Did you know that school nursing is a specialized practice of nursing? One that protects and promotes student health, development and academic achievement?
The Cherry Creek School District supports school nursing and school nurses because of the positive impact they have on student well-being and success. Cherry Creek is one of the only school districts in the state to have a school nurse in every elementary, middle and high school. These school nurses deal with typical injuries and illnesses. They administer medications and help students manage chronic medical conditions like asthma and diabetes. School nurses prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases and they help students and staff members manage their own health and wellness.
The many contributions of Cherry Creek’s school nurses were recognized during a celebration hosted by the district’s Health Services Department on May 14. School nurses were recognized for their years of service to Cherry Creek students and schools. Congratulations were offered to four school nurses who are retiring at the end of the school year. They are: Deborah DuBois, school nurse at Willow Creek Elementary; Dianne Gonzer, school nurse at Meadow Point Elementary; Joani Jackson school nurse at Thunder Ridge Middle School; and Diane Lathrop school nurse at Child Find.
The district also honored outgoing Health Services Director Suzanne Oro, who is not retiring, but “moving on” to new challenges. Oro served as the school nurse at Holly Ridge and Holly Hills for several years before taking on the position of director. It was during her time at the Hollys that she discovered her passion for bringing the professional school nurse model to her students, staff and community.
As the director of Health Services, Oro led several important initiatives, including the renovation of several school clinics and the upgrading of clinic computers and equipment. Oro started a departmental work group and secured financing to replace school trauma and go-bags to better meet the needs of students and staff in emergency situations. She also increased the number of automated external defibrillators or AEDs in buildings across the district. But most importantly, Oro supported the professional growth and development of all of the district’s school nurses.
“Suzanne has encouraged, supported and cheered on all of us who have furthered our nursing education by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in school nursing, or earning the prestigious National School Nursing Board Certification,” said incoming Health Services Director Michelle Weinraub. “We now boast close to 20 board certified school nurses in our ranks.”
To recognize Oro’s contributions to Cherry Creek Schools, the Health Services Department established a scholarship in her honor.
“Starting in 2019, one Cherry Creek school nurse will be selected each year to attend the National Association of School Nurses’ annual conference,” Weinraub said. “The award will be titled the “Suzanne Oro Cherry Creek Schools School Nurse NASN Scholarship.”
Congratulations and deepest thanks to Suzanne Oro and all of the Cherry Creek School District’s school nurses.