• Type to search or press enter for full results.
Type to search or press enter for full results.

 

 

The Powerful Difference School Nurses Make in Our Health with Rebecca Love & Robin Cogan
Episode

Rebecca Love & Robin Cogan

The Powerful Difference School Nurses Make in Our Health

In this inaugural episode of the SONSIEL series, we are privileged to feature two amazing nurse leaders – Rebecca Love and Robin Cogan – to kick off the series. 

Rebecca is the President at SONSIEL and Robin is a Nationally Certified School Nurse and is the legislative co-chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association.

Rebecca and Robin discuss the importance of having school nurses and their impact on public health. Rebecca talks of the school nurses especially in this time of COVID and shares some history and statistics. Robin shares about the role of the school nurse in addressing vaccine confidence on the ground community level and the other health issues children have. Currently, 25% of schools have no nurse at all, 35% only have a part-time nurse, and the remaining 40% may have a full-time school nurse who has to take care of thousands of students. Both guests emphasized the value of having a trusted health professional in the school setting and raised frustrations and challenges school nurses are facing. We also cover safety, wanting our children to be safe, how they have provided solutions to problems, and some setbacks. There’s plenty of stats, heartfelt stories, and callouts shared in this wonderful conversation, so do something about it and please tune in!

Want to start your own podcast or offload the busywork of your current podcast to the pros?

Smooth Podcasting is the producer of our podcast. They help us deliver high quality audio, show notes, transcripts, podcast marketing, and so much more. We totally recommend them!

Check out Smooth Podcasting!

Get The Latest In Your Inbox

SUBSCRIBE

The Powerful Difference School Nurses Make in Our Health with Rebecca Love & Robin Cogan

About Rebecca Love

Rebecca Love, RN, BS, MSN, FIEL  is a nurse entrepreneur, inventor, author, TEDx Speaker and first nurse featured on Ted.com, and part of the inaugural nursing panel featured at SXSW 2018. She was the first Director of Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the United States at Northeastern School of Nursing where she founded the Nurse Hackathon. In early 2019, Rebecca, along with a group of leading nurses in the world, founded and is President of SONSIEL: The Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs & Leaders, a non-profit that quickly attained recognition by the United Nations as an Affiliate Member to the UN. Rebecca is passionate about empowering nurses and creating communities to help nurses innovate, create and collaborate to start businesses and inventions to transform healthcare.  

About Robin Cogan

Robin is a Nationally Certified School Nurse currently in her 20th year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the legislative co-chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association. She’s proud to be a Johnson and Johnson school health leadership fellow and past program mentor. Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include the 2019 and 2020 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award and many more. 

The Powerful Difference School Nurses Make in Our Health with Rebecca Love & Robin Cogan: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

The Powerful Difference School Nurses Make in Our Health with Rebecca Love & Robin Cogan: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket Nation, Saul Marquez here. Have you heard of SONSIEL? That’s the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders. We’ve teamed up with them to put together a podcast series for nurses. In this 12-part series, we’ll magnify and elevate nurse innovators’ expertise as transformation agents who contribute to health care reform and improved outcomes. Through interviews with these amazing nurse leaders and innovators, we’ll help you connect the dots in a world where nurses are significant leaders recognized for transforming health care and society. Visit outcomesrocket.health/sonsiel to learn more. That’s outcomesrocket.health/sonsiel S O N S I E L to learn more.

Saul Marquez:
Hey everybody, Saul Marquez here. Welcome back to the Outcomes Rockets and this amazing series, the SONSIEL series on Nurse Leadership. This is the inaugural episode. I just want to welcome everybody to this 12 part series where we honor nurses and their role in innovation and entrepreneurship and just providing the best of health care. I’m excited today. I have two guests helping us kick off the series. First, I’ve got Rebecca Love. Everybody knows Rebecca. She’s been on the podcast before. She is a nurse entrepreneur, inventor, author, TEDx Speaker, and first nurse featured on Ted.com and part of the inaugural nursing panel featured at South by Southwest 2018. Rebecca was the first director of Nurse Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the United States at Northeastern School of Nursing, the founding initiative in the country designed to empower nurses as innovators and entrepreneurs, where she founded the Nurse Hackathon. The movement has led to transformational change in the nursing profession. In early 2019 Rebecca, along with a group of nurses leading the world they founded, and she’s president of SONSIEL. That’s the Society of Nurses Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders who is sponsoring this 12-part series on the Outcomes Rocket. And really, it’s a nonprofit that has quickly gained recognition by the United Nations and as an affiliate member to the UN. I’m excited to have her on the podcast here. Again, she wears many hats and will highlight those as well as the role that she plays in nursing in general.

