Wow, the first month of school has been crazy busy. Between going back to work in my Elementary school clinic, my graduate school classes kicking back up, and my two kids in middle school, things have been hectic! I have not been blogging as much as I would like, but I will be back once things settle down in a few weeks.
In the meantime, check out a new blog from School Nurse BrennaQ. You can also follow Brenna here on Twitter.
And for my fellow Informatics Nurses out there, if you haven’t already, you should join the American Nursing Informatics Association, aka ANIA. They have some great resources on their website, including a vast online library where you can access CE offerings and archived webinars. They are also on social media, so check out their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. Social Media is a great avenue to connect with fellow Nurse colleagues!
In a really neat twist, my two worlds of School Nursing and Informatics have something in common this week. My school district recently updated their website, which I love, and today they added an interactive dashboard:
So how does this relate to my Healthcare Informatics studies at SBMI? This semester I am taking a class on data visualization, and we are going to learn how to design dashboards and other interactive displays. So far the classes have been very interesting. It’s great that I have a real world example that is personal to me to refer back to. This dashboard got me to thinking about my school clinic data, and how I could develop an interactive dashboard with Tableau once I get more comfortable with the program. More projects to work on!
It has been a great first week of school so far. It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things after being off since early June! But It is so nice to see my students again. Part of the fun of working in an Elementary school is that the kids are just so darn cute. My boys are both in middle school now, so I enjoy getting to still interact with the littles. Granted, this week has been busy- getting the clinic schedule organized is always a challenge, and the first week of school is a lot of late evenings getting medications, procedures, tube feedings, health plans and other MD orders put into the computer. But once all that busy work is done, I can start to feel a little more settled in the clinic. Until flu season begins, I suppose.
Another cool thing that happened is that I was asked by the Johnson & Johnson Nursing Notes Live podcast to give an interview about School Nursing. I’m a huge fan of podcasts, and I listen to several on a regular basis (Gallifrey Public Radio and StarTalk are my current favorites), but being the subject of the interview was a first for me. It was great to be able to share what School Nurses do, and how we help impact the health and wellness of our students. I really enjoyed the experience.
If all that wasn’t enough, I started the fall semester in my graduate program at SBMI. Three semesters down, four to go! I’m really excited to be taking a class about data visualization, and will be learning how to use Tableau. Apparently pie charts are really bad, and shouldn’t be used. Who knew?
Ever wonder just how many students a School Nurse might see in a year? Or how many medications she might give? How about the percentage of students who return to class?
At my elementary school campus, at the beginning of each year I prepare a report for the staff that covers some stats from the past school year. Check it out here. I give a more in-depth report to my Administrators periodically during the school year as well, but this will give you an idea of what type of data School Nurses collect in their day to day work. Having an electronic health record system for all of our students really helps in that process as well.
School Nurses out there, how do you share your data with your campuses? I’d love to hear how you get the info out there, and if you use electronic health records.
So I’ve spent a lot of time this week getting my school clinic ready. School starts on August 25th, and I am excited to see all of my students again! I have a clinic blog over there that I have recently started, called Nurse Notes. I am trying to come up with a way to get information out to our parents without overwhelming them with paper, as well as keeping my school website uncluttered. It’s a work in progress. NASN has a great Back to School checklist for parents that I have over there. Thanks for checking my school blog out!
It’s been a busy summer. Pretty soon it will be back to school time, and I will be getting my clinic ready, as well as starting another semester of graduate school. I’ll have an update soon, but here’s a sneak peak at where I was a few weeks ago…
I was SO NERVOUS when we took this picture. We were about to start our presentation titled “Making Effective Use of Electronic Student Health Data”, and as our School Nurse colleagues filed in to take a seat, we took this selfie and posted it to the #NASN Twitter feed. It helped to settle my butterflies somewhat.
My mind went from “What if no one shows up?” to “Oh thank goodness, some people have arrived” to “OMG there are a LOT of people in here now” in the 10 minutes before the presentation started. Once my colleague Yvonne started talking I scanned the audience for familiar faces, and was comforted to see several. By the time it was my turn to speak, I was much calmer and focused, and I actually surprised myself by being able to talk “about” the slides, as opposed to just reading from my notes. All in all I’m happy with the presentation, and I am glad we decided to speak on this topic. Sometimes people glaze over when I start talking to them about EHR’s and data, but the Nurses who attended the presentation were interested in the topic and asked great questions. Yeah for data geeks like me!
I saw a lot of great presentations at this conference. Among my favorites were:
Ordinary School Nurses are Extraordinary Leaders.Two past NASN Presidents spoke during this session, and I really enjoyed the contrast between their presentation styles. They talked about different leadership styles, and how “all School Nurses are leaders”. Inspiring stuff.
One highlight for me during the NASN conference was the poster session. As part of the Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership team from Klein ISD, we have all spent many hours working on our Enduring Change project. Our team decided to present a poster about our project, to gain experience with presenting in a professional setting as well as share the progress we have made with our initiative.
I did not realize until we started to work on the poster content that everything would be digital, and the “poster” would in fact be created using Power Point and displayed on a large TV screen. (The digital nerd in me was super impressed). After MANY revisions, we were happy with the final product, and felt the red background of the J&J template worked well with the graphic that our team member Yvonne designed. The day of the poster session we assembled our team (in matching Klein ISD Health Services shirts!) to answer questions from the attendees and hand out info related to our poster and project.
We were honored to win an award for our poster in the Health Promotion category, and I don’t think Brittany took the award ribbon off all night!
I attended all three of the poster sessions, and really enjoyed the experience. There were posters on research studies, posters on long term projects like ours, posters about students with rare medical conditions, posters on school wellness initiatives, and posters on smaller projects that School Nurses had completed on their own individual campuses. Creating a poster seems like an intimidating prospect, but it really is not! On my own campus, I can think of a few programs we have done that could be poster worthy: the yearly Health Fair, our “Walk to School Day” in the fall, the “Bubble Patrol” that rewards students for good handwashinghabits, and our use of websites and social media to keep in touch with our parents.
The point is that as School Nurses we are already participating in poster-worthy projects on a daily basis in our clinics. Presenting a poster at your state or national conference is a great way to be recognized for all your hard work, and champion your projects. It also gives you a tremendous sense of satisfaction to see all of your hard work and efforts reflected on a fancy digital screen for all the world to see.
What poster-worthy project can you think of from your own campus? Consider sharing it at your next conference!