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CCS Spotlight: School Nurses

For this month’s CCS Staff Spotlight, we’re highlighting our school nurses! It goes without saying that our school nurses have played a pivotal role in making our school run successfully, especially with the added challenges that COVID-19 has brought upon us. The pandemic has forced us to be acutely aware of our health and safety each and every day. With the support and talent of our school nurses, we take great solace in knowing that our students are in great hands and have a team of health professionals that are there for them no matter what. We would like to thank our school nurses and shine the spotlight on this incredible team– we hope you enjoy learning a little more about Donna Briner, Deborah O’Reilly, and Patricia Golden. 

 

Meet Donna Briner

1) What are the responsibilities of your role? 

My favorite motto has always been "Children must learn to be healthy and Be healthy to learn."  My focus is on keeping students healthy and teaching them to be healthy.  EVERY nurse visit can be an opportunity to teach self-care, safety, compassion, and healthy habits.  I screen students for barriers to learning by checking their hearing and vision.  I assess and treat illnesses and injuries,  and long-term health conditions, as well as administer emergency medications and routine daily meds.  I speak with parents regularly regarding the health and wellness of their child/children.

2) Why did you choose this position?

Honestly, because I had 4 children attending this school and commuting to the hospital at 6:00 am and returning home after 4:00 pm was not working for my family.  I thought that following a school day schedule would make being a mom so much easier. The next question leads into this....

3) How long have you worked in Corinth Central School District?

22 years later, I'm still here! My children are grown and now my grandchildren attend this school. I fell in love with this job and have never looked back. I have been an RN for 37 years.

4) What is your favorite thing about this job?

My favorite thing about this job is the students! I feel that I "make a difference" every day! I love the connection I make with them.  Elementary students keep me very busy, as "little things are big things" here,  but I laugh a lot!

5) If a student was going to pursue your position, what advice would you give him/her?

This is not an easy job, as many people think. I work alone as a medical professional and must be prepared for the challenges that presents, as well as any emergency involving students and staff. It is very rewarding and appreciated by many. I now care for the children of my former students!

6) What has presented the biggest challenge in your position during our new school year with COVID-19 protocols in place?

The biggest challenge this year, for me, has been sending students home with complaints that I would normally work to assess or resolve using my nursing skills. I miss that and it's been hard for me to have to send students home quickly due to COVID-19. Now it's...."you have a stomachache, or cough, or headache, etc?" "HOME you go!"

7) What is one positive thing about the new school year?

HaHa! Fewer Nurse visits for the "little" stuff (chapped lips, invisible wounds, etc.)  This is not going to change after COVID-19!  I have also enjoyed helping my co-workers to become vaccinated, and to help them survive this new life and work the pandemic has created.

8) What is your favorite part of Corinth (school or community)?

I have lived in Corinth my entire life. I attended and graduated from CCS. My husband is an alumna and I raised 4 children here. I have always loved the power of our community and how we come together during difficult times or times of need. I have witnessed this so many times and again during the Covid pandemic. Our School mirrors this commitment to the community and is the epicenter of the Community.

9) Is there one (or more) personal fact(s) about you that you are willing to share?

I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was 3 years old!  I'm a procrastinator and work GREAT under pressure!

10) Do you feel as though each of your roles in the school has an important and special place in what makes this school what it is?

Absolutely! I truly feel that staff and parents appreciate, and trust, my knowledge, and guidance. It has been proven that School Nurses improve attendance, and promote health and wellness. I am a nurse to students and staff and take the responsibility very seriously. I also work with the BEST people in the world!  We are a team!

11) Has there ever been something you’ve wanted to do (such as doing a new elective or club) and if so, are you still interested in said thing?

A few years ago, a staff member and I did a series of mini-courses after school. A first aid course where students learned basic first aid and made their own first aid kit, we did a healthy snack class where each student made a healthy snack weekly and learned nutritional values and why the snack was healthy, and even a scrapbooking class!  When I retire, I would love to do some of these again!

