The first meeting of the Missouri School Nurses Association (MSNA), later renamed: Missouri Association of School Nurses, was in 1951. MSNA was originally part of the MO State Teachers Association (MSTA) and the school nurse annual dues was $1.00/year. Throughout MASN’s history we have sought to advocate for children’s health and provide professional development opportunities for school nurses with evidence-based school health programs.
MASN became an affiliate of the National Association of School Nurses in 1980 and to present have elected a Missouri Director to serve on the NASN Board of the Directors. MASN also advocated for the establishment of a Missouri State School Nurse Consultant. In November of 1984, Nela Beetam was named our first Missouri State School Nurse Consultant.
In the 90’s, MASN took a more active role in legislative advocacy for school nurses in all of Missouri schools. School nurses Nancy Gaines and Marjorie Cole lead this effort by working with public health, education, and advocacy organizations which resulted in the allocation of 5.4 million dollars a year for 15 years for school health services and increased school nurses in schools to 99.7 percent. Funding was eliminated in 2010, but many school nurse positions have been sustained. Also highlighted during this time was school nurse Donna Zaiger. Donna’s strong leadership resulted in her term as the National Association of School Nurses President from 1995 -1996.
In new millennium, MASN also saw a new MO School Health Consultant, Marjorie Cole. Marjorie has worked closely with MASN as we continue to advocate for children and school nursing through the many partnerships it has developed over the years. As our state school nurse consultant, Marjorie has taken data collection and data use to another level.
MASN leaders believe that it is important that our members know who their legislators are and provided rational that helped lead to the passage of several bills. In 2009 MASN partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation St. Louis (aafastl) for the passage of H.B. 922 that allows for stock Epinephrine in Missouri schools. In 2011, MASN partnered with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri for the passage of the Interscholastic Youth Brain Injury Act HB 300. In 2012, MASN once again partnered with aafastl for the passage of HB 1188 which established procedures under which a school nurse may administer asthma-related rescue medications.
In addition to legislative efforts, MASN has an ongoing collaborative relationships with our State School Nurse Consultant and several departments at the Missouri Department of Health, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri School Boards Association, and the Missouri Association of Rural Educators, the Missouri Coordinated School Health Coalition, and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) in order to provide up to date professional education to Missouri School Nurses using the CDC/ASCD Whole School Whole Community Whole Child model.
We strongly believe that building relationships and making them sustainable is key to getting our children the services that they need to attain optimal health and academic success.