Mary Hughes Boyce Gelfman (I use her full name because she always preferred it written so), the first Public Member of the National Board for Certification of School Nurses, died September 5th, 2020, at the age of 85 years. School nurses and school nurse leaders across the country who had the privilege to know and work with her will sorely miss Mary, especially her exceptional wisdom, sense of humor, energy, empathy and grace.
Mary was a special colleague and advisor to school nurses in her home state of Connecticut and across the country for many years before she volunteered as the first Public Member on NBCSN. Her prior experiences as teacher, school board member, parent, special education attorney at the CT Department of Education, consultant to the Academy of Pediatrics School Health Committee in CT, and education hearing officer in several states gave her unique insights into the profession of school nursing, and the legal and ethical challenges nurses grapple with in school settings. To assist school nurses in addressing these issues, Mary co-edited the book, Legal Issues in School Health Services (2001), and gave numerous presentations to school nurse audiences at NASN and other conferences across the nation. When asked if she would be the first Public Member on NBCSN, she didn’t hesitate, once again, to volunteer her valuable time and expertise.
Beyond her many contributions to education, school law, and school health, Mary promoted the importance of school nurse certification to demonstrate competence in practice. Her outstanding contributions enriched our professional growth, broadened our vision, and enhanced our ability to meet the needs of the students, families and schools that we serve.
Mary Hughes Boyce Gelfman, beloved colleague, wise advisor, special friend to NBCSN and school nurses, thank you. We miss you. May you rest in peace.
-Nadine C. Schwab