On July 4, 1968, the National Education Association established the Department of School Nurses (DSN), an association dedicated to the advancement of school nursing practice and the health of school-age children. In July of 1969, the DSN held their first annual meeting in Philadelphia. Their ultimate purpose was to improve the quality of school nursing, to upgrade the skills of school nurses and to further the abilities of all children to succeed in the classroom.
A nationwide survey sent later that year, specified that the number one goal of the DSN was the establishment of school nurse credentialing standards in all states. Over the next few years, this goal was accomplished state by state. Throughout the 1970's, each state established its own school nurses association under the umbrella of the Department of School Nurses. In 1974, President Ford proclaimed the fourth Wednesday in January as National School Nurse Day. School nurses are now nationally recognized and celebrated for contributing to the health and well being of the nation's students.
With the goals of the DSN coming into clearer focus, committees began to form, policy statements were written and candidates were elected to executive offices. The DSN continued to expand until finally in 1979, the group became their own entity separate from the National Education Association. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) was incorporated that year and remains, the largest association of school nurses and the hub for state affiliate associations.
Through its history, NASN has emerged to lead the transformation of school health. Partnering with national health organizations, NASN continues to strengthen its membership, develop educational programs, resources, and research, and influence stakeholders support for school nursing through advocacy. NASN supports school nurse objectives by publishing issue briefs and position statements on subjects affecting student health and school nursing to keep members updated on aspects affecting their school communities.