Saul Marquez:
Also joining us today is the amazing Robin Cogan. Robin is a Nationally Certified School Nurse currently in her 20th year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the legislative co-chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association. She’s proud to be a Johnson and Johnson school health leadership fellow and past program mentor. Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include the 2019 and 2020 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award and many more. So I’m going to leave it at that. But two just amazing women and leaders in nursing, and I’m so grateful to have you guys here kicking off this series. So Rebecca and Robin, welcome.

Rebecca Love:
Thank you!

So excited to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, excited to have you guys here. We have a treat for all of you in this series. But to begin with, I really want to start off the series by having Rebecca and Robin tell us a little bit about what inspires their work in health care. So take it away.

Rebecca Love:
Saul, thank you so much for having us doing this series on SONSIEL and I think we’re my North Star always leads me is that I am just so inspired and empowered by the nurses and their movement to really transform the future of health care. And every day that I step forward and meet another nurse who’s out there tackling a major health care problem, it just empowers and inspires more movement Forward to see what more we can do to try to elevate and change the profession of health care led through nursing leadership and innovation. And I’m really excited to be here with you, but I’m really excited also to be on with Robin because of the incredible work that she has been doing on the school nurse side as COVID as it bears down on this country and we’ve tried to reopen schools. So, Robin.

Robin Cogan:
Let me take a deep breath first because there is a lot to unpack. First of all, I’m such an admirer of Rebecca’s work. And what I love most about what Rebecca does is she brings people together, elevates nurses, she connects us. She celebrates nursing in all of its aspects. And one of the most misunderstood aspects of nursing has been school nursing. School nursing has been misunderstood within our own field. So one of my biggest goals, and I really have to say I’m older now. I’m looking towards I’m not retiring yet, but I’m looking more at kind of the trajectory of my career and I’m thinking legacy, right?. And what I was what I want for my legacy is that if I was able to open the doors to people’s minds and hearts about what school nurses really do, then my job as well. I’ve done so over the last, I’d say, seven, eight years. I’ve really focused on amplifying the voice of school nursing. I started a blog and I’ve been able to really bring elevate other school nurses and let them tell their stories from their health offices all over the country. That’s how I linked up with Rebecca and SONSIEL. It’s so fascinating when you step out of your health office as a school nurse and see the much wider picture. There’s so much exciting work going on. So that’s been my passion, my work. I certainly also work in a very complex urban, I like to call it an urban rich community because it’s rich with culture and it’s rich with stories and it’s rich with resilience, but it’s also under-resourced. And so that whole idea of being able to bring health care in the community, boots on the ground to children and families, this is certainly another one of my passions.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. Well, thank you, Robin. Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your why. And both of you have such unique perspectives as nurse leaders. And, you know, I’m excited to dive into that. So talk to us a little bit about how you’re adding value to the health care ecosystem in a unique way.

Rebecca Love:
I think I want to start back and I’m going to set the stage for Robin because when the last major pandemic hit the world in 1918, the entire world shut down one hundred years ago. And in New York City, when they tried to reopen New York City in 1920 and get schools back to working and children back into the classroom, they were not successful until they put a school nurse in every single school in New York City. And I want to tell you that today if you’re looking across the country, less than 50 percent of our schools in the United States have a school nurse. But if you want to look at how you democratize access to health care by gaining access to health care, putting a school nurse in every single school across the country would suddenly allow, regardless of who you were, the money you have, the location that you have would allow you access to a trusted health care professional that could have a lasting impact. And in an interesting economic study that was done in Massachusetts, they found that for every single dollar that was invested into school nursing, it returned in the same year, two dollars and twenty-two cents per dollar invested back into the cost of health care in public health. It’s an incredible return on investment. And as we’re dealing with COVID today, I think when you’re looking at us trying to open up our schools again, it’s these school nurses that are really transforming and really making these schools stay safe. And that’s where I sort of want to show where Robin is today.

