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  • OASN Conference Recap

    Highlights from the OASN conference include having AAP and Everytown for Gun Safety present. 

  • Recepient of NEOASN Scholarship for National School Nurse Ceritification

    Congratulations to Lisa Biasi, BSN, RN, LSN! She is the recipient of the NEOASN Scholarship for National School Nurse Certification! 

    The registration window for summer testing is open until June 7, 2024. Exam dates are between July 8 - August 11, 2024. For more information, please visit NBCSN.

    Wondering what a test question is like? Here is a sample question from the NBCSN website.

  • Dr. Sroka Highlights School Nurse Role at National Conference

    Dr. Sroka keynoted the National School Safety and Security Conference in collaboration with the National Association of School Nurses on May 9, 2024, in San Diego. ABC 10 News in San Diego ran a story about it.

  • OASN School Nurse Administrator of the Year

    Mary Schatz, MSN, RN, LSN, Nurse Manager of Akron Children’s Hospital School Health Services, is this year’s Ohio Association of School Nurses 2024 School Nurse Administrator of the Year.  Mary has been a pediatric nurse for over 23 years. She became a school nurse in 2009 and went on to become the Nurse Manager for Health Services. She oversees 200 staff members across 43 school districts, creating standardized operations to promote safety and improve student outcomes. Her collaboration with school partners and community resources supports the OASN mission that a healthy student is one who is ready to learn.

    “I am truly honored with being awarded the School Nurse Administrator of the Year for the state of Ohio.”, said Schatz. “This recognition is extremely close to my heart as it came from my staff.  My staff are my world and push me to be better every day.  I could not be the leader I am without them.  A healthy child is one that is ready to learn.  A school nurse supports that child in being a healthy child.  Student outcomes are impacted by school nurses!  Strive to make that impact every day!,”

    Mary will be recognized and receive her award at the Annual Ohio Association of School Nurses’ conference on April 19, 2024 at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio.  

  • OASN School Nurse of the Year

    Virginia Shaffer, MS, BSN, RN, LSN is this year’s Ohio Association of School Nurses 2024 School Nurse of the Year. Virginia is the Diabetes Resource Nurse for the Columbus Public School District. She has been a licensed school nurse for 14 years, effectively holding positions as a building nurse for students in the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels. She provided care for students who were medically complex, students from other countries, and students with special education needs. As the Diabetes Resource Nurse she coordinates evidence-based care for 180 students with diabetes, provides staff education and training, supports students with diabetes and their families, and acts as the liaison between school administrators and community healthcare providers. 

    "I am extremely honored and grateful to be named Ohio School Nurse of the Year.", said Virginia. "I work with a tremendous group of school nurses in Columbus City Schools and in the state of Ohio.  I am passionate about serving our children and am humbled to be recognized by my peers for this award. I am blessed to have colleagues that acknowledge my dedication and constantly inspire me to continue doing this important work."

    Virginia will be recognized and receive her award at the Annual Ohio Association of School Nurses’ conference on April 19, 2024 at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio.  

  • OASN Annual Conference 2024

    Another year in the books! "Great Educational Programming!" Wonderful Venue!! Great Food! and Helpful Partners!! 

    These are just a few of the comments participants contributed as they evaluated the conference held at Sawmill Creek Hotel & Conference Center April 19-21.

    A special thank you to our planning Committee: Chairperson, VP Shiloh Cahill, (NWOASN), Laurie Gladieux and Colleen Ryan

    OASN provided 14 hours and 45 minutes of CNE for attendees that participated in the whole conference. Evaluations are being reviewed to make plans for future programming. Look for a survey to go out to as many nurses as we can contact in an effort for the new board to get feedback for future planning. The Board is determined to continue to keep our future bright creative new programming. 

    For those that attended, presentations are still accessible by going to the confirmed registration link and look for meeting presentations in the black tab. 

    Other resources are available on the website: Every Student Counts, Oral Health Ohio Strategic Plan, and Summer Camp opportunities for Students and Nurses.

    We will also be adding some web links for some of our prominent partners.

    Keynote speaker, Dr. Sroka with some new and old friends.
  • Children's Vision Inititative

    The state announced Tuesday it has funded the Children's Vision Initiative to cover the costs of about 4,000 comprehensive eye exams and glasses to Ohio K-12 students not currently receiving vision care. Issued by the Office of Budget & Management, the funding was authorized in the current two-year state budget (HB 33 ). "Clear vision so very important for student success as our children progress through school and learn to read," Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement. "We want all of Ohio's children to have the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential, and this program will make a significant difference in the lives of children whose families are otherwise unable to access vision care." The program is administered by the Ohio Optometric Foundation.

