by Elizabeth Nightingale, SPS Nurse Leader
I am respectfully nominating High School Nurse Kathy Grant for the Sandwich District Employee of the Year! I have had the pleasure of being her Nurse Leader for a few months, but quickly became a big fan. Her professionalism impressed me back in August when she diligently worked to cover the high school health office with substitutes during the first two weeks of school anticipating that she would be on an extended leave. Kathy’s dedication came through and as she could not stay away during the vital “back to school’ period – a very busy time especially in the Health Office; she called regularly and even came in on a regular basis to check in. I quickly learned that I am not the only member of the fan club! During her absence, I spent some time in her office and had many visitors looking to say hi to Nurse Grant- nothing was wrong with their health, they simply wanted to connect with their friend, Mrs. Grant. Although always polite and displaying manners, many of the health office visitors were disappointed when they heard that Kathy was not in! “Tell her I said hi” or I would get an “about face” as soon as the person discovered that Nurse Grant was not in! I kept my fingers crossed under my desk that she would be back soon!!
After being in my role only a few weeks, I learned of the numerous bonds and relationships that Kathy has created over her past decades with the district on numerous levels and I would like to note that much of her work exemplifies the 2017-2022 District Strategy! Regarding “Teaching and Learning,” Mrs. Grant assists her students and staff to develop problem-solving strategies as they work to overcome both temporary or chronic health conditions. Her “Communication” offers uniform and consistent messaging to students, parents and the community while being both confidential and judgment free. Mrs. Grant supports the “Culture” of a unified district and she has formed so many relationships that I cannot fathom how she gets through the grocery store. In the area of “Wellness” Mrs. Grant’s efforts support keeping our school community strong, healthy and connected. She offers focused help in the area of social emotional needs and safety. In addition to her daily health office responsibilities, over the years, she has collaborated with the school guidance counselors, social workers, and resource officer to participate in solution based programs in a variety of areas.
I noticed that Nurse Grant has a keen sense of prioritizing while treating everyone in her office with respect and kindness as she cares for both students and staff. She innately knows when to take something lightly or to drill down deeper on an issue – an outstanding quality in a school nurse or a friend! I have trained hundreds of nurses and this innate sense is sometimes never developed!
Early on I asked Kathy about her school nursing philosophy and she said ” I try to instill “hope” for everyone who comes through the door- they need that – it affects their healing.”