Robin Cogan:
Thank you for that great introduction. And the lessons were not learned very well in 2018. And here we are repeating them, the shining star about what’s happened with COVID. But first of all, the vaccine is a huge shining star, and the fact that we now have a national plan and a national rollout. And while we have some hiccups in terms of vaccine confidence, I think they’re being addressed on a very boots-on-the-ground community level. And who better to address that than to include the school nurse in those conversations? And that’s what we’re doing, whether we’re setting up vaccine clinics, whether we’re doing testing in schools or we are having educational forums for families to really have them, unpack what their concerns are in terms of the vaccine. But, yes, having a school nurse in every building, it should be, you know, it’s a no-brainer. I mean, at this moment, there are almost fifty-six million children in the country. Twenty-five percent of schools have no school nurse at all. None. Thirty-five percent only have a very part time school nurse. And the remaining 40 percent, may have a full-time school nurse, but they could cover multiple buildings. They could have a ratio of one school nurse in one state. In Washington State, their formula for determining the ratio of students to school nurse is one school nurse to four thousand seven hundred sixty students.

Saul Marquez:
Wow.

Robin Cogan:
And having said that, I have to tell you that up to twenty-five percent of our kids have at one time they will have their very first allergic reaction to some kind of food substance at school undiagnosed. So anaphylaxis in school. We have a large percentage of children with chronic health conditions, more than 20 percent. The mental health issues, we could talk, we could have 10 podcasts about mental health issues. And that was before COVID. So having that trusted health professional in the building, it’s not about the task we complete. It’s about what we bring in terms of safety, in terms of people feeling confident, in terms of improving just overall sense of well-being. And that’s hard to quantify. Right. But if we’re not there, it’s absolutely missing now.

Saul Marquez:
Robin, thank you for that. And Rebecca, thanks for the history and stats on that, too. You. And you think about how health systems are rushing to figure out what that new front door to health care is. And in the last few years, we’ve seen a rush of health systems to Walgreens in the CVS. Hey, let’s get primary care folks there. Well, what if these health systems put their front door in the schools and the work that Robin and her fellow nurses are doing for our country is pretty amazing. And so maybe the idea here for you listening is make the front door to your health system in the school. And I think we could see some crazy, amazing transformation there. So thank you for this. This is brilliant. I’m enjoying this so much. So what makes what you do different or better than what’s available today?

Robin Cogan:
So school nursing has always been considered. We call it a hidden health care system. It’s been there all along. It’s just that people didn’t know. And I think what’s changed is COVID career to shine the spotlight on many, many things. First of all, the inequities Right. the racial disparities. That’s just outright racism that’s going on. The impact of covid on communities like the one I saw, brown and black communities where such a much larger proportion of the families that I work with were impacted by COVID. Why? Because they are essential workers. They are the working poor, the underpaid, essential workers who could not hunker down at home, who live maybe with multiple families in a home. But this is their life. This is their home. We have to be respectful of what they need to do. And so understanding that relationship, being that trusted person that people will go to. I’ll give you an example. I noticed Facebook, social media is a great way to find out what’s happening for people. And I notice that families were having birthday parties early on. And I was concerned. Lots of people in the house I have many families are in English as a second language. I have some families where Spanish is the second language because they come from parts of, let’s say, Guatemala, where they actually speak an Indian dialect.

Rebecca Love:
And so there are so many layers of communication issues. So the message about public health mitigation strategies was not reaching the level of the street. My families are not listening to the CDC. They weren’t they weren’t connected to what the New Jersey Department of Health was saying. They were listening to like a local radio station and there was a lot of misinformation. People were drinking bleach. People were spraying themselves with Lysol because on the bottle it said it kills the coronavirus, you know, and when I talk to my family about social distancing, if you’re from another country that doesn’t use the way we measure but uses the metric system and you say stay six feet apart, that means nothing to them. So we had to reinvent this. So we said first two meters, and that’s hard to imagine a refrigerator lying down on its side. You know, we have to understand what our families understand and then begin the conversation. The audacity that we should the arrogance of thinking that we are telling people from this kind of high level what we think they should know. We’re not even asking them what they understand.

