Proceed Until Apprehended: It’s Only a Matter of Time

Angela Green, PhD, RN, CPHQ, FAAN

Maybe this time it was not your child, your grandchild, your niece or nephew, or your community. But our children are telling us that they aren’t surprised by school shootings anymore.  On the day of the shooting in her school, Paige Curry, a Santa Fe High School student, told a reporter, “I’ve always kind of felt like it was eventually going to happen here, too.”

This is real. Every day, more than 7 children or teens die from gun violence. In 2018, there have been 22 school shootings in which someone was hurt or killed. This translates to a school shooting, on average, every 6 days.

If you have not been personally affected by gun violence, unless we do something, the risk is real that you one day will be. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch children dying in our schools, in our churches, in our theaters and concert halls, and on our city streets.

Many are looking for ways that they can be part of the solution, I among them. If you are looking for ways to be involved, the list below is only a start.

  1. Become part of a professional organization’s gun violence prevention work.
    1. American Academy of Pediatrics                                           https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/federal-advocacy/Pages/AAPFederalGunViolencePreventionRecommendationstoWhiteHouse.aspx
    2. American College of Surgeons                                       https://www.facs.org/quality-programs/trauma/violence-prevention
    3. American Psychological Association                    http://www.apa.org/advocacy/gun-violence/index.aspx
    4. American Public Health Association                              https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/gun-violence
  2. Join the work of community activists and non-profits.
    1. Everytown for Gun Safety   https://everytown.org
    2. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America   https://momsdemandaction.org/
    3. Sandy Hook Promise   https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/
  3. Join Robin Cogan and I in conversation about engaging nurses in gun violence prevention.  https://relentlessschoolnurse.com/
  4. Support students hosting voter registration drives in high schools.
  5. Use your voice on social media, in op eds, etc. Create opportunities to talk about ending gun violence.
  6. Use your vote.

Those who serve children can no longer sit on the sidelines. Rather than wait until we are personally affected, we can personally affect change. We must change the story.  I challenge each of us to find our place of service.

Proceed Until Apprehended – A Tribute to My Mother

Mother and grandkids

Angela Green, PhD, RN, CPHQ, FAHA, FAAN

There was nothing my Mother, Carlene Penry, loved more than babies and small children. My brother and I, our cousins, children of friends, children in our church, and later (and most especially) her grandchildren – she loved them all. It wasn’t that she didn’t love older children or teens, but babies and small children brought her particular joy.

Given that I grew up surrounded by cousins, I knew how to feed a baby by the time I went to school. I knew from early on that my career would be focused on children. I love children; I loved younger children when I was a child myself. Yet, most of my life, I thought I did not have much in common with my Mother. Perhaps that is true for all of us to a certain point.  For me, I saw the differences more strongly than the similarities and the core purpose that we held in common.  This was still true when she died in the Fall of 2015.

My granddaughter Elizabeth was born in December of 2017. One day, holding her, I looked up and saw my Mom. I recognized the joy that I felt holding her and knew. I knew where that came from.   I knew that not only my joy in this child, that my joy in children and my passion and purpose for serving them are her legacy to me.  While I wish I had realized this before her death, I like to think that when she saw me with my children and serving children in my career, that she looked up and saw herself. I am grateful for her gift to me.

 

Reprise – The Relentless School Nurse: A National Nursing Call to Action

by Angela Green, PhD, RN, CPHQ, FAHA, FAAN

Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN inspired me to action. Before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, all I had to offer in response to gun violence was tears, thoughts, and prayers. After the tragic shooting in Parkland, I knew I had to do more. Robin’s family story of generational trauma from exposure to gun violence and her activism post the Parkland shooting were in stark contrast to my sitting in silence. With Robin’s permission, I am sharing a guest blog that appeared in her blog, The Relentless School Nurse (https://relentlessschoolnurse.com). To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Won’t you join us?

The Relentless School Nurse: A National Nursing Call to Action

Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN

https://relentlessschoolnurse.com/2018/04/29/a-national-nursing-call-to-action/

How do we as nurses contribute to the greater good? This is an important question in our polarized world. Nurses can use our leverage as the most trusted profession to frame complex social issues from a nursing perspective. But do we? How can we amplify our voices even more? One example would be standing up for common sense gun laws.

The Parkland shootings have activated healthcare providers across the country to speak up, and out, about the public health epidemic of gun violence. Tackling this issue will take a multi-tiered, multi-sector approach and that includes the voices, talents and leadership of nurses.

Angela Green PhD, RN, CPHQ, FAAN, FAHA is my guest blogger this week. She reached out to me on Twitter after reading about my family’s generational trauma from exposure to gun violence. I am honored and inspired that Angela was moved to action through the Guest Editorial I wrote for Nursing Economics. She shares her story through this personal reflection of how she reached a place of activism. To quote Angela: “I prefer children without bullet holes.”

Angela Green, PhD, RN, CPHQ, FAAN, FAHA

I’ve been a pediatric nurse for over 30 years – children are my passion and purpose. I care passionately for the health and welfare of the children and youth of our world.   I’ve watched in horror with tears streaming down my face as news outlets covered school shootings, children and teens who were victims of drive by shootings, children dying at the hands of another child because adults left guns accessible, children and youth dying needlessly. And yet, I sat silently in my sorrow praying for all of those affected.

On February 14, 2018, silence ceased to be an option. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida was different. Part of it was that was my state; it could have been my children’s hospital receiving the students who were dead and injured. But more than that, it was the students. The students who courageously, while living through an unspeakable tragedy – said – ENOUGH. I watched these young heroes envision a future and call us to action to create that future where children, youth, and adults are safe in homes, schools, movie theaters, restaurants, concerts, and on playgrounds and city streets. I took a deep breath and joined them in using social media as a tool to help build that future. I began to feel shame that it took so long for me to move out of silent sorrow to action. And I began to wonder, what else? What else can I do?

Enter Robin Cogan, someone I followed on Twitter. Robin was sharing her father’s story, her niece Carly’s story (one of those heroes from Parkland calling us to action), stories of the violence affecting the students she serves. And Robin shared a vision of nurses uniting to be part of the solution. The students inspired me, Robin inspired me, and I reached out to Robin in response – with the question, how can I help? She shared her vision for Nurses Demand in unity with Moms Demand and Students Demand. I said – I’m in. The rest of the story is yet to be told, but 1 relentless school nurse joined with 1 relentless pediatric quality & safety nurse are out to change the world. Who else is in? -Angela Green, PhD, RN, CPHQ, FAAN, FAHA

Proceed Until Apprehended – Getting Started

On the eve of Nurses Week 2018, I’m beginning a new adventure as a blogger.  I’ve served in children’s healthcare for over 30 years.  For some time now, I’ve felt a stirring to do more to serve children and teens, yet have not found answers to what that “more” might be. Inspired by the activism of the Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School students and school nurse, Robin Cogan, I now believe that “more” should include activism to ensure that children and teens thrive.  “More” also includes supporting, developing and empowering leaders who serve children and teens.  While I am stillFlo figuring all this out, this blog will be part of that journey. So why Proceed Until Apprehended? This quote, attributed to Florence Nightingale, has long been my professional mantra.  The quote reflects the courage, grit and persistence required to make change, whether in a healthcare setting or in the larger community.  Of course, I’ll continue proceeding until apprehended in my career calling in children’s healthcare.  Watch out world, I’ll be proceeding until apprehended in new ways in service of children and teens.