AnnualReport2014-thumb-400px_1-1We work with school nurses every day and we heard from many of them that they had a desire for information and resources about independent school health services, but the research simply didn't exist. So we set out to change that. Together with a panel of six independent school health professionals, we developed the 2013-14 Annual Research Questionnaire of Independent School Health Services. And now, we're happy to report, the results are in, analyzed, and available to you in the 2013-14 Annual Report of Independent School Health Services.

It's a great read, but let's face it, 32 pages is a lot of info. So, I've distilled it here so you can have a bird's-eye view of the information in 10 minutes or less. Read the short version here for surface details, and download the full version to read when you have a few more minutes on-hand.

Action plans are the first step to understanding, and being prepared for, complex student health needs. They document known health conditions, provide treatment guidelines, and keep everyone's minds a little more at ease. The goal of an action plan is to provide school nurses and administrators with the necessary information to treat a student for a condition they may have - this includes allergies, diabetes, seizures,...

If you're already a Magnus customer, be sure to contact Client Services for one-on-one assistance using MyMagnus and Magnus911.


One of my favorite Beach Boys songs is Wouldn't It Be Nice. Every time I see or hear about something I'd like to have or experience, I sing to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice..." I know I'm not alone in wishful thinking because we frequently come across folks who think how nice it would be to test the Magnus product before making a purchasing decision. Well, we've got you covered. It's easy to take a test drive of both the parent's experience, as well as the Magnus emergency tools. Here's how it all works.

One of the best parts about working with schools is getting to know all of the people who make a school so great. From the school nurse to the football coach, and everyone in between (including you!), we talk to some pretty incredible people. And even though your job descriptions may differ, one thing you all have in common is that you do what you do for your students.

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That's why we want to make your job a little bit easier. We want to help you look after your students in a more comprehensive, but uncomplicated way. There's no better way to accomplish that task than for us to bring ourselves to you for a day of training and learning!

So many behavioral things happen in our country that signal the start of the school year - commercials, news stories, advertisements. Perhaps your school starts at a different time or even continues year round. Still your life is somewhat impacted by the event we call “back to school”. For school staff, including school nurses, this is both a new beginning and a series of stress-filled, very long, work days. I now know that tasks required of the general population of public school nurses differ significantly from those of private school nurses. Thanks to my attendance at the Magnus Academy this summer, I met dozens of you, willing to share your stories with me. Thank you. I look forward to learning more from you about the unique issues you face in private schools and the creative solutions you’ve accomplished. welcome_back_to_school

A few years into my practice as a school nurse, I asked a seasoned school nurse what I was doing wrong in September. She listened carefully and grinned wider, the longer I talked. “I just can’t seem to get organized,” I’d said, “and every day I feel as if I’ve taken ten steps backward instead of three forward. How can I make September go more smoothly for myself, my students and the staff?” I implored.

When she replied, it was with kindness and care in her voice. “September will never go well. You must start each day fresh, confident in your ability to prioritize, to organize and to move ahead. Make a plan and then deviate from it whenever you really need to. Reschedule what issues can wait. Never turn away a frightened child or a frantic parent. Never minimize a staff members concerns. Always remember your purpose, your value and your importance. Before you know it, the snow will fall and you’ll realize everything that needed to be done, was accomplished. And next fall it will start all over.”

From my own experiences, I’ve put together a small arsenal of strategies that helped me through September. I hope you can take some of these tips and they help you as you head back to school.

emergency_checklist_croppedIn the past we've written blogs and research papers about the many things schools must consider when it comes to preparing for an emergency or natural disaster. One stone left unturned (at least in great detail) is the necessity to continually prepare students for what they need to know and do in an emergency. This goes beyond crouching under desks or calmly filing out of a building. Students, particularly young ones, can benefit from understanding why they're expected to behave in a certain way, instead of just blindly following an adult's lead. I'm not suggesting providing them with gorey, unnecessary details, but some education on the subject can be helpful to everyone involved. So, without further ado, I present to you several resources you can use to prepare students for an emergency or natural disaster.

health_heart_stethoscope_smallerIf you own a computer or a TV, you've heard about recent school nurse shortages. We've heard about them, too, and it's worrisome. School should be a safe place - a place where students can test their chops in the spring musical, or harness their inner math whiz. It shouldn't be a place for worrying about administering your own insulin, and that's why it's imperative for schools to be able to manage serious student health needs, with or without a full-time school nurse.

footprint_2Summer vacation is finally here, and while all of your students bask in the glory of beach vacations, summer learning experiences, and lazy days at the pool, one thing is for certain: They aren’t thinking about the next school year. I dare say, they aren’t even thinking about next week. And you know what? Neither should you.

This summer, instead of stressing out about professional development, school leadership conferences, or staying up to date on the newest education technology, I challenge you to do something different. I challenge you to walk a mile (or rather, a summer) in your students’ shoes.

How are you spending your time? How much is dedicated to medication administration? Minor health complaints? Injuries and concussions? Your time is valuable and it's important that you're able to determine exactly how it's spent. Perhaps you need to hire another nurse for the health center, but how do you prove that? Treatment Note Insights help put your time into an easily digestable format that you can use for your own reference, or to show administration and others the time you spend with students, and the tasks and student health complaints that occupy that time.

All Magnus customers have had access to Insights for quite some time, but it can be easy to forget this capability simply because it's not a vital part of student care. However, it reflects and reports on student care and at the end of the day/week/month/year that is important information.