Rebecca Love:
What Robin is saying, I think is just such a fundamental point is that school nurses were able to translate very complex guidelines that was confusing to the normal layperson who read and understood English or didn’t have children. And that was were confusing. They were able to break that down. And what we may not know is that the Gallup poll has ranked nurses as the most trusted profession for nearly the last 20 years. And school nurses have this unique ability to have relationships with young people in their families for up to six years and a period of time. But I think one of the really important things also that we might not know about school nurses is that based on some of the studies that have been shown in school, nurses are very effective at helping keep students and staff and faculty safe, but also they keep the economy going. And one of those examples is if schools that don’t have nurses, for example, if a child gets sick and goes and speaks to the administrator, they often are called and their mother has to come get them or their family member has to come get them. When you have a school nurse in the schools, they’re finding that ninety-six percent of the time students are returned to the classroom. Now, this ability to actually triage and to treat and to provide that level of care is not only a benefit to the student who goes back to school and continues their learning, but think about all of the mothers and the fathers out there who are able to continue with their jobs and stay at work and keep the economy going without this disruption. So those are just some of the fundamentals we think about when we’re dealing with school nursing.

Robin Cogan:
Rebecca, the study that you talked about, of the two to one or one for every dollar you get back to, did not take into account things like lost time from work. It did not take into account lost learning time. So one of the other gaps that are so important is that we need really excellent funding so that we can do more school nurse-specific research to really quantify the work that we’re doing.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s some really interesting points here. And you think about the role of employers in this as well, right? I mean, Robin, you mentioned the lost work hours. I mean, if two or three, let alone thousands of employers that serve the same community, were to pool their money to afford a nurse, I mean, like get with people, I think the opportunities are here. We just have to uncover them. And so these facts that we’re hearing and learning from Rebecca and Robin, I mean, these are things that are no brainers that we need to start thinking about and getting creative about funding those nurses for the 50 percent of schools that don’t have them. I think the argument is very simple. So what do you believe that people need to know that maybe they don’t know about the role of nursing and improving outcomes and business?

Robin Cogan:
So I would love to share many things. I mean, back to reiterating what we need. We need to be in every school because we can’t make a difference if we’re not present. Right. That’s the big thing. We need to be in every school and we need to have better evidence to guide our practice. This means funding for population-based and community-based nursing practice. That includes funding for research. NASN and our National Association of School Nurses has a dataset called Every Student Counts because we’re trying to help build the bridge that connects school nursing to the rest of the health care system. You talked earlier about having a school-based health center. There are pockets of success going on around that model, but it needs to burgeon. It needs to grow and it needs funding. The other thing is we have to prioritize school nursing services in developing these collaborative health care delivery models between school health services and clinical and community health providers. Because there’s a role for everyone. It doesn’t preclude the school nurse and it doesn’t preclude having a nurse practitioner as part of the team. We are on the same team here. We’re not on opposite ends and we have to strengthen. This is one of my strongest points. We have to strengthen our collaboration with pediatric providers by maximizing technology. I cannot explain to you how antiquated our systems are. Very few school nurses and there are only a few states I can think of. And it’s very small pockets of pilots where they have bidirectional communication to share health information electronically.

Robin Cogan:
That would be the first step. It’s happening on a very limited basis in states like Delaware and Colorado. But what about the rest of the country? And this one to me is really speaking to how disconnected our health information systems are and how they’re not shared. There is an immunization registry in every single state, but they do not talk to each other. They are individual that it does not move the registry that tracks our students when they move from state to state, they don’t communicate. So these self-standing immunization registries and when you think about covid-19 and the importance of having when and hopefully very soon, our children will also be able to be immunized. Having that information in the registry if students move from state to state would be such a time saver because of this lack of bidirectional communication and that we’re not using an EMR with our primary care providers, our pediatric partners. We are asking parents to take needless time off from work to get information for us that we should be getting electronically from the providers. And they’re missing really important pieces of information like our annual screenings that we do for kids. Right now. We are relying on our parents to bring paper copies of what we do. For the most part, it’s just an old system that does not meet the needs of the twenty-first century at all.

Rebecca Love:
And to your point of what do you wish that people knew about the role of school nurses and the opportunity that exists there are those school nurses. When H1N1 became an issue, it was actually a school nurse who started identifying that something was going wrong in their neighborhood. And what you find about school nurses on the front lines is they identify the earliest outbreaks of disease among those populations that is our next generation. And when you’re thinking about your point, that school nurses really are that front door with CVS and Walgreens running it and say, hey, we’re your neighborhood partner, the truth is the most easy way to access care should not be something that’s the gatekeeper to behind a system that costs money. But school nurses that basically can be that front door. And there are so many ways that we could create new models to deliver care, telehealth services that could support the nurses that could actually be a for-profit business behind it. Everything from telehealth first to the mental support systems to triage for children that are dealing with chronic diseases that could suddenly be seen in this situation. And to your point, all of these businesses who are trying to keep their front doors opening by putting a nurse in those health care into the schools, basically health care can continue to happen and everybody can function at a higher level of health.

