Rutgers–Camden lecturer inducted into the National Academy of School Nursing
Robin Cogan, lecturer and clinical coordinator of the School Nurse Program at the School of Nursing–Camden, has been inducted as a National Academy of School Nursing Fellow. Cogan is among seven 2022 Fellows, joining a select group of professionals who demonstrate superior achievement in the field.
The honor of Fellow is the most prestigious recognition members can receive from the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). Selection criteria include profound involvement in NASN, exemplary leadership qualities, and extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the school nursing profession.
“This honor is well-deserved in recognition for the outstanding leadership and service that Robin Cogan has given to the nursing profession and, more specifically, to school nurses,” said Donna Nickitas, interim provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and outgoing dean of the School of Nursing–Camden. “The work she does in supporting healthier, safer environments; promoting healthy equity in schools; and highlighting the contributions of school nurses is notable.”
Cogan was recognized for her many years of service on the executive board of the New Jersey State School Nurses Association (NJSSNA), an affiliate of NASN. She is now the NASN director for New Jersey. Previously, as co-chair of the legislative committee, she was instrumental in passing legislation that added a school nurse consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education. While waiting for this position to be filled, New Jersey is one of six states without representation from a school nurse in its Department of Education.
“We might have the answers, but we don’t have the agency. We are not at the table at the Department of Education to even bring these issues to their attention,” Cogan said. “It shouldn’t be this difficult. We don’t need more barriers to school health; we need direct access and decision-making authority.”
In a new role as director of NJSSNA, Cogan will represent the interests of New Jersey’s 2,700 school nurses and employ her research background to examine practices from a national perspective.
Currently in her 22nd year as a school nurse in the Camden City School District, Cogan is a leading advocate for school nurses across the country. Her blog, The Relentless School Nurse, has amassed over 350,000 visitors since she started it five years ago. Featuring reflections on practice, success stories, news highlights, interviews, and more, the blog’s goal is to illustrate the critical role that school nurses play in protecting the health and well-being of communities.
During the height of the pandemic, Cogan ran a successful virtual support group, where school nurses across the country could talk freely about the demands of their duties. The group has been covered by the New York Times, NPR, WHYY, and CNN.
Cogan adds this recognition to a long list of previous honors and awards, including the American Academy of Nurses Fellowship, the National Association of School Nurses President’s Award, the NCSN School Nurse of the Year Award, the Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year Award, and the New Jersey Department of Health Population Health Hero Award. She thanked Nickitas and Marie O’Toole, interim dean and professor at the School of Nursing–Camden, for their mentorship and support in reaching this milestone.
“I am excited, I am proud and I feel that my work has made a difference,” Cogan said. “It feels really good to reach such a high goal.”