Nurses MonthNational Nurses Month 2022 is a chance to celebrate the care nurses provide in settings that extend far beyond hospitals and doctors’ offices. This year’s theme, “You Make a Difference,” honors these skilled professionals and trusted advocates who ensure individuals, families, and populations receive quality care and services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, these too-often unsung heroes have gone far beyond any traditional duty or expectation usually connected to their jobs. In my role with ADHS, I’ve had the privilege of seeing how Arizona’s school nurses have answered that call in the past two-plus years.

School nurses provide immediate medical care to students, provide care coordination with a variety of social medical providers, help students and staff with chronic disease management, and are key players when schools engage families.

Like their counterparts working in other settings, school nurses have gone above and beyond, working tireless hours to proctor tests, collect and submit positive case and close-contact information, communicate mitigation guidance, and serve as subject matter experts on COVID-19.

It’s been common to hear about nurses and health aides working long hours to report cases and close contacts at their schools. They’ve done this while protecting and providing for all of the students who see them and creating what often is a student’s first impression of health care. 

In every role, nurses contribute so much to our health and well-being. By providing care to more than 1.1 million students attending public schools in Arizona, school nurses are an important part of that story. 

I hope you take time during National Nurses Month to reflect on the many contributions of Arizona’s nurses.