What a year so far! NBCSN has been extremely busy. During the first part of the year (and continuing!), the Board and Staff were incredibly involved in responding to the pandemic. NBCSN has given all current NCSNs up to an additional six months to recertify if they are coming due now. NBCSN also worked closely with Prometric, our testing partner, to offer remote proctoring, or testing at home, as a no additional cost option. During our Summer test window, more than half of our candidates chose this option. This is far more than any other specialty, most who chose remote proctoring at a rate of about 10%.
As would be expected during these times, we have seen a bit of a slow down in both the numbers of nurses applying to take the exam and those recertifying. We know with these unsettled times, it may be hard to make the commitment to this exam. We are confident we will see a renewed uptick in both certifications and recertifications.
On a positive note, as you will read more about elsewhere in the Newsletter, NBCSN is VERY excited about several new test prep offerings. We’ve have already seen enthusiastic response to these long-awaited materials to help our candidates find success. Our increased numbers of certificants in the last several years has given us the ability to provide new products and services to our candidates and NCSNs as well.
In addition to the pandemic, NBCSN felt it was imperative to take a stand against systemic racism. To wit:
“Racism in our community will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and we will work to change those structures that have led to disparate treatment of communities of color wherever we can have an impact.” Additionally, “NBCSN is committed to increasing the diversity both of our Board and the ranks of nationally certified school nurses. We are working to identify and take actions that will increase our allyship to nurses, students, school communities, and global citizens who are Brown, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as LGBTQ persons and anyone who identifies uniquely. But we need to do better. We ask for your support and engagement to help us grow as an organization to be more aware and accountable to high standards in the specialty of school nursing, both professionally and ethically, and to take action to promote inclusion, equity, justice and peace in our society.”
School nurses have an important advocacy role in both of these issues, and there is no time like the present for us to speak out about how imperative school nurses are to the health of students. Our own Robin Cogan, Co-Chair of our advocacy committee, has led us all in this with her blog, the Relentless School Nurse and her recent frequent media appearances advocating for school nursing and evidence-based COVID-19 policies. If you have not yet seen one (or more) of them, I urge you to seek out her blog to find the links.
I also want to congratulate another Board Director, Dr. Robin Shannon, who this summer was inducted as a Fellow into the National Academy of School Nursing at the NASN2020 virtual conference. This is the highest honor in school nursing, and we are thrilled to have her expertise on our board. The NBCSN board now includes four FNASNs: Robin Shannon, Cindy Hiltz, Pat Krin and myself. Congrats Robin!
Please check out the leadership of NBCSN to see the current membership of our board and the expertise they bring to the table.
During June, NBCSN had their first ever virtual two day summer retreat. The Board generally has two retreats, one at the NASN annual conference and one in Fall that are face to face. We otherwise virtually meet monthly. While never the same as meeting in person, the NBCSN had an extremely successful meeting. We reviewed and took action on the impact of the pandemic, updated and passed new policies related to the pandemic, increasing diversity, general housekeeping, and addressing future goals and implementation of those goals. We will have our Autumn retreat, also virtually, in November.
Lastly, please be sure and follow NBCSN on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and soon Instagram!
Deb Pontius, MSN, RN, NCSN, FNASN