  • Ideastream Public Radio Publicizes the Value of NE School Nurses

    Nurse Megan Szalay's office inside Bristol High School in Bristolville can get busy between stomach aches and bumps and bruises. On one day in November, she had to tend to one student accidentally hit in the head with a racket in gym class.

    Nurse Megan, as the students call her, is the sole health care professional for the 550 students at Bristol Local School District's only building which also includes an attached elementary school.

    When Ideastream Public Media visited in early November, most students who came by Szalay's office just needed to lie down for a moment or something as simple as Tylenol. But there are more serious issues she tends to.

    Kindergartner Isaiah stopped in complaining of a hurt knee after he fell off his bike. While it seems like a minor issue, Szalay explained Isaiah has hemophilia, a rare disorder where a person's blood doesn't clot properly. Even something simple like a cut can lead to a trip to the emergency room for Isaiah.

    "The dog jumped up and bumped him, and he ended up in the ICU for, how long were you in the hospital that time?" Szalay asked him.

    "That was two days," he responded.

    Szalay keeps an eye on dozens of students with more serious conditions like Isaiah’s.

    "We have one, two, three seizure disorders," she said, counting medications in her cabinets. "We have quite a few EpiPens. We have inhalers."

    According to the National Association of School Nurses, only about 66 percent of all schools have access to a full-time nurse; that number is 11 percent lower when it comes to rural schools like Bristol. Schools across Northeast Ohio engage in a balancing act when it comes to staffing their buildings with health professionals, weighing things like the cost and the number of students with chronic illnesses they serve.

    Different school nursing models; what works?

    Szalay said Bristol did not have a nurse before she arrived several years ago. Before that, students were getting aid from the front office assistants. Christine Rogen, with the Ohio Association of School Nurses, said the way schools approach nurse staffing runs the gamut.

    "We are seeing one registered nurse per building," she said. "We're seeing one registered nurse covering multiple buildings. And then there might be that registered nurse supervising the LPN (licensed practical nurse) or an aide, an educational aide or a medical aid or health aide."

    Szalay - who's been a nurse for 23 years, 13 of which was spent as a trauma nurse - was placed at Bristol schools through a school health program at Akron Children’s Hospital.

    Michele Wilmoth, director of school health services for Akron Children’s Hospital, said they partner with 43 school districts in Northeast Ohio to provide school nurses and other health services. Schools pay the nurses per hour, while the hospital system covers their ongoing training.

    "There has been a gap in school nursing services in our area of the state," Wilmoth said.

    Having this healthcare access in school buildings, Wilmoth said, is a way to catch problems early and to connect students with resources in the broader hospital system more quickly.

    "This is an intervention in health equity, making sure that our patient population, who live, learn and play in schools are cared for and receive quality care where they spend the most time," she said. "And so it really translates to better health in our communities."

    It can be expensive for schools to pay for a full-time, licensed nurse in every building, however some of the region’s urban districts like Akron, Canton and Cleveland all do. But there are other ways to approach school health needs.

    Katy Corrigan, the district nurse for Lakewood City School District, oversees health aides – who are not licensed or registered nurses - at Lakewood’s 12 schools. There's one aide per school buildings for the full school day, and she trains them to administer medicine, do basic aid and CPR. She thinks districts only need one licensed nurse.

    "You're way overqualified, way over-educated to be in a position all day long sitting in an elementary school or middle school or high school," she said.

    Christine Rogen, with the Ohio Association of School Nurses, said she disagrees with that notion. She said the National Association of School Nurses is calling for a grant program, called the One School, One Nurse Act, to be approved federally to ensure there is a registered nurse at every school. She said her additional training and education as a registered nurse, and as a licensed school nurse through the state of Ohio, has been key in her job as a nurse at Orange City School District.

    "Being a school nurse is actually a specialty practice of nursing," she said. "So it does take some additional knowledge and and skill."

    Rogen said there's not much research in the area of what the best model is for nurse staffing in buildings. She said the need depends on what students' needs are.

    "Some districts need more than one RN in a building, just in one building alone," she said.

    Why are nurses important?