Client Profile Rona_Dickman

  • Name: Rona Dickman
  • Title: Nurse
  • School: Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School
  • Location: Livingston, NJ
  • Type: Co-educational Yeshiva day school
  • Size: 751 students
  • Website: jkha.org

Rona Dickman has served as a school nurse at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy for the past seven years, addressing injuries and illnesses for students in grades pre-K through 12. She also sees students with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and severe food allergies, and performs screens for height/weight, blood pressure, vision, hearing and scoliosis, as well as ensures all students are up-to-date with their immunizations. She enjoys working together with the students and parents to ensure the students’ optimal health in school.

Students are incredible. They are capable of making the Dean’s List four years in a row, breaking world records while still taking classes (yes, I’m talking about you, Missy Franklin), volunteering with their local communities every weekend, and maintaining social lives through it all. But what if I told you these feats of excellence could all come to a screeching halt due to one obstacle? Moreover, what if I told you that school staff members can help students from hitting this obstacle in the first place?

The phrase "injury tracking" has been buzzing around the internet for a while now - in relation to concussions, bone fractures, and many other student athlete injuries. Why? Because athletic trainers and coaches want to provide better care for their athletes, which includes improving the way athletics staff monitor and track injuries. Now think about this: If a trainer or coach wants to improve how he or she is tracking injuries and monitoring athlete recovery, wouldn't it make sense to involve nurses and teachers in the process, too? The answer is absolutely.

This month marks Magnus’ eighth birthday, and my eight year anniversary here. To celebrate both, I thought I would try to put into words what the experience has meant to me. First of all, just thinking about eight years is tough because it is the longest I have ever done anything - longer than any other job, longer than my college education, longer than I have known my wife. Can a single experience or concept define the last eight years? Is it my first employee, our first school, our 100th school, or our 900,000th user? I think I’ve narrowed it down to one common thread – the people. Some are employees and some are clients, but all have shaped my journey, and the Magnus journey. 

child_health_depressed_abused_smallI think the vast majority of us can agree that youth violence is serious and harmful. There's nothing controversial in that statement, and if we watch the news, read the paper, go to the movies, use social media, or work with youth on a regular basis, it doesn't take long to see youth violence in action. It varies in scale and includes hitting, slapping, and bullying, all of which have the potential to leave larger emotional scars than physical. And then there's the darker side of youth violence like robbery and battery. And if you want to go even darker, add weapons and homicide to the mix.

Recently, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) published the results from their Annual School Nurse survey. In it, data showed that school nurses are eager to learn more about legal issues and how they affect school nurses. So, we did a little bit of research and came up with the top seven must-know legal facts for school nurses. Without further adieu, here they are...

It is estimated that one out of every 100 students has epilepsy and that 75% of all cases are diagnosed during adolescence (Plan for Nationwide Action on Epilepsy, Vol. 1. U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare). Although epilepsy is not a disease, nor a mental disorder, it is a chronic health disorder caused by temporary disruptions of electrical impulses in the brain that result in seizures. There are many types of seizures, from staring spells to tonic-clonic, which frequently involve convulsive movements and loss of consciousness. nurse_harriett_at_computer_small

However, this article’s intent is not to focus on what epilepsy is, nor how it is treated. My goal is to discuss the increasing role of the school nurse and others in how best to handle the increasing number of students diagnosed with a seizure disorder. This is of particular importance when the student’s private prescribing physician specifies the use of the DIASTAT to be administered at the time or soon after a student experiences a seizure.

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Before we even begin, let’s all take a deep breath. Cell phone use is a hot-button topic, and most educators have a strong opinion about what students should and should not do with their cell phones while on school grounds. Believe me when I say I don’t want to start any fights. Besides, violence isn’t the answer, right? So while we all sing "kumbayah" together, let's take a look at the three main approaches to student cell phone use, and why schools use, or refuse to use, them.

We get really excited when new SMR features make school staff lives easier. If it just so happens that the same feature also makes our own lives easier, you certainly won’t hear us complain. Our newest feature, Auto Roster Import (ARI) checks both of those boxes. Auto_Roster_Import_131x140

ARI functions much like its name sounds – it automates the school roster import process. Convenient, right? It really is. It’s quick and easy, and allows schools to create a CSV file, or export it from a third party, and import that roster information into Magnus, thereby updating names, contact information, and more. The beauty is that schools have the ability to sync data and update information en masse whenever they’d like. Have a big group of new students you’d like to add to the system? ARI can handle that. Want to update cell phone numbers or emails every month? Week? Day? Done, done, and done.

I am a school nurse, and it’s very common to hear people in and out of the medical profession say generic medication is “the same” as the brand name equivalent. Although I’d never researched this issue before, I started investigating generic verses brand name medications when one of my staff member’s blood pressure went sky high after changing to a generic. health_pills_and_drugs_and_medicine_small

I came across an article written by Dr. Tod Cooperman, MD, “What You Need to Know About Generic Drugs” and found some interesting and upsetting statistics. As a nurse, I think it’s important that we’re all educated consumers and should be aware of discrepancies. Here’s what I found. Later I’ll explain why these findings are so upsetting to me as a school nurse.

  • Eight percent of drugs we take in the US are now generic versions of the brand name medication.
  • Generic drugs are required to provide 80% to 125% bioavailability to your bloodstream.
  • Generics can contain very different other binders and fillers than their brand name counterpart, which can impact how fast or slow the active ingredient is released into the blood stream, especially in extended-release forms of the medications.
  • The FDA requires that the package inserts for generic drugs show the same data as the brand name drug. However, this isn’t always true and that information is not always released.