School Nurses: The Hidden Healthcare System | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 227

Gloria Barrera currently works as a Certified School Nurse at an Illinois high school; she also serves as an adjunct professor of nursing at DePaul University, Chamberlain College of Nursing, and Capella University. She is committed to being a lifelong learner and continues her efforts improving child health outcomes in vulnerable populations through her current practice, advocacy, and teaching.

Gloria serves on the Board of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses-Illinois Chapter and the Illinois Association of School Nurses. She also represents the American Public Health Association’s Public Health Nursing Section in the Nursing Coalition on Climate Change and Health. She is an active member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and is interested in environmental health.

She is the President Elect of the Illinois Association of School Nurses and sits on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, as well as an active member of ANA-Illinois and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.

From the website of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments:

As a public health nurse, Gloria stresses a healthy environment as being key to a healthy life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies asthma as a leading chronic illness and cause of absenteeism in school-aged children and adolescents. As a school nurse in Illinois she was noticing an increase in the amount of students with asthma. “On average, in a classroom of 30, about 3 students are likely to have asthma”, Gloria states. To address this concern, through her work with the Illinois Association of School Nurses, she has focused on ensuring better management of asthma in schools and in educating about the impact of air quality on student health.

Additionally, Gloria highlights how exposure to poor air quality impacts health by contributing to adverse outcomes such as premature death, cancer, and cardiovascular and respiratory harm. “Action to decrease air pollution is a public health priority to create healthy environments for all”, Gloria indicates when discussing the health impacts of poor air quality. Active in both the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), Gloria frequently speaks to legislators on the need to for strong policy that improves air quality. She has met with elected officials to advocate for methane emission regulations to reduce air pollution from oil and gas production and other polices that would improve air quality for communities, especially for children and among the Hispanic community.

Locally, she has been vocal about the importance of addressing environmental health in nursing and public health practice through her involvement with the Illinois chapter of NAHN and the Illinois Public Health Association. As an adjunct faculty she is preparing the next generation of nurses to understand how the environment impacts health and the role that nurses can play in addressing critical issues. Barrera highlights, “In my teaching, I make it a point to note the critical nature of our environment and how we, as nurses, must stand up and advocate for our patients and the populations we serve.”

Barrera was recognized as a “40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader” Awardee in 2016 through the American Nurses Association-IL, and in 2017 through the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. She was the recipient of EverThrive’s Illinois’ Dr. Garry Gardner’s Health Care Provider Award in 2017.

Barrera serves on two committees for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE). In 2016, she was chosen to represent public health in DC and speak to lawmakers on behalf of ANHE in regards to methane emission regulation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Saint Xavier University, and a master’s degree in nursing from Olivet Nazarene University.

Connect with Gloria and her various interests:

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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife, the therapeutic story coach, group facilitator, and writer, Mary Rives, and their remarkably adorable and intelligent cat, George.

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