    Rogen said school nurses in general help reduce student absence rates. The vast majority of students seen by a nurse - about 87% - are sent back to the classroom instead of home, Rogen said, citing National Association of School Nurses data. That means nurses contribute significantly to making sure students don't lose learning time, she said. Nurses also manage vaccinations and vision screening.

    "It's just such a nice full circle because you see them get their glasses and boy, their whole learning experience opens up," she said.

    Bernetta Wiggins, executive director of Cleveland Metropolitan School District's integrated health system, said her school district sees a major benefit to having a full-time LPN or RN in each building. She said it gives parents peace of mind that their children are well taken-care of by professionals at school.

    "This helps parents also with transportation and not having to leave work (for medical consultation)," Wiggins said.

    But there’s another important aspect that some might miss. At Bristol Local School District, sixth grader Kali visits Nurse Megan Szalay often. She has Type 1 diabetes, so she checks in with Szalay frequently, who even helps her monitor things like the amount of carbs she can eat at lunch. It’s not easy for Kali, but she said having Szalay to talk to helps. Szalay's daughter has diabetes, too.

    Ryan Loew/Ideastream Public Media
    Megan Szalay, the school nurse for the Bristol Local School District in Trumbull County, stands for a photo on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.

    "We don't always talk diabetes. Actually, that's probably the least that we talk about," Szalay said.

    So what do they talk about?

    "Basically anything and everything," Kali said, including her two horses, Cici and Cricket.

    Sometimes being a school nurse is about more than just physical health, Szalay said. It’s about providing a reassuring presence to students, to know they always have someone in their corner.

    Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.
  • Lake County School Nurse Saves 3rd Grader's Life

    CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WOIO) - A third grader at Parkside Elementary School had a near-death experience.

    The child’s mom is thanking the school nurse who made a life-saving discovery.

    Her mother, Kassie Machado, now advocates for schools to have nurses.

    She believes they are a must.

    “I really can’t express this enough... I wish every school would have a school nurse because if she hadn’t been here, it would not have been caught and I could have lost my little girl,” said Machado.

    Rachel Ocampo, the school’s licensed nurse, told Machado she needed to get her daughter, Mia, to the doctor right away.

    She believed she was anemic.

    The doctor confirmed she was.

    “I took her up to Senders Pediatrics and they took one look at her and said she needs to go to the ER now. I took her up. They drew her blood. They came back with her hemoglobin at a level three. They told me she could have not just woken up if we had not brought her in,” said Machado.

    “When she came in, I took one look at her and said, ‘lie down.’ She had no blood vessels underneath her eyes... No redness. Her fingers - there was no cap refill,” described Ocampo.

    With her knowledge and expertise, Ocampo was quickly able to identify the signs of anemia.

  • Teacher credits school nurse for saving his life.

    TOLEDO, Ohio — Waite High School history teacher, Joe Boyle, is many things.

    An enthusiastic history buff and an avid Cleveland sports fan. And like the superheroes he also loves so much, he doesn't shy away from a battle.

    "I was diagnosed with cancer almost 13 years ago," Boyle said. "I have kidney cancer that's metastasized from top to bottom. Brain, lip, lungs, thumb, hips, leg and I think that's it."It's a fight that hasn't been easy, but you'd never know it.

    "It is very inspiring for me to see someone who has been through so much to keep working hard every day and being here for our students," Waite's school nurse, Shiloh Cahill said.

    Most days, you can find Boyle in his classroom.

    "I've been able to build a wall between sick Joe and teacher Joe," he said.

    But that wall came down while he was grading papers and planning lessons.

    He started coughing up blood.

    "Teacher Joe was very sick Joe at work and that was kind of a frightening moment for me," Boyle said.

    He made it to the school nurse's office but said he didn't remember much once he got there.

    "It was a large scary amount of blood that he was coughing up," Cahill said. "I knew that he was on a blood thinner because he had prepared me for that. I knew that we needed to get help immediately, there was no time to waste."

    Time as an ICU nurse prepared Cahill to keep his airways clear until the ambulance got there.

    "Fire and EMS got here. They transported me and I can tell you exactly where I was when I was sure I was going to die," said Boyle. "That was on the middle of the King Bridge," Boyle said.

    He said his next clear memory was waking up in Cleveland. Doctors told him an artery had given way and that one of his lungs had partially collapsed because of it.

    He said Cahill and the other staff in the health center were the real superheroes that day.

    "Big emergencies happen when you have this many people in a building together," said Cahill. "To have someone here who knows what to do in an emergency can make all the difference. Minutes count in an emergency."

