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Rutherford School Nurse Works to Help Fight Covid-19

Submitted by Rutherford Public Schools

Washington School Nurse, Lynn McShane, Has Volunteered on Front-Lines Since March

Being in healthcare is more of a calling than a career for Rutherford Public School Nurse Lynn McShane. In addition to caring for students at Washington School, she’s volunteered countless hours to help the North Jersey community since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.

“I felt I had to do my part, in some way, to help others during this unprecedented time,” said McShane. “That's why I became a nurse to begin with.”

With classes being held remotely for the second-half of last school year, McShane used the time that would’ve been spent caring for students to instead help in the fight against COVID-19. She went to work on the front lines last March by volunteering at the New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus. She first served on a team performing drive-through nasal swab COVID tests two to four days a week, and then increased her commitment to five days a week last summer at mobile testing units all around the county.

With the district now operating on a hybrid schedule, McShane is back caring for students, but that hasn’t stopped her additional work. Since September, she has volunteered each Sunday (and some Saturdays) back at New Bridge Medical Center outside the ambulance bay performing nasal antigen testing.

“Before my first day of volunteering, I was nervous - as was everyone else - because I didn't know if I was putting myself in harm's way,” McShane recalled. “I knew it was the right thing to do, but I didn't know if I had the specific skill sets that would be necessary. Volunteering with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center and Bergen County has been a great experience. I have always felt that they put the health of their volunteers at the forefront.”

“Her service and dedication to our school would already be enough, but her volunteerism has provided us all with an incredible example of selflessness and compassion,” said Washington School Principal Bill Mulcahy. “We are very grateful to have Ms. McShane as our School Nurse at Washington School, and we are extremely proud of her commitment to the community."

McShane has been with the Rutherford Public School District for more than a decade, and has provided valuable insight to the school community on health and wellness. She works closely with the Rutherford Health Department to ensure proper procedures are followed and has been instrumental in providing parents and staff with timely and pertinent information regarding COVID-19. She even created a video for students and families titled, Multiple Measures of Protection: The Swiss Cheese Model to Staying Safe.

“Education is the key,” said McShane. “The video talks about all the different things we need to do to try to stay safe (handwashing, masking up, social distancing), since each one, individually, may not work.”

The video was so well-received that it’s been shared by other local school nurses and has been viewed more than 3,000 times. McShane’s new information-sharing effort revolves around the coronavirus vaccine. She’s already received two doses and it gives her hope for the future.

“So many people ask me questions about COVID-19 and the vaccination,” she said, “not only parents and teachers, but others in the community as well. I absolutely feel it is my duty and obligation to only give factual, science-based responses. I do everything I can to model best practices and try to educate those who don't.”

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