Marie is a school nurse at the Community School in North Attleboro. The school has approximately 360 kids, kindergarten through fifth grade. At the beginning of each school year, Marie has to update all of the children’s medical records, making sure that the children have had a recent physical and are current with their vaccinations and inoculations. She also contacts parents of children who come to school with specific health issues, allergies, or medications, to make sure that she is on the same page as the parent regarding the level of medical care. In addition, Marie conducts vision and hearing screenings and height and weight measurements for all of the children. On any given day, Marie will see between 60 and 80 kids. The ailments could be a bruised knee at recess, a loose tooth about to fall out, a fever or cold, a scratching head full of lice. Due to employment circumstances, Marie may be the only medical person available to the child.
Marie is often more than a nurse; she is also a psychologist and an advocate. An upset stomach could mean that someone is nervous about an upcoming test or being bullied at recess time. A headache could mean that someone doesn’t want to go home because a new adult is in the picture. Marie has to be on the lookout for any signs of abuse or neglect. She sees some students on a daily basis; some for an inhaler, some for diabetes checks, and some for medication. One such child has some learning and eating issues. Marie brings in a piece of fruit and raisins every day. Like clockwork, the child comes down for morning and afternoon snack. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, Marie reaches out to several local organizations to provide food, clothes, and toys for the less fortunate kids. She also makes jewelry and makes it available to the teachers. All of the proceeds go to purchasing gift cards for families in need. Marie demonstrates clinical knowledge and, more importantly, compassion on a daily basis as a school nurse.
—Nominated by Larry Burke