Every school needs a Florence Nightingale. Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree has theirs in Deborah Brancato. Debbie has been our school nurse for several years and, in those years, has provided expertise, compassion, and care in exceptional doses. For students with chronic health issues, Debbie is an invaluable resource of knowledge, patience, and support. She is the school nurse they need to weather the challenges they face each day of their high school years in and out of the classroom. For that student who simply is not feeling well—headaches, stomach aches, sniffles, and bumps and bruises—Debbie takes a temperature, applies a cold compress, makes a call home, or sends the student back to the classroom with a “tough love’’ prescription of “You’re fine!’’ For teachers and staff, Deb is a respected professional who constantly teaches all of us to pay attention to our bodies; she shows an endless capacity to listen to a litany of “what might this mean’’ and “what should I do?’’ No question is ever treated as trivial or silly and more often than not, the questions will result in Debbie finding the latest health recommendations to consider. Deborah Brancato is everything a patient wants to find in their nurse—a professional guided by knowledge that is dispensed with heart.
—Nominated by Kathleen Habel