CORRECTION: In our June newsletter we incorrectly stated that Boston was the first city in the country to institute school nurses. Member Dorothy Keeney shared this bit of clarification for us and we very much appreciate it.
Boston, Massachusetts is not the first city, nor Massachusetts the first state to start school nursing. New York City, in 1902, was the first city to start a school nurse program in its school. Los Angeles followed New York City, and Boston started its program in 1905. Nurse Annie McKay was appointed on December 6, 1905, to a pilot project placing a nurse in three Boston schools, namely the Quincy, Andrews, and Way Street schools. Her legacy in Boston public schools lay in making a free education accessible to more children and especially for scores of immigrant children to pursue an essential aspect of the American Dream. Her pioneering work also helped establish a system of health assessment, intervention, and follow-up for all school children which is still enjoyed today.
Boston led the way in 1894 to improve health care for school children by implementing the medical inspection of students in schools using physicians. They were the first city in the US to establish this new program, following in the footsteps of England and Europe.
Dorothy has published a book about school nurses called, The Untold Story of Annie McKay and the Boston Public School Nurses 1905-1988 The Formation of the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization.