America’s Promise School Project held its third annual School Nurse Summer Institute June 6 in the Nursing Simulation Laboratory at Illinois State University. There were 39 participants from partnership organizations in attendance.

The institute began with welcomes from Shelly Malin, America’s Promise School project director; Janet Krejci, dean of the Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) at Illinois State; and Nancy Allen, chief nursing officer at Advocate Eureka Hospital.

Martha Bergren, Keynote Speaker

Martha Bergren, keynote speaker.

Martha Bergren, director of the advanced community health program at University of Illinois at Chicago, keynoted the day with a presentation titled “Maximizing Your Potential: School Nurses as Community and Health Care Leaders.” Molly Rodden, of the residential nurses services at The Baby Fold, closed the day with her presentation, “The Anxious Child or Teen: Strategies and Interventions That Work.” Conference attendees also participated in an advanced physical assessment session (hands-on experience) instructed by MCN Associate Professor Sheryl Jenkins ’81, B.S.N. ’93, Ph.D. ’05, who was assisted by Assistant Professor Carla Pohl and Yvette Pigman, a clinical faculty member.

During lunch, Susan Albee, B.S.N. ’95, provided relevant school health updates from the McLean County Health Department, where she is the supervisor of community health services.

After lunch, participants chose to attend three of four round-table discussions designed to spark their thinking and allow them to share innovative topics and practical ideas for daily nursing practice. Topics at the tables included “Collaboration Between School Nurse and Clinical Faculty: Making It Work,” “Ethics in Daily Practice, Tailoring ‘Lunch and Learn Sessions’ for Health Promotion,” and “Working Though Conflict: Tips for Success.” Discussion facilitators included school nurses Jane Tucker and Michelle Maurer, B.S.N. ’85, and MCN faculty members Mary Cranston, Pohl, Denise Hammer, and Malin.

Associate Professor Sheryl Jenkins shows the participants advanced physical assessment skills

Associate Professor Sheryl Jenkins shows the participants advanced physical assessment skills.

“Planning committee members did an outstanding job in organizing this event,” Malin said. “We could not provide this conference without the support of co-provider, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. They worked closely with us to design the conference and to assure contact hours were awarded.”

The America’s Promise School Project is in the third year of implementation and is focused on developing partnership among Illinois State University; Mennonite College of Nursing faculty; and local school district administrators, school nurses, teachers, youth, and community members. This project is made possible in part by a generous donation from State Farm.