Sonoma County Office of Education

SCOE Hosts Nursing Academy

08/04/2017 -

Donna Bassett presents at School Nurse Academy SCOE had the honor of acting as one of three pilot sites in Northern California for a summer school nurse academy. Created by the California School Nurse Organization (CSNO), the academy was meant to help new school nurses succeed.

School nurses must obtain a credential in addition to their registered nurse license. This academy is designed for nurses new to the school setting who have not yet begun a credential program.

“School nursing is a complex job requiring knowledge of the law, public health, and pediatric/teen health - we're not just first aid providers!” said Donna Bassett, a SCOE Special Ed nurse who organized the training. “We are hired into the same union and pay scale as teachers, but there is no orientation/mentor program for school nurses that compares to…new teacher programs. This academy is intended to help nurses get an overview of the law and requirements for their jobs, and to connect them with mentors and peers who can support them through their career.”

Fourteen nurses attended the 60-hour training, which spanned three face-to-face meetings as well as online hours. CSNO developed the academy to meet a need to orient, prepare, and keep school nurses in the field. SCOE, along with Hanford and Sacramento counties, served as pilots for the program, which will be repeated in the fall.

“I was thrilled to be able to support the new nurses in this way,” Ms. Bassett said. “We have a grassroots organization, the Sonoma County School Nurse Association (SCSNA) that meets monthly for collegial support, education, and networking, but it wasn't able to address the need for orientation to this complex job.” She thanked SCOE leadership, including County Superintendent Steve Herrington and Associate Superintendent John Laughlin, for providing a space for the training and helping spread the word to school districts.

“I was very impressed by the professionalism of the nurses in Sonoma County schools,” Ms. Bassett said. “The nurses are all independent and strong thinkers and just want to provide standardized care to the students they serve. Nurses come to school nursing from other job sites and usually take a huge pay cut to enter the school system from the private sector. They are committed to serving kids!”