Consultants in Action

Diabetes Competency Framework for the School Personnel

Kathleen Patrick, retired state school nurse consultant from Colorado, collaborated with expert diabetes nurses on a framework outlining the knowledge and skills needed to care for students with diabetes by various individuals in the school setting. Competency skills were determined for the Health Aide, School Nurse and Diabetes Resource Nurse using the Dephi Method which is a consensus building technique. The results were published in the Journal of School Health in June 2019. The title of the article is Equipping School Health Personnel for Diabetes Care with a Competency Framework and Pilot Education Program.

Berget Cari, Nii Pamela, Wyckoff Leah, Patrick Kathleen, Brooks-Russell Ashley, Messer Laurel. (2019). Equipping School Health Personnel for Diabetes Care with a Competency Framework and Pilot Education Program. Journal of School Health. 89. 10.1111/josh.12806.

Retired member and former NASSNC president publishes a Resource Manual

Jessica Gerdes collaborated with a colleague on a book on the role of the school nurse in the special education process. “Special Education and School Nurses” was published July 2019.  The book can serve as a refresher/resource for the experienced school nurse and as a manual for the new school nurse, or a school nurse newly assigned to special education evaluation duties.  It can be used by the SSNC as an accompanying text to a school nurse certification or training program.

Special Education and School Nurses: From Assessments to IEPs, by Frances Belmonte-Mann, MA RN & Jessica H. Gerdes, MS RN (July 2019).  Available by purchase from the publishing website,, or other booksellers.  (e-book or soft cover) 





Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Better Schools, Better Communities for a Healthier America

New Orleans, Oct. 2-3, 2019

 L-R State SN Consultant Colleagues, Ann Nichols (NC), Christie Butler (TN), Lead FoN:CfA – Dr. Susan Hassmiller, Barbara Spaw (MO), Sharonlee Trefry (VT)

The VT focus for this year is retaining the RNs who are new to School Nursing. Membership in my state affiliate, NASN, and NASSNC made it possible to attend this meeting. Wouldn’t it be nice if all SNs in our states would have access to that path through membership in their organizations? 
Below are some key takeaways: 
  • This Public Policy Institute, Center to Champion Nursing in America has been in the works since 2010 (officially 2011/12) as a result of the 2010 IOM report on the Future of Nursing. Several states created active teams to stay involved. Dr. Susan Hassmiller is the director of this project, present in NOLA. Better Schools, Better Communities for a Healthier America in New Orleans.
  • Partnerships are key: NASN + AARP + RWJF + NAM, Paramount Schools of Excellence – Paramount [school] Health Data Project, Trevor Project, state ANA chapters, Rush University, (other university nurse educators), several school nurses, and five SSNCs: NC, MI, TN, AL, &VT, School-Based Health Alliance, NAMI, Association of Recovery in Higher Education, medical director of Kaiser Permanente’s community health program, director of that school’s Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness, and chair of the nurse directed section of the American College Health Association.
  • All partners spoke to the crucial role of school nurses in addressing upstream solutions to chronic health condition management though the biggest focus was on health equity and other social determinants of health, mental health, and substance abuse prevention.
  • You have a voice: inviting yourself to the table is a good thing.
  • Dr. Hassmiller wrapped up the meeting asking for a to-do list for her and our own to-do lists in our organizations.
    • Use data and stories; work together, remember other partners
    • Work towards a national platform integrating Title V, Surgeon General recommendations, EPSDT, USPTF screening recommendations, and others, that puts children’s health first and includes a revised funding stream, national standards for school health across the nation, and accountability for student health outcomes.
    • Advocate for SSNC in every state through NASSNC’s Membership Committee works and revising our resources for states that request input on the value & role of SSNC.
    • Advocate for students to have access to a school nurse every day, all day.


2018 Iowa Public Health Association Lillian Wald Award

On April 10, 2018 our own Melissa Walker was nominated and will be receiving the 2018 Iowa Public Health Association Lillian Wald Award.  Below, see more information on why she was nominated for this award:



Melissa Walker has been the Iowa Department of Education School Nurse Consultant since 2013. Melissa advocates, educates, and articlulates the importance of school health services and the role of school nurses to all. Melissa has the ability to address questions and concerns regarding individual students and also able to extrapolate her response to the larger population of students or a community. Melissa influences the health of individuals and larger populations by serving as a liaison between Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Iowa School Nurse Organization for a variety of school health education efforts and public policy issues such as epi-pen legislation. Ultimately, Melissa’s past, ongoing, and current efforts impact the daily practice of Iowa school nurses and more importantly influence the overall health of Iowa. In recognition of Lillian Wald, founder of public health nursing, who sent Lina Rogers, the first school nurse sent into schools to improve health, I do not know of anyone more deserving of the Lillian Wald Award other than Melissa Walker.


Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Program

November 2016

Renae Sisk, State School Nurse Consultant from North Dakota, was part of the first ever North Dakota team to participate in the Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Program.  The Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Program is a fellowship program designed by Rutgers, Center of Alcohol Studies in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson. This nationally recognized fellowship program includes curriculum and opportunities designed to empower school nurses and their community/administrative partners to become leaders within their community’s educational and health services teams to improve student health practices. All education offered through the program is in partnership with the National Association for School Nurses (NASN).  Team North Dakota conducted a needs assessment in their community prior to attending the program.  Based on this needs assessment, the team was able to develop and implement an enduring change plan.  Each team who attended had unique needs in their community; therefore, each enduring change plan was different.  Renae stated, “it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to attend this prestigious program.  The leadership skills that we learned from the curriculum and staff were excellent.  This program not only helped us pin point what our community needs truly were, but it also helped us build partnerships and collaborate with various people and entities.  I am so thankful we were accepted and able to participate in this great program”. 

For more information you can visit this website: