• President’s Update

    A Brief Look at 2023: WOW—What a Year—and More to Come!

    From: Stephanie Coker, BSN, RN, NCSN, MSNA President

    MSNA is starting 2024 with hope and excitement! After a successful 2023, MSNA is blooming. MSNA is displaying her beautiful true colors of resilience that were initially created by nurses over the years beginning in 1993, who planted seeds and nurtured the growth of MS School Nurses while establishing an extensive and strong root system that was and IS strong.

    School nurses in Mississippi battened down the hatches and weathered the storm of COVID without breaking. We, like the reeds, are flexible enough to bend without breaking, and are supported and anchored in place by our strong roots.

    In June of 2022, when we started the recovery process to stand up straight again after bending for COVID and being inactive in 2020, 2021, and the first half of 2022, we started out with just 103 members. At the end of 2023, we grew to 198 members, recruited new leaders at the state and regional levels, celebrated the removal of the salary cap for Nationally Board Certified School Nurses, aided in increasing the number of Nationally Certified school nurses, and provided support and professional development for MS School Nurses in the absence of a School Nurse Consultant at MDE. Our crowning achievement was the organization and hosting of a magnificent school nurse conference in Tupelo, Mississippi, providing networking opportunities, education, and support for MS school nurses after an extended period of drought.

    And, I’ll be honest with you, there were doubters. But aren’t there always people who doubt us—doubt nurses, doubt school nurses? One thing that I never did and will never do—doubt you and your love and dedication to your students and the profession of school nursing!

    Some of us attended NASN’s School Nurse Conference in Orlando. NASN’s School Nurse Conference was amazing and I encourage all to attend if possible, especially if you are facing burnout. Those of us who attended left with knowledge of new evidenced based information and programs and a renewed spirit and energy to bring back to MSNA and the most precious resources in our beautiful state, our students.

    To sum up the work, time, and effort that has been put into helping MSNA stand up and strong again by an awesome team of school nurse leaders throughout the state of MS in just a few paragraphs doesn’t seem to give it or those nurses justice, but it is the best I can do at this time. 

    As I’ve said from the beginning, it is all for YOU, because YOU are that important to the education of our children and teens. All the work is absolutely worth it!

    Here are a few updates:

    1. The regional presidents are working hard to organize and meet with each region. Each region has a specific duty to complete for MSNA’s 2024 Conference June 4-6. Please check here for updates:
    Please find your region and regional president here and contact them to offer your assistance:

    2. The last time I checked, MSNA has 190 members. Jennifer Palmer, Membership Chairperson is working on initiatives to continue to increase our membership. Make sure your membership doesn’t lapse!

    3. Capitol Day is January 24, 2024. Mandating School Nursing and mandating a salary pay scale is what we are asking our lawmakers to get done with safe school nurse to student ratios. Please let your voice be heard and join us at the Capitol!

    4. Elections for elect positions ((President elect, Secretary-elect, Treasurer elect) will be held at MSNA’s 2024 Conference. Check the website for updates, or contact Jill Zattoni, President-Elect.

    5. MSNA is in need of a Data Coordinator. Please contact Donnis Harris if you’re interested in helping.

    6. The Executive Committee will meet on the morning of 1/24/24. Please contact me for any business information you are concerned about in MSNA.

    7. Check out our website for information regarding events, news, membership, your Executive Committee contacts, advocacy, resources, regions, and online communities.

    8. I have great expectations for our new State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Lance Evans who is the former New Albany School District Superintendent and worked closely for years with one of our school nurse heroes and leaders, Tammie Reeder. Let’s send him our thoughts and prayers of support!

    I pray you have a rewarding, healthy, prosperous and enlightening 2024!