Robin Cogan:
And if we invest at that early stage in that generation is growing up our children, for goodness sake, investing in them to have a healthier community, everything from their weight to their mental health when you have school nurses present, along with a great support team around them, the outcomes are better for children. Not only do they do better in school academically, but they grow up with mental wellness and health support in a way that they now feel confident moving forward to address health issues that they may not have been able to do so if they didn’t have that basic understanding early on. So some of those things that we could do just to your point, is there’s a major ability for us to shift the focus as, hey, you know what? This is a for-profit health system where we simply gain access to public health needs by putting a school nurse in every school and addressing those equal access points for the democratization for all children to be able to gain access to really good care so that we can basically continue operating as a society to the top of our potential.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Wow. Amazing. And I can’t confirm that Joe Biden or Kamala Harris listens to this, but hey, maybe they do. And if they are or maybe you know them and you want to shift this episode to them. OK, so Seema Verma. I mean, I’m a fan. She’s done just an incredible job. I feel like there’s an opportunity for some change to happen with this topic, this conversation that we’re having right now with Mr. Visera, you know, at the Health and Human Services Department. I mean, these are the types of conversations that need to be shared with our Congress people, state representatives, because the dollars needed to support a program such as this is like nothing compared to the amount of money that we spend every single day on things that are not as rewarding.

Robin Cogan:
One quick story about a congresswoman. Yeah, so Ayanna Pressley, she’s very involved in adverse child experiences, and the impact of that as she was growing up, it impacted her deeply. And she tells the story. She told it on the floor of Congress that it was a school nurse who saved her, who recognized that she was being sexually abused. And she is such a proponent of school nurses. So I know that Ayanna Pressley would be a champion. And of course, we have Lauren Underwood. She is a nurse congresswoman from Illinois. She actually invited me to come to D.C. and speak at a press conference about gun violence and the impact of gun violence in schools. And the other connection of all of this, the underlying message to me, not just to me, but really the underlying message is about everybody feeling safe. We have not felt safe with coronavirus in public, in school, sometimes even at home. But I want you to understand that school safety was a concern even before COVID because of gun violence, because of community gun violence. And so there is this link between safety, between feeling safe and being safe because they are not the same thing. And I just I feel like we’re at this opportunity now to finally address these issues because that’s the great equalizer here. We might not agree in terms of how people collect guns or keep guns, but we can agree on safety. We can agree that we want our children to feel safe and be safe. So there is that link to me that links back to the coronavirus. And we have to really keep safety at the center of everything we do. So if there is not a school nurse in your building who is looking at these ever-changing CDC guidelines to know how to implement them, it’s not happening.

Saul Marquez:
Great examples. And I wasn’t aware of the state representative here in Illinois. I’m based out of Chicago.

Robin Cogan:
Warren Underwood. She’s awesome.

Saul Marquez:
Just incredible. And so if something from today’s podcast strikes a nerve or inspires you, I strongly encourage that you share it, spread the word. Don’t just let this podcast die. Help inspire others by sharing the message, because that’s how we get things done right. We act on the things that inspire us to act. And so incredible. Just incredible. And by the way, I want to plug the episodes that are coming because you have 11 more episodes after this. And the school is one of the front doors health care to find things such as child abuse, et cetera. But there’s also the E.R. We’ve got some examples, some guests that have shared the E.R. with trafficking, human trafficking. We’ve got examples of so many front doors to. Health care that we’re not considering, so I just want to put the plugin for the episodes to come, but you’re in for a great treat with this series. And so moving back to Robin and Rebecca, give us a time when you saw your nursing team provide a great solution to a problem.

