Insights: the Magnus Health Blog

Emergency Plans: The top 5 mistakes to avoid [Guest Post]

Posted by Chris Joffe on Mar 25, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Imagine this…the fire alarm goes off but you know it’s not a drill. What happens next? Does your staff know who to communicate with and when, in order to get everyone to safety? Are there enough staff trained and prepared, who can lead the school to safety based on the plan that is outlined in that giant binder?

This scenario can happen at any time, during school hours or in the middle of the night. Whether it is a catastrophic emergency or a smaller contained issue, your staff will need to be prepared to deploy and facilitate the appropriate responses to each situation.

So the question is: How prepared is your staff to deploy the plan your administration painstakingly put into place?


As the leading provider of emergency services for more than 100 schools, Joffe Emergency Services has seen the effects of emergency plans gone wrong. Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid when it comes to emergency planning for your school.

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Topics: Emergencies Guest Posts

Back to school [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Sep 10, 2014 9:02:00 AM

So many behavioral things happen in our country that signal the start of the school year - commercials, news stories, advertisements. Perhaps your school starts at a different time or even continues year round. Still your life is somewhat impacted by the event we call “back to school”. For school staff, including school nurses, this is both a new beginning and a series of stress-filled, very long, work days. I now know that tasks required of the general population of public school nurses differ significantly from those of private school nurses. Thanks to my attendance at the Magnus Academy this summer, I met dozens of you, willing to share your stories with me. Thank you. I look forward to learning more from you about the unique issues you face in private schools and the creative solutions you’ve accomplished. welcome_back_to_school

A few years into my practice as a school nurse, I asked a seasoned school nurse what I was doing wrong in September. She listened carefully and grinned wider, the longer I talked. “I just can’t seem to get organized,” I’d said, “and every day I feel as if I’ve taken ten steps backward instead of three forward. How can I make September go more smoothly for myself, my students and the staff?” I implored.

When she replied, it was with kindness and care in her voice. “September will never go well. You must start each day fresh, confident in your ability to prioritize, to organize and to move ahead. Make a plan and then deviate from it whenever you really need to. Reschedule what issues can wait. Never turn away a frightened child or a frantic parent. Never minimize a staff members concerns. Always remember your purpose, your value and your importance. Before you know it, the snow will fall and you’ll realize everything that needed to be done, was accomplished. And next fall it will start all over.”

From my own experiences, I’ve put together a small arsenal of strategies that helped me through September. I hope you can take some of these tips and they help you as you head back to school.

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Topics: School Nurses Guest Posts

The reality of food allergies [Guest Post]

Posted by Carrie Chandler on Mar 11, 2014 9:13:00 AM

"Food allergies." What?! I knew that allergies ran in my family, because I grew up with them, but allergic to food? And not just one food group, but four major food groups, and others too?

A feeling of helplessness and fear came over me when my son Daniel, my third child, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies at the age of ten months old. The realization that my child could die from eating food was a shock, despite knowing another child with food allergies from the on-site medical day care where I worked as a pediatric occupational therapist and director. Thus began the eye-opening journey of education (mine and others'), label reading, revised cooking, and fear for every new situation that occurred.

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Topics: Health Trends Guest Posts

Teens, sleep, and social media [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Feb 4, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Sleep. It's something most of us ironically daydream about more often than actually get.  We are all guilty of it at one time or another; deterring Mr. Sandman for a few more minutes of Facetime. Or perhaps another necessary Facebook post or response. We push ourselves to stay awake and tell ourselves that just a few more minutes on the phone or our tablet in the dark won't do any harm.  But that's where we are wrong. 

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Topics: Health Trends Guest Posts

Mind tricks to help you choose the right college [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Jan 22, 2014 8:33:00 AM

For many high school students, senior year is an exciting time: after all the classes, tests, and extra-curricular activities, the time has almost come for the next big step: college!

There is, however, one part of being a senior that causes a lot of stress for students: choosing the right university.

