MAMARONECK, N.Y. Mamaroneck High School students know Karen Cofino as the school nurse, but now she is also the president of the New York State Association of School Nurses (NYSASN).Cofino, a Mamaroneck resident, has been a nurse in the Mamaroneck school district for 16 years. After raising her kids, she decided to pursue her aspirations of becoming a nurse."I've always wanted to be a nurse," said Cofino, who graduated from the Cochran School of Nursing in 1985. "When I got into school nursing, as just part of my professionalism, I looked into professional organizations, the NYSASN being one of them."The NYSASN began in 1983 and is the professional organization for New York State's school nurses. The group held a ceremony Nov. 5 to both induct Cofino as president and celebrate its 25th anniversary. "It was just such a special, joyous night," she said. "Everybody that was in that room was touched. Last November I was inducted as the president elect, and this November was the actual induction ceremony."Cofino will serve a three-year term as president for the NYSASN, which she got involved with in 2005. In 2007, she joined the board of directors, which meets four times a year and has roughly 30 members, she said. "School nurses are independent practitioners, and they need somebody to be their point person, and that's part of who we are," said Cofino, who earned her bachelors degree from the College of New Rochelle. "We also offer a lot of continuing education for school nurses."The NYSASN works with the State Education Department on legislation concerning school nursing and relays any changes to nurses across New York State. "We are their liaison with regard to guidelines and things they need to know, especially with regard to legislation," she said. "We try to be their eyes and ears."While Cofino is looking forward to her new role, students can still find her at the nurse's office at Mamaroneck High School, where she is reminded everyday of why she chose this field. "High school kids are great," said Cofino, who is in her third year at MHS, after 13 years at the Mamaroneck Avenue School. "The kids are definitely the rewarding part of this job."
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