Colorado School Nurses Speak Up for School Wellness at State Capitol
February 21, 2012 | Written By: Healthy Schools Campaign
by Donna Fishman
HSC is pleased to be partnering with the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Health Foundation for the Colorado School Nurse Leadership Institute, a three-day leadership training for Colorado’s school nurses. The first day of training in October 2011 was led with the wisdom and expertise of national school nurse educators Phyllis Pelt and Martha Bergren as well as Cody Belzley from the Colorado Children’s Campaign.
Last month, we held the second day of this training at the Colorado Department of Education, across the street from the beautiful state capitol. Belzley returned to educate the participants on the legislative process and essential advocacy skills, which were put to work at the State Assembly soon thereafter. A panel of two state representatives and one state senator shared their passion, key legislation, and tips for having an impact on legislators with the school nurses. Representatives Tom Massey and Cindy Acree as well as Senator Jeanne Nicholson participated in the panel discussion.
Sen. Nicholson is a former school nurse and really connected with the nurses as a colleague who has used her leadership skills to create state-level policies. She was a great role model for the nurses.
“I will now be more engaged in what is going on at the state level and will contact my representatives and state my concerns when I feel something needs to be done,” said one nurse who participated in the session.
Rounding out our training was a presentation on leadership by Mary Anne Wesoloski, a school nurse in Barrington, Ill., who completed the School Nurse Leadership Program back in 2008. Mary Anne has taken on a prominent role in advocating for school wellness in her school district and shared the many exciting initiatives she founded included a walking path and walking school bus. Mary Anne exemplifies the leadership undertaken by our School Nurse Leadership graduates.
“This training is amazing. I am so lucky to be part of this team. This feels life-changing to me,” said a school nurse participant after the presentation.
School nurses are phenomenal advocates for school wellness. This institute challenges school nurses to go above and beyond to showcase their remarkable leadership on school and community health.
As one nurse put it: “This training has really stretched my brain and made me think about what I can do.”
Kudos to all of the Colorado school nurses who are taking part in the Colorado School Nurse Leadership Institute.