Robin Cogan:
So that’s one of the things about school nurses. We work in isolation. We don’t have a team. Our team may be virtual. Our team may be a phone-a-friend. Our team maybe, oh, my God, listen to this. But we don’t have a team like we were used to in the hospital. So it actually encourages us to be McGyver every single thing we can because we have limited resources, limited supplies. Probably I would say I have two stories, I think. And this one brings me back to COVID actually and to gun violence. I’m very active on Twitter and I’m very involved in gun violence prevention. And I got a message in the middle of the night from a mom and the message said, Robin, I only have one child left. What should I do about school? So this was a mom who had two children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Her daughter was six Hannah Grace and her son was 8, Isaiah. Hannah Grace did not survive. Isaiah is now sixteen, just turned 17 and Nelva the mom reached out to me in the middle of the night with the Twitter message, a private Twitter saying, What should I do about school? So here is a mom. She knows me as a school nurse. She’s not in my community, but I could still provide school nursing care to her family in probably one of the most heart-wrenching decisions the mother could make after having the most unbelievable loss ever. And we were able to talk through it. We were able to work through it. So I guess what I want to say about school nursing is that it’s we call it population health gold because we can impact, you know, an individual person and a community almost simultaneously, which is pretty much what’s happened with COVID, actually. So that’s an example.

Saul Marquez:
A beautiful example. And I was just curious, Robin, I mean, you’re right. And is there anything out there that maybe networks all these amazing school nurses?

Rebecca Love:
Well, our National Association of School Nurses,

Saul Marquez:
Ok. There is a network.

Robin Cogan:
There is a great national association. We have state organizations. Of course, not everybody is a member. We also have national certification for school nurses so school nurses can receive with a very vigorous test and a certain number of years of experience, that level of kind of that gold standard of care. Yeah. To be nationally certified.

Saul Marquez:
Like a magnet nurse. Yeah, that’s like the school nurse. Right. OK, cool, cool, cool. Wow. Interesting. Wow. Amazing. Yeah. And the fact that you were able to just, I mean this, this grieving mom that’s like my kid needs to learn. So what do I do?

Robin Cogan:
But I’ve already lost a child.

Saul Marquez:
Right. To, to help. I mean that’s just incredible. Certainly mind-opening for me and I’m sure you’re listening to this. You’re like, wow, I didn’t even think about my son or daughter’s school nurse in this way. Let them feel appreciated. Right. Say thanks, Right. at the very minimum. So what’s a setback that you’ve experienced and a key learning that came out of it?

Robin Cogan:
So there have been setbacks. I think that the most recent setback is honestly that school nurses have been we found ourselves really in the middle of being the messenger about public health mitigation strategies that we are trying to implement in school to keep kids safe. And we are getting pushback, tremendous pushback from teachers who may think we’re not doing enough and parents who think we’re doing too much. This has caused an undercurrent of a lot of despair in the school nursing world. People feeling that they are being questioned at every decision. And, you know, the bigger message here, like the message here, is that COVID is new. And everything that we come across regarding COVID that we do today, we might have to pivot and tweak it tomorrow. And it’s misunderstood. We’re not I mean, people are still saying, well, they said we didn’t have to wear a mask back in March. Why are mass mandates still happening? So I guess what I want to say is that I think one of the big things I’ve learned we’ve learned about through COVID is that we have to be on the same page when it comes to public health messaging. We have to take the really painful lessons that we’ve learned from this most awful, most consequential time I remember ever in health care and make sure that we take a really hard look at what’s happened and where we missed the mark when it comes to community. Because, you know, COVID became a politicized event and that killed people. The fact that there are children out and I think it was Utah burning masks, there are families that are now protesting people kids wearing masks in school when we know that the mask is the one thing we can do to keep people safe. So that to me has been an area of true learning that that will be, I think when they write the history of COVID, besides all the political stuff, they’re going to look at the public health messaging missteps because that’s what we can control in the future.

Rebecca Love:
And there’s a very interesting and sad statistic right now which is showing that forty-five thousand children in the United States have lost a parent to COVID. And that number is staggering. It’s more than we’ve seen in wars of what’s going on. So these children are traumatized by both the experience of a loss of a parent and trying to operationalize and process the risk to themselves. And I think we’re all at this cusp right now. That is a vaccine start to roll out to those that are older covid in the variants going to become a disease of the young in the next coming months. We do not know. And it’s the schools that we’re trying to open and put back that it’s going to be that school nurse standing there to recognize the signs and symptoms of somebody who has a change of status going from normal to bad, from bad to worse, and being there to basically say where we need to implement testing, we need to backtrack and we need to blame Tracy. But more importantly, we need to implement stability and then a process that people can feel confident so that they can feel safe. And I think what we’re missing in this whole conversation, the mistakes that we’ve made as a country, is that in light of the ability to be free and do all these things, there is a mission of saving the soul of the country and preserving the integrity of our young to recognize that they are going through a pandemic, the worst that the world has ever seen in one hundred years.

