11/20/2020 MDPH School Health Unit Update

Greetings from the School Health Unit!

It has been a tough week for me.  Maybe it was for you too.  Then something happened in a meeting I was part of.  Someone expressed their thanks in a moving and heartfelt way and that caused an avalanche of gratitude in the comments; for the original “thanker”, as well as for others in the meeting.  All of a sudden, everything seemed a wee bit lighter.  There were tears in my eyes, but a smile on my face.  I know intellectually that gratitude is good for me, but it’s quite another thing to experience it so viscerally.

This email will be short, and I won’t send one next week, so I want to take this opportunity, just before Thanksgiving, to TRY to express to you my deep, deep gratitude for all you have done, all you are doing, and all I know that is still to be done.  I know intimately the work you are doing, and the physical, mental and emotional toll it is surely taking on you.  Not even the holiday break feels much like a break; many of you will work and most of you will have a holiday that looks nothing like what it usually does.  SO, if no one has told you today, the work you are doing is important, it is valuable, and it is work only you can do.  THANK YOU.

I highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch this video, and perhaps try a gratitude experiment of your own:

An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness


With great appreciation,



We are pleased to inform you that the online Health Screening course is now open!  This online course replaces the formerly offered live workshop: School Health Screening.  Designed as an “on your time” training, learners may register and take this course at any time that is convenient for them.  This course prepares every public and private School Nurse to conduct school health screenings, namely BMI, hearing, postural, and vision, according to Massachusetts laws, regulations, and best practice recommendations.
This is one of four training workshops mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in order to be licensed as a School Nurse and it is designed for:

  • Nurses seeking Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a School Nurse in Massachusetts (mandated course).
  • Any School Nurse seeking to refresh their knowledge of school health screenings in Massachusetts schools.

*please note that screenings are still waived; we are continuing to offer this course routinely to assist nurses seeking licensure.

Our next statewide CSHS meeting is Thursday, December 10th from 1-3 pm and registration is now open here.  This meeting will focus on conducting Continuous Quality Improvement Projects, and on the Plan/Do/Study/Act cycle in particular.  There is a 30-minute section of pre-work, consisting of watching several short videos.  The program itself will last about 1.5 hours and then there will be an optional 30-minute mindfulness presentation at the end; we hope you can stay on and give yourself the gift of self-care.  This meeting will be recorded and available at a later date if your work keeps you from joining us; after surveying in regards to the timing of these meetings, the answers were pretty evenly split, so we will try this time slot and see how it goes!  A reminder that these meetings are required for CSHS grantees, but also open to any interested school nurse leader.





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: https://statema.webex.com/meet/Karen.Robitaille3