MDPH SCHOOL HEALTH UNIT UPDATE: 11/12/2020 Perfectionism

Please see the following communication below from Karen Robitaille, Director of School Health Services, MDPH School Health Unit. 

Greetings from the School Health Unit!

Perfectionism.  I’ve got it.  In fact, I have struggled with this my entire life.  I’m a Capricorn, an INFJ (Meyers-Briggs personality profile), and the daughter of two parents with perfectionism, so maybe it’s in my DNA.  At times it has served me very well, but more often than not I can see that it harms me, as well as those about me.  Consider the definition from Oxford (and while you’re at it, note the marked increase of the term in the last twenty years or so):

I bring this up for two reasons.  First, I feel like many nurses also struggle with perfectionism.  It’s a piece of what can be a very damaging culture in the quest to become a nurse.  Sometimes it makes sense; after all, in our profession, lives are at stake.  Mistakes can have terrible consequences.  But perfectionism also stifles creativity and learning, focuses on the negative, and makes what could be seen as an opportunity for growth into a personal failing.

Which brings me to the second reason for writing about this.  Recently I came to understand that perfectionism is also a characteristic of white supremacist culture, which shocked me right to my core.  In my personal endeavors to learn more about how to be an anti-racist, I’m determined not to look away when a concept does this to me.  I encourage you not to look away either.  Perfectionism does far more damage than I ever realized, but I have also learned that there are antidotes.  My favorite is creating a culture, “where it is expected that everyone will make mistakes and those mistakes offer opportunities for learning” (  I think this is probably super important for us to try to practice at this point in our history.  I’m going to try harder (but not perfectly!) to let go of this damaging behavior.  Care to join me?

With great respect,



School Health Updates

I have received multiple questions in regards to the CSHS Monthly report much like this one:

Could you clarify on the monthly report, section 9, special assignments…are we trying to capture the number of times that each nurse has been utilized as  MWR, contact tracer, resource nurse etc…for the activity or is this just asking for the number of FTE in that particular position?

We understand that school nurses are fulfilling multiple responsibilities at this time, and on any given day may perform the functions noted in the report.  However, with this measurement we are definitely looking for folks that have been more or less permanently assigned to those positions; so essentially, even if temporary, a change in role for school health staff. I hope this helps to clear these questions up.

BU SHIELD updates

November regional meetings are upon us!  This month we focus on working with local health departments. Registration information can be found here.  Please note that regional meetings for December have been canceled.  We have made this decision in order to make space for any training that may be needed for those implementing BinaxNOW testing in schools.

Also, a reminder that our clinical update continues in November:

November Clinical Update: Asthma in home and in school

This exciting program will be delivered live via Zoom over four 1.5-hr sessions. Topics will include racial equity, safe cleaning, indoor triggers, medications, and medical management, particularly in relation to COVID-19. Learn what’s coming in the soon to be issued National Guidance for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. We will be welcoming subject matter experts from CDC, MDPH Asthma Prevention and Control Program, BUSPH, and more.

Course Length: 1.5 hours per session. All sessions will run from 3:30-5:00 pm
Registration Fee: $120 for four sessions

More information and registration here.

Karen Robitaille, MBA, MSN, RN, NCSN
<she, her, hers>
Director of School Health Services
Division of Child/Adolescent Health and Reproductive Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington St. 5th floor, Boston, MA 02108
cell 781-675-0463
Personal Webex room: