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The Relentless School Nurse: Joining Forces - A School Nurse and a Pediatrician Share Our Perspective on Active Shooter Drills


My gun violence prevention advocacy journey has taken me into spaces that I am not sure I could have ever imagined. The most recent is a collaboration with Mary Beth Miotto, MD, MPH, a pediatrician, and friend who graciously agreed to co-author a perspective piece with me for the New England Journal of Medicine. Our topic considers the question; Have we applied the rigor of evidence-informed decision-making to these armed-assailant preparedness drills that have profoundly changed the school experience? The answer appears to be no.

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This perspective piece is one example of how school nurses and pediatricians can join forces to advocate for safer school communities. The partnership between school nurses and pediatricians in advocating for gun violence prevention is crucial. It goes beyond a professional alliance; it represents a shared commitment to the well-being of the students we serve.

Combining our expertise in child and adolescent health, school nurses bring an intimate understanding of the challenges and vulnerabilities students face in the school environment. We witness firsthand the physical and emotional impact of gun violence on them. Pediatricians have specialized knowledge of the comprehensive healthcare needs of children and adolescents. By uniting, we can leverage our collective expertise to advocate for evidence-based policies and interventions that address the complex issue of gun violence prevention, including active shooter drills.

Our collaboration allows us to approach prevention holistically. We recognize that addressing gun violence requires more than reactive measures; it necessitates a comprehensive strategy encompassing education, awareness, policy changes, and community resources.

The power of our partnership lies in the influence and trust we hold within our communities. As healthcare professionals, we are seen as trusted sources of information and guidance. By aligning our voices, we raise awareness about the impact of gun violence on children and adolescents, garnering support from policymakers, community leaders, and the public. Our united efforts carry weight, enabling us to advocate for evidence-based policies and interventions that prioritize the safety and well-being of students.


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