    Those minutes, the quick actions of others and the knowledge of Joe's cancer are what saved his life.

    "Going to work every day is pretty easy when you know that everybody is there to take care of each other," Boyle said.

    He said this experience has shown him how important the staff at the Health Center are because there are schools in our area that do not have full-time nurses in their buildings.

  • NASN Clinical Practice Guidelines

    NASN has the following Clinical Practice Guidelines for nurses working in school. These guidelines can help inform school district policies and your practice.

    • Students with Allergies & Risk for Anaphylaxis
    • Students with Type 1 Diabetes
    • Medication Administration in Schools
    • Students with Epilepsy and Seizures

    You can find these guidelines when you log into the NASN website and go to Resources-Clinical Practice Guidelines.

  • Sarah's Law for Seizure Safe Schools

    Legislative Update for OASN: House Bill 33 requires each public and chartered nonpublic school to create an individualized seizure action plan for each enrolled student who has an active seizure disorder diagnosis. It must be created by the school nurse in collaboration with student's parent/guardian.

    Here is a brief synopsis of HB33 to assist you with implementation.

    ORC 3313.7117. Individualized seizure action plans/Sarah’s Law
    Summary of items outlined in the law:
    1. Individualized Seizure Action Plans
    1.1. Effective Oct. 3, 2023.
    1.2. Requires a school nurse (or another school employee designated by a school if there is no
    school nurse employed by the school) to collaborate with the parents/guardian to create an
    individualized seizure action plan (SAP) which will include:
    1.2.1. A written signed request by the parent/guardian to have one or more drugs prescribed
    for a seizure disorder administered to the student.
    1.2.2. A written statement by the treating practitioner for drug information for each drug
    prescribed in accordance with ORC 3313.713.
    1.2.3. “Active seizure disorder diagnosis” means epilepsy diagnosis currently documented by a
    treating healthcare provider/prescriber.
    1.3. The school nurse or a school administrator, if a school does not employ a school nurse, shall
    notify all employees, contractors and volunteers that work with the student of the SAP if they do
    any of the following:
    1.3.1. Regularly interact with the student.
    1.3.2. Have legitimate educational interest or is responsible for direct supervision.
    1.3.3. Is responsible for transportation.
    1.4. The school nurse (or alternative employee) will notify all school employees, contractors and
    volunteers who regularly interact with the student in writing of the existence and content of the
    seizure action plan.
    1.5. The school nurse (or alternative employee) coordinates seizure disorder care at the school and
    ensures all staff who interact with the student receive necessary training.
    1.6. Schools and districts must renew each seizure action plan at the beginning of each school year.
    1.7. Schools are responsible for maintaining the seizure action plan in the school nurse or
    administrator’s office.
    2. Seizure Training Requirements
    2.1. The school nurse or a school administrator, if a school does not employ a school nurse, shall
    identify the individuals who must have training for administration of the seizure drugs.
    2.1.1. A drug prescribed for seizure disorder care will be provided to the school nurse or
    another person at the school (if the school does not employ a school nurse) who is
    trained to administer the drug to the student. The drug will be provided in the container
    in which it was dispensed by the prescriber or licensed pharmacist.
    2.2. A school district or governing authority of a chartered nonpublic school shall designate at least
    one employee at each school building it operates, in addition to the school nurse, to be trained
    on the implementation of seizure action plans every two years and the training must address:
    2.2.1. Recognizing s/s of a seizure.
    2.2.2. The appropriate treatment for treating a student who exhibits the s/s of a seizure.
    2.2.3. Administering drugs prescribed for seizure disorder.
    2.2.4. Will not exceed 1 hour and will count toward PD for renewal of educator licenses (free of
    2.3. Additionally, the following positions employed by a school must receive a minimum of 1 hour of
    training (self-study or live) on seizure disorder by October 3, 2025:
    2.3.1. Administrator.
    2.3.2. Guidance counselor.
    2.3.3. Teacher.
    2.3.4. Bus driver.
    2.4. Administrators, guidance counselors, teachers and bus drivers employed after October 3, 2023
    must complete the training within 90 days of employment.

    Please read the HB 33 Legislative Update for OASN for more details. Estimated Effective Date October 2, 2023.

    Below are some helpful resources: 

    Epilepsy Foundation

    Epilepsy Courses for School Nurses

    On-Demand Seizure First Aid Training for School Personnel

    Rescue Video Medication Demonstrations