School nurses recognized at the Blaine House

Maine 2016 School Nurse of the Year, along with some retiring school nurses, were honored last week for their years of not only service to Maine’s schools but the nurturing they have given to our children. “The nurses in this room total hundreds of years of nursing,” said Nancy Dube, the Maine Department of Education’s nurse consultant.

Maine’s School Nurse of the Year Susan Dunn (left) and Maine DOE’s Nancy Dube talk with a reporter at the Blaine House.

Susan Dunn who works in three schools in SAD 6, with close to 600 children, was honored as the School Nurse of the Year. She said, “These students teach me every day; they are amazing.” She, along with all the nurses in the room, echoed that schools are expected to do more as the roles of parenting have changed. “These children sometimes come with their challenges, and we can just be a good listener and offer a lot of nurturing and care,” says Dunn.

Maine Association of School Nurses President Teresa Merrill said of the six retiring nurses who were recognized at the event, “A nurse’s dedication is ongoing as nurses are always searching for knowledge in their desire to provide the best care for students.”

Deputy Education Commission Bill Beardsley said, “Nurses have a role in expanding the whole economy, and they cover all aspects of healthcare.”

Joanie Mitchell is retiring after 25 years of nursing and the past 11 years at Brunswick High School. After her fly fishing and horseback riding vacation, she plans to be a substitute nurse in the school system. SAD 22’s Barbara Carter is retiring after 35 years of nursing. She said, “We treat our children with love as every one of them is special.”

Deb Pine-Young has been a nurse for 35 years retiring from the Lake Region school system where she has worked as an elementary school nurse for the past ten years. “I will miss the kids. I have had a lot of fun with them; they have made every day pleasurable for me.” Linda Camic, a nurse of 33 years, 14 of those years at Winslow High, recognizes there is a demand for school nurses as it is a well-needed position in all schools.

Dube, who has been with Maine DOE for 10 years, and in nursing for  36 years total, said, “Nurses are silent in a lot of places doing their work in an effortless manner, always striving for the best health and education outcomes for the students they serve. They truly are unsung heroes in our schools.”