Rebecca Love:
And really that stability of school and also that health and safety of school really is that one thing that is providing them normalcy. And what is that legacy that we’re going to leave children with, that legacy that comes next in their own security going forward? So by implementing what we can do going forward in every policy that we do, especially as we look to reopen schools one hundred percent in the fall of 2021, let’s make sure that we’ve invested in all of that is necessary to make sure that they’re successful in doing so and remembering that this is the next generation who’s going to be there to take care of all of us. And so the more that we give them now, the better we’re all going to be in the future.

Saul Marquez:
Totally. Wow. Yeah, definitely a lot to think about. And some great call ups for for for all of us. So thank you, Robin. Rebecca, for this amazing message. So those were the challenges and we still have a lot of them. But when you think about what excites you most today, what is there?

Rebecca Love:
So today I was really excited at school. We’ve been back face to face only for a few weeks. So everything we’re still in the honeymoon phase. But I have to tell you, the kids are doing great. The kids are so excited to be back at school. The kids are with their friends. There’s life back in our building. I feel like the world is going to be opening up more and more. It’s been a huge transition, with lots of pushback. But when I thought when you see the kids in their element, it looks different. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a little more sanitized. There’s not as much fun up on the walls. We have to keep all of that and everyone’s wearing a mask. But underneath that there is joy. And so that was my big takeaway for the last few weeks.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome.

Robin Cogan:
And it’s really exciting for me is for the first time what you just saw that the current Biden administration did is they have put dollars and resources to schools unlike anything we’ve ever seen in recent history, which means there’s finally funding for a school nurse to exist in every single school and at the aging breakdown of schools. And as Robin says, you should see the age of the schools that she goes into in New Jersey and the crumbling infrastructure. And finally, there is money that could be put in to do some of these things. So what I’m really excited about is that we have the opportunity to do something great here, establish a new precedent, putting public health, democratizing access to care, putting a school nurse in everyone, creating that access point so that they are the front door, and that children, the next generation are going to feel safe in schools. But I think what we have to do is we have to sit there and think to the model that you were talking about, what new models and what excites me is what new models can be created, what private-public partnerships can be established so that school nurses can exist and that we can actually do something proactive to not only preserve their health, but their mental health to discourage all of those other terrible things that have been going on in schools and funding those things that are more proactive to make sure that this next generation is not dealing with the suicide. Rates and the depression rates and all these things in the drug rates and the violence rates, the crime rates that if you put a school nurse in and their support services like mental health services around them, how you really can effectively stop these problems from happening. And right now, we took the first step that I think to your point. So it’s what is that bigger public-private partnership that we can look at to say there is nothing more important today than investing here.

Saul Marquez:
Yes, well said. Well said. And the other thing that comes to mind as an end is the mental health of the nurses providing the care.

Rebecca Love:
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
Because especially with the ratios that you just told me about right. Robin, how?

Robin Cogan:
Well, you know, it’s such a good point because we always focus on the kids and rightfully so. But in this situation, everyone’s been impacted. We have a collective trauma that we’ve experienced as a nation. And so we have to be mindful of what everybody’s bringing to school. And that’s what I’m saying. That’s what we’re seeing. We’re seeing the hesitation of some teachers really fearful to return to buildings. What may look like people putting up barriers if you just dig a little deeper. It’s fear. It’s the fact that people don’t feel safe. I go back to safety all the time. That’s the bottom line. Do you feel safe? How can we make people feel safe in those buildings, in those classrooms, in those relationships?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Wow. Wow. I’m excited about the future with this type of dialogue followed by action. So let’s take action. And today, people, when you’re listening to this and you’re inspired to do something, do it. I don’t care how small it is. Just do it. Share this with the friend. Talk to your state representative. Just do it. So, wow. Just incredible. Love this. Robin and Rebecca, before we conclude, share a closing thought with us. I know we kind of work already concluding a little bit, but give us one thing that we should be thinking about as we listen to the next 11 nurse interviews that we’re going to be having, as in this series. And then what’s the best way that the listeners can get in touch with you if they have questions or they just want to connect? Sure.

Rebecca Love:
Well, I want to tell a story from my health office.

Saul Marquez:
Please.