12) If there was one thing you could say to the entire Corinth community, what would it be?

I would say THANK YOU!  Thank you for sharing and trusting your young children to me every day of the school year.  I would also thank our community for all it does for our school, and for our students and their families!  There is no better place to live and work.

 

Meet Deborah O’Reilly

1) What are the responsibilities of your role? 

My responsibilities are varied. I maintain the student’s health records and immunization records according to NYS. I help to keep the staff and students safe and healthy throughout the school day. I help to manage all the COVID-19 information on students and staff in the District. I give medications to students that need them throughout the school day. I provide emotional support for staff and students.

2) Why did you choose this position?

I have worked in hospital and clinic settings for 34 years. This job gives me the opportunity to use all the knowledge I have accumulated throughout the years in a setting that is helping keep children and adults healthy in my own community.

3) How long have you worked in Corinth Central School District?

I started here in September 2020

4) What is your favorite thing about this job?

My favorite thing about this job is the students. Developing relationships with them and encouraging them to stay healthy and learn.

5) If a student was going to pursue your position, what advice would you give him/her?

I tell all nursing students to get experience in the hospital first. It creates a good knowledge base to then expand your career into other settings. 

6) What has presented the biggest challenge in your position during our new school year with COVID-19 protocols in place?

The biggest COVID-19 challenge was not being able to use any nursing judgment when students come into the office with a complaint. New York State gave us symptoms that students had to go home if complained of and get COVID-19 tests. Hopefully, next year will be different. No parent ever wants to hear from the school nurse, especially this year!

7) What is one positive thing about the new school year?

The collaboration of staff in managing the COVID-19 situation and being able to keep students coming to the building for in-person learning.

8) What is your favorite part of Corinth (school or community)?

The small community feel of the school surrounded by beautiful mountains and river.

9) Is there one (or more) personal fact(s) about you that you are willing to share?

I love kayaking and boating on our pontoon boat.

10) Do you feel as though each of your roles in the school has an important and special place in what makes this school what it is?

Yes. I feel the school nurse is important and has many roles and responsibilities.

11) Has there ever been something you’ve wanted to do (such as doing a new elective or club) and if so, are you still interested in said thing?

I’ve always wanted to downhill ski, but now I no longer want to at my age.

12) If there was one thing you could say to the entire Corinth community, what would it be?

I want our students in school. I am here for the students and families. Never hesitate to reach out to me!

 

Meet Patricia Golden

1) What are the responsibilities of your role? 

Many bandaids, some physical, some emotional. School nurses wear many “hats” (dentist, shoemaker, seamstress, eyeglass repair etc.)

2) Why did you choose this position?

In my previous job, I worked for a physician but they closed the office. I then substituted for a few schools and found my way here.

3) How long have you worked in Corinth Central School District?

This is my eighth year at Corinth.

4) What is your favorite thing about this job?

The students.

5) If a student was going to pursue your position, what advice would you give him/her?

It takes a special person to work as a school nurse. You should pick a career based on passion, not money.

6) What has presented the biggest challenge in your position during our new school year with Covid protocols in place?

Social distancing has created challenges when it comes to being a school nurse. A lot of assessment skills become difficult when social distancing.

7) What is one positive thing about the new school year?

Keeping a sense of humor throughout!

8) What is your favorite part of Corinth (school or community)?

Corinth is a very optimistic school with a positive atmosphere.

9) Is there one (or more) personal fact(s) about you that you are willing to share?

I have a sense of humor.

10) Do you feel as though each of your roles in the school has an important and special place in what makes this school what it is? 

Helping the students feel better and feel as though they have been taken care of so they can continue on with their day.

11) Has there ever been something you’ve wanted to do (such as doing a new elective or club) and if so, are you still interested in said thing?

Learn to play the bagpipes.

12) If there was one thing you could say to the entire Corinth community, what would it be?

Corinth is Community!!

Mar 31, 2021