours of continuing education annually through workshops and conferences. We recently improved our ability to offer this vital CE to nurses across the state via a livestream connection.

CASN is a strong voice at the state capitol in support of student health and education and we have the ability to be nimble in identifying and acting on new and emerging issues. Myriam DeLeon was the CASN President from 2010 to 2011 and under her leadership, CASN initiated a relationship with our lobbying firm. CASN worked closely with our lobbyists to expand our legislative committee to include urban, suburban and rural school nurses. Together, we have advocated for school nurses around immunizations, medical marijuana administration, mental health support for students, and emergency medications. Our executive board decided to sponsor legislation in 2019 to create another line of revenue to hire school nurses. Our lobbyist and the CASN Legislative Committee created a school nurse flyer for legislators and ensured that we had legislative sponsors for the bill. Many school nurses testified in the house and senate helping to pass House Bill 1203, the “School Nurse Grant Program” bill which will secure 3 million dollars in funding for school nurses in Colorado over the next 3 years. This has been an amazing opportunity to educate our legislators and communities about the role of school nurses in providing health care in schools and improving student attendance and achievement.

We affiliated with NASN in 1995 and unified in 2002. NASN resources are invaluable to our success. In particular NASN's Framework for 21st Century School Nurse Practice is a road map for the future. CASN is truly a 21st Century school nurse organization! #NASNat50!