Selecting a college can be daunting. Not only is the choice important – higher education is the key to a long and satisfying career – but it also reflects the first big life decision that a young person makes, and that can bring added anxiety. 

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Topics: Guest Posts

Coaching an athlete on the importance of physical and mental health [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Dec 19, 2013 7:59:00 AM

The “10,000 hour rule” is a rule proposed by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. It suggests that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill such as playing the piano, chess or playing a sport, such as swimming. Today, adolescent athletes are working longer and harder than ever before to get the competitive edge. But it is not always fun and games when training an elite athlete. At some point, most elite athletes struggle with a setback, whether it be a physical injury or a mental roadblock. Coaches must make sure certain actions are taken before these roadblocks can occur. Swimmer1_smaller

Coaches need to be conscious of the physical stress their athletes may experience. They must always educate the athletes on proper technique and the importance of alerting a coach when something doesn’t feel right. I have coached athletes that push through the pain and brush it off, not alerting the coaches to the issue. They are afraid, perhaps, of taking time off or having to tone down their training. On the other hand, I have coached athletes who alert their coach when they experience aches and pains. Coaches need to educate and remind their athletes to have a free flowing stream of communication in regards to any aches or pains that occur. If this does not happen, the swimmer can hit rock bottom and will be unable to train on a daily basis. The physical damage may have already been done to a point of no repair. Physical injury can be preventable, but it also will be inevitable at some point. It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure that athletes know that it is okay to talk to their coach about how they feel.

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Topics: Athletics Guest Posts

Social media leakage before school shootings [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Dec 18, 2013 8:07:00 AM

Warning: Videos within this post contain violent and/or disturbing material and may be upsetting to some audiences.

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Topics: Liability & Risk Management Emergencies Guest Posts

When there’s a ‘louse in the house’ [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Nov 27, 2013 8:03:00 AM

I am so tired of being ‘politically correct’ – at least when it comes to individual school board decisions on what [condition/disease] would warrant exclusion from school. I’m talking LICE!lice

I raised two girls, who loved having long hair, in the public school system. At the time, I was not yet a practicing school nurse, and the time and expense I personally encountered for several years was truly a big deal. Not only did I spend hours at night combing out nits and shampooing with toxic solutions over and over, we even arranged for our house to be “bombed” by professionals, whose mission it was to execute whatever arachnid-like creature had taken up residence, while we stayed at a hotel for a week. Between the lice bombing and hotel stay, I had a five grand headache. Oh, and both girls got lice again.

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Topics: Guest Posts

Janet's Law: Implications for School Nurse responsibilities [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Nov 12, 2013 8:54:00 AM

Due to the fact that each year approximately 220,000 persons die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), schools all over the United States are writing and enacting policies to increase SCA survival rate with strategies that will deliver defibrillation earlier than an EMS system. defibrillator

In New Jersey, the bill ensuring that all public schools, which include any of the grades kindergarten through grade 12, make available an automated external defibrillator (AED) on school property is designated "Janet’s Law." This nomenclature is in memory of a student who died of SCA following a cheerleading practice in New Jersey.

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Topics: Emergencies Regulations & Legislation School Nurses Guest Posts

The Intersection of FERPA and HIPAA: Which Rule Applies? (Part 3) [Guest Post]

Posted by Kathryn Sloop on Oct 30, 2013 8:21:00 AM

This is part 3 of a 3-part series by guest author, Karen Gregory.

In the last two posts we have reviewed how FERPA, and at limited times HIPAA, apply to student records. This last post will review the basic precepts of how the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules protect health information.

The HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, which are part of The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act, outline protections for specific health information in verbal, written, and electronic format.

Computer security

The Privacy Rule establishes certain patient rights of access and the ability of the patient to direct how their health information may be used or disclosed. Additionally the Privacy Rule describes how protected health information may be utilized to provide healthcare services.

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Topics: Regulations & Legislation Compliance Guest Posts