2020 Election Results 

We are pleased to announce the results of the recent election. Congratulations to all and thank you to those who ran for office.  We hope you will do so again in the future!  

These members will begin their terms of office on October 3 at the end of the Annual Meeting. 

President:  Melissa Sherrod
First Vice President: April Matthias
Treasurer: Mary Gibson
Director, Chair Awards Committee: Karen O’Connell
Director, Chair Bylaws Committee: Eileen Thrower
Director, Chair of Communications: Carole Bennett
Director, Chair Research Committee: Dominique Tobbell
Nominating Committee: Kristin Kuhlmann and Sherri Tesseyman

President's Message
July 2020  

The Importance of School Nurses in the Year of a Pandemic 

It is already the second week of July – a time that in other, more “normal” years, stores were filling with back packs, pencils, computers, notebooks and paper, lunch boxes and school clothes, all in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Today, while stores may be filling with supplies, many parents may be hesitant to purchase them.  We are, after all, still in the midst of the COVID pandemic, and plans for opening schools remain tentative while school superintendents and faculty determine what it will take to safely reopen. Should students attend in person at all?  Maybe in split sessions of one to two days a week?  Maybe all teaching should take place “online”?  Will we have outdoor tent classrooms? What about eating in a cafeteria?  Problems abound. Solutions to be determined. 

From a nursing history perspective, one solution seems patently obvious. To borrow a phrase from Oprah, “what I know for sure” is that we need a nurse in every school if and when schools open.

One hundred years ago, school nurses not only taught children to wash their hands and use a handkerchief, but also screened them for contagious diseases and quarantined those found to be infectious to their homes, checking on the children periodically to assess their health status. The nurses also referred seriously ill children to physicians and taught parents how to care for them. [1]

School nurse, circa 1919, Library of Congress

Over the course of the 20th century, budget cuts have eroded the number of nurses available in schools throughout the nation. According to Willgerodt et al, only 39.4% of U.S. schools employ a full-time school nurse.[2]  In 25% of schools where there is no nurse, administrative assistants care for children who are hurt or sick.

Given the COVID pandemic, it is time that local and state governments ensure that the hiring of a nurse for each school is a priority. Teaching children to wash their hands, wear masks, and cover coughs is now more critical than ever before. Moreover, each school needs a nurse-run clinic: a room where feverish, coughing children can be isolated and cared for until their parents retrieve them.  It is a recycled solution from the past: one that is critical to society today. 

To comment on this message, feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Wishing you a safe and healthy summer.

Arlene W. Keeling, PhD, RN, FAAN 

[1] Keeling, A., “Organization and Innovation in the Early 20th Century,” in Keeling, Hehman, and Kirchgessner: History of Professional Nursing in the United States, (Springer, 2018): 136-138

[2] Willgerodt, M.A., Brock, D.M., and Maughan, E.M., “Public Health Nurse Practice in the United States,” Journal of School Nursing, 34, (2018): 232-244.


Update on the AAHN Fall Conference


Virtual Conference Save the Date 

Dear colleagues:  It probably comes as no surprise that the Board recently decided that we will definitely NOT be meeting in Chester, UK, this coming September.  Like many of you, I am very disappointed that we could not follow through on our plans to meet in that quaint location, joining with colleagues from around the world to share nursing history and celebrate the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”

Simply put: the COVID19 pandemic with its subsequent travel restrictions, hotel regulations, and financial implications prohibit us from meeting in person this year --- and most likely next year (2021). Therefore, we are cancelling the possibility of meeting in Chester in 2021 as well.  If we meet in person in 2021, we are likely to meet in a city that is within driving distance for many of our members – or at least within a short airplane flight. That said, I would like to thank Claire Chatterton, Chair of Local Arrangements for the Chester conference, and her committee for all the work they have done planning for this conference.  It was going to be a wonderful event. (And now I am sad again to miss it!)

“Til we meet again!”

HOLD THE DATE – OCTOBER 3, 2020. (10:00 AM to 12:30 PM, Eastern Time zone)

As many of you can imagine – given that all meetings /classes seem to be “virtual” this year, the Board decided yesterday to host a zoom meeting on October 3, 2020 so that we can hear our planned keynote speaker, Jane Brooks, present her formal address to the membership.  Following her presentation, we will have a meeting of the membership to present the awards and research grants, formally announce the election results, and conduct any other necessary Association business. Given “zoom” fatigue and an anticipated busy fall semester for many of you, we are keeping this meeting relatively short.

During 2021, the Conference Planning committee (perhaps with an expanded task force), led by our Second VP Donna Curry, will be hosting a series of virtual events for the membership. Some of these may include paper presentations from those who submitted abstracts for this year’s conference (should they agree!).  All will be made available for CEUs. Check this website and your email for updates on these events.  (The committee is also investigating the possibility of a virtual conference.)

Please feel free to email me at [email protected] for comments/suggestions/questions about these decisions.


Arlene W. Keeling, PhD, RN, FAAN


Why don’t you write something for the website?

Dear members,

As you may be aware the Bulletin was disbanded at the end of 2019 after many years offering news, research updates and local events.

In 2020, we all expect news to be up-to-date and since the Bulletin was produced only twice a year, news was often no longer ‘new’ when you read about it.

Instead, we are would like you to use the website to tell colleagues and fellow-members of your activities, ideas and news.

Do you have a short research item, some news of publications, research funding or activity?  May be you have visited a fascinating archive, held a local nursing history event or are engaging in a new collaboration? Perhaps you have started a new job and are now bringing nursing history to your new employment? Perhaps you have been lucky to travel to new lands and have discovered untold histories of our profession?

If so, we would love to hear about it.

Please send your items to me, the AAHN Chair of Publications and I will pass them onto our web team. I am happy to check any ideas for the website if you are unsure.

I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Dr Jane Brooks
[email protected]

Donate to our Capital Campaign - $20,000 for 2020!
Click on the button above

The Benefits of Membership

History provides current nurses with the same intellectual and political tools that determined nursing pioneers applied to shape nursing values and beliefs to the social context of their times. Nursing history is not an ornament to be displayed on anniversary days, nor does it consist of only happy stories to be recalled and retold on special occasions. Nursing history is a vivid testimony, meant to incite, instruct and inspire today's nurses as they bravely tread the winding path of a reinvented health care system.
To find out about these nursing pioneers and their efforts, join the American Association for the History of Nursing.
Click here to join

            BREAKING NEWS             

The American Association for the History of Nursing is proud to support The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Recognition Act in honor of the thousands of Cadet Nurses who studied and served under the U.S. Cadet Corps program in World War II.

About Friends of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps World War II

This group was formed to pass the 2018 bipartisan legislation, "U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act." It was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as HR7258 and in the U.S. Senate as Senate Bill 3729.  There is no financial or VA benefits. These women of the Greatest Generation only request to be honored as Veterans of WWII with an American flag and a gravesite plaque forever marking their proud service to our country during wartime in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps.  

Action Needed:  Be a  "Friend" of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps WWII.  
How:  Simply let your U.S. Senators and House Representatives know that passing this new bill is important to you by going to their website and clicking on the button.