A lot of work goes into becoming a nurse. Nursing is very complex, demanding, and crucial. A school nurse takes on multiple responsibilities in order to help each student get well.
Ms. Donna Conso is Abington High’s school nurse, but nursing was not always her main interest. She took on this role to benefit children’s health. In a recent interview, she explained how far she has come to where she is now.
“From high school I went to Stonehill College where I studied education,” Ms. Conso said. “After a year at Stonehill, I decided this was not the school for me. I moved on to UMASS Boston and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.”
During her last semester she participated in a counseling internship pertaining to substance abuse. Ms. Conso said, “I found myself very interested in what the nurses were doing and immediately enrolled in a nursing program. The wait list for nursing programs was very long at the time. I did secure a spot in the Quincy College Practical Nurse program.”
Ten months after enrolling herself in Quincy College’s nursing program, she became an LPN in 2007. She said, “This program allows students to be licensed practical nurses after sitting for the NCLEX exam” (National Council Licensure Examination).”
From there, she “worked for a few years and then went on to become a registered nurse,” she said. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at MGH-IHP (MGH Institute of Health Professions) in 2013.
From 2007-2009, while a nursing student, Ms. Conso also worked in a long-term care facility and then moved onto Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she worked for five years from 2009-2014.
Furthermore, Ms. Conso went from a nurse to a first-time mother. “I left BWH after the birth of my first daughter and started working locally at Good Samaritan Hospital.”
Currently she still does this along with working part time at Abington High. “I have continued my employment at Good Samaritan. I work there per diem, usually 1-2 shifts per week,” Ms. Conso said.
She also recently received her master’s in nursing education in January of 2020 through Western Governors University.
Ms. Conso commented on her own personal outlook of how far she’s come. “I think of myself as a bit of a professional student. In total I have attended five colleges, including Stonehill College, UMass Boston, Quincy College, MGH-IHP, and WGU. I have a degree or certificate from four of those schools.”
In discussing her current, fourth year employment at Abington, caring for both high school and pre-school students, she said, “The position includes managing 600 high school students and 129 preschool students. In one month, the office can see anywhere from 800 to 1000 visits. On average 60 students visit the health office daily. Every visit requires documentation in our medical records system.”
When asked what she feels the most rewarding part about being a nurse is, she said, “The most rewarding aspect of the job is seeing students mature and become successful young adults. I love working with children,” she said.
The job also has challenges. “The most challenging part of the job is organization and prioritization as well as managing two very different age groups,” she said.
Ms. Conso’s attitude, hard work and determination to help others speaks volumes, and students of Abington are appreciative to have her with us as a well-known, educated nurse.