As nurses nationwide celebrate National School Nurse Day AJN decided to check back in with Mary Pappas after our discussion with her last week. She’s the New York City Catholic school nurse who on April 23 alerted public health officials to what would be identified as the first U.S. cases of influenza A (H1N1)—swine flu.
Students have returned to St. Francis Preparatory School, and things are “calming down,” she said. “We’re still busy because we have to do a screening process. It’s busy work, but no one’s sick.” She has been working closely with the New York State Department of Health.
Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that, because the U.S. cases seen so far have been mild, “School closure is not advised for a suspected or confirmed case of novel influenza A (H1N1).” It seems an appropriate moment to acknowledge the work that Pappas and the 45,000 school nurses are doing on the front lines of assessment nationwide. AJN will continue to follow the work of school nurses in coming weeks and months.—Joy Jacobson, AJN managing editor
(For a more recent post about pandemics, understaffing, and school nurses, click here.)