Robin Cogan:
I have a student who is now twenty-five. So this was at least 15 or 16 years ago. And I never I know I don’t do Facebook or anything with my students until they’re much, much older. And so a couple of years ago, he reached out and tagged me on Facebook and he did it only so that he could send me this message. He said, Yesterday, my son was sent home from school with a project to do on their superhero. So I thought I should tell you that you are mine. I never told you. But in the fourth grade, your kind words and warm hugs saved me. One morning you allowed me to sit down in your office because you knew I wasn’t having a good day the night before. That was a really bad day for me. The day we talked was the same day I planned to commit suicide. But thanks to your loving and warm felt words and hugs, I am able to be here for my son and move forward with life. Thank you so much. I kept this story inside for so long, but I wanted you to know that you matter.

Saul Marquez:
Wow, that’s just amazing, Robin. Just amazing. And a testament.

Robin Cogan:
That’s one story of one school nurse, but there’s six million of a million of which there were fifty-six thousand of us. Wow.

Rebecca Love:
I think what we learned as nurses is that it’s these random moments that may seem insignificant, that are so significant to people’s lives. And if there is one way that I would ask for the community, Robin knows this, we’re and you’re going to be talking about it but May 14 through 16 2021, we are doing the nurse hackathon for health. And one of those is developing new models of care. And I would love it if you would engage or people would show up and actually come forward and help school nurses, because I’m hoping tons of school nurses are going to come to this hackathon and say, here’s what I need. Here are the problems we’re facing. Help me create a solution. Because to your point, we can’t just have these conversations anymore. We can’t just talk about everything that’s wrong. We have to create solutions. And that’s how I would love you to engage in continuous tech for help. Reach out to Robin on her Twitter handle. Robyn, what is your Twitter handle?

Robin Cogan:
My Twitter is my name @RobinCogan and I do write a blog called The Relentless School Nurse.

Rebecca Love:
Which you should follow. And with me, reach out on LinkedIn. And I’m also @NurseInnovation on Twitter. But the truth is, is that we need your help. Nurses today, not only in schools but in health care systems across the country, need the support of our community to keep stepping into that front line, crossing that risk, and then going back the next day. So if you could help us create the solutions, we’d be forever grateful. And the truth is, we promised we’re going to pay it forward however we can to make sure that society and health just keep getting better.

Saul Marquez:
Beautiful. Well, I want to thank you both, Rebecca and Robin, for just an amazing conversation. Literally. Robin, you were sharing your story and my heart was just oh, my gosh. It was just like pounding so hard. And so the difference that you are making is huge. Keep up the amazing work. If you’re a nurse listening to this, keep up the amazing work. Right. Yeah. And so this is the first of 12 hope everybody tunes in for the rest of them. It’s going to be a blast. So big thanks to Rebecca and Robin today. Thank you so much.

Robin Cogan:
Thank you. And thank you, Rebecca, for including me. And thank you all for this amazing experience.

Rebecca Love:
I am so lucky. Thank you so much, Saul and Robin. You guys just always shaped the world and the conversation in ways I don’t think about. So thank you for having us.

Saul Marquez:
Thanks for tuning in to the SONSIEL Nurse Leadership series for the Show notes and to learn more about how you could have nurses join your mission, visit us at OutcomesRocket.Health/SONSIEL. all. That’s OutcomesRocket.Health/SONSIEL.

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you’d love including advanced search, enterprise-grade admin tools, automated translation, world-class support, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.


Things You’ll Learn

  • School nurses have this unique ability to have relationships with young people in their families for up to six years and a period of time.
  • We need to be in every school because we can’t make a difference if we’re not present.
  • We have to strengthen our collaboration with pediatric providers by maximizing technology
  • School is one of the front doors of health care.
  • School nursing is called population health gold because we can impact an individual person and a community almost simultaneously
  • We have to be on the same page when it comes to public health messaging. 
  • Let’s make sure that we’ve invested in all of that is necessary to make sure that they’re successful in doing so and remembering that this is the next generation who’s going to be there to take care of all of us. And so the more that we give them now, the better we’re all going to be in the future.
  • We can’t just have these conversations anymore. We can’t just talk about everything that’s wrong. We have to create solutions. 
  • Nurses today, not only in schools but in health care systems across the country, need the support of our community to keep stepping into that front line, crossing that risk, and then going back the next day

 

Resources

https://sonsiel.org/

Robin’s blog: https://relentlessschoolnurse.com/therelentlessblog/

Robin’s Twitter: @RobinCogan

Robin’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-cogan-med-rn-ncsn-0b046b53/

Rebecca’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-love-rn-msn-fiel/

Rebecca’s Twitter: @NurseInnovation