There is something deeply spiritual about being part of a large gathering of nurses who have devoted their careers to protecting and caring for “the least of them”, that is – the sick, the underserved, the students in our care.
This week more than 1200 School Nurses from all fifty states and many foreign countries are gathering in San Antonio for the annual National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Conference. Since most School Nurses are the only medical professional in their school, conference gatherings like this are an a critical way for School Nurses to recharge on several levels. At the level of the conference program the individual conference session titles may address professional development needs along the lines of clinical issues, case management issues, or advocacy issues. But when you zoom out and look at the conference phenomenon as a whole, you will see how the gathering feeds the spiritual needs of the nurse as well.
The conference begins as a pilgrimage with nurses traveling in and documenting their journeys on facebook and Twitter. The setting is stately with soaring ceilings. Traditions of conference regalia such as ribbons and pins continue from year to year.
When I talk to School Nurses about what these annual conferences give them, they mention best practices, newest research, professional contacts but I’d like to offer one more thing only large, live conferences like this can offer: a spiritual strength and knowledge that –
You are part of a long tradition of professional carers. You are part of something much larger than what goes on in your health room. What you do makes a difference.