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Idaho School Nursing - Small beginnings, great impact

By Suzi Morgan, M.Ed, NCSN, RN posted 04-07-2019 16:16

  

In the fall of 1977, the Meridian, Idaho School District hired 4 registered nurses. Soon after, the 4 of us attended the School Nurse Conference group. They were made up of School Nurses from Boise, Nampa, Moscow and Idaho Falls. This small group had been together for several years at that time, meeting once a year in the fall. In the summer of 1978, the Meridian School District sent two school nurses to Denver for an NASN conference at the University of Colorado School of Medicine campus. We were overwhelmed by the size of the group and were delighted when we announced that we were new school nurses and needed help in getting started. During the late summer and fall, we got so much valuable information from school nurse programs all around the country. Their help was instrumental in the progress of our program and the growth of our state conference group.

 

In the spring of 1981, three of us to were able to go to Seattle for an NASN 3 day workshop on Health Assessments. There we met Peg Rufner who was the NASN Executive Director. While visiting with her, she said she would like to come to Idaho and meet with our group about becoming affiliated with NASN. That fall or the next fall Peg came to our Conference in Meridian. At that time, we voted to become affiliated with NASN and we changed our name to School Nurse Organization of Idaho (SNOI). Betty Clark, from Idaho Falls became our first Idaho NASN Director.

 

For many years, on National School Nurse Day, in January, SNOI gathered for a weekend conference and a small group would meet together with the governor of the state and we would introduce our Idaho School Nurse of the Year. This was a very special time and the Governor wanted to know what issues were important to us. He would also proclaim that day to be Idaho School Nurse Day.

 

Today, SNOI has about 93 members across the state.  We continue to have annual conferences with speakers who are experts in their field.  We offer college credit for our conference attendees.  Not only is our conference a wonderful opportunity to lean, it is also an opportunity for our nurses to collaborate. Some of our nurses have been able to testify before legislative groups in support of immunizations and legislation that surrounds them. We are trying to encourage as many nurses as possible to attend NASN conference to have that amazing opportunity but to see what is happening in other schools across the country.  It is eye opening and an experience that we would like all of our SNOI nurses to experience.  We also strongly support NCSN certification for all of our school nurses. We continue to appreciate the support that NASN offers us and were incredibly proud to have Nina Fekaris come to our conference in 2018.  Thank you NASN for your support, education and leadership in school nursing.

 


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Thanks for this great history Suzi.  You all have made a mark for yourself in Idaho, practicing advocacy early on.  I hope you all are still meeting with the Governor!   -Beth