Nurse Smith promoted

Published 1:12 pm Monday, November 5, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Although Susan Smith is not leaving Rachel Patterson Elementary School, she is taking on many more job responsibilities as the new lead nurse for the Escambia County Public School System.
Smith has been a nurse for more than 25 years and has been working as Rachel Patterson's nurse for four years. However, as of Nov. 1, Smith became the lead nurse for all of the public schools in the county.
Smith said her position of lead nurse will involve more correspondence with other nurses in the county.
"I will be based at Rachel Patterson," Smith said. "I will travel to all the public schools that are served by the Escambia County Board of Education. What is now different is that it will be my responsibility that the five nurses that are now employed with our system get all the information needed that involves nursing to the appropriate persons. I will make sure that all students' records are kept up-to-date and I will ensure that we all continue to work as team members."
Smith said that all nursing correspondence will also go through her.
"All communication as far as any medical problem that may occur that could not be handled by the other staff nurses will come to me," she said. "And I will be making sure all of our nursing licenses are up-to-date. I'll be responsible for making sure we have continuing education programs. And I will be assisting the principals of the schools with updates that may occur statewide. I will be dealing with the overall awareness of health wellness within each school."
Smith said hopefully by the end of the school year the Escambia County School System will be able to initiate some new programs. But, Smith's top priority is the wellness of the students in Escambia County.
"The No. 1 priority with me is to ensure that our students have a healthy environment while at each school and that all medical needs within our scope are taken care of," she said. "I feel like our children are our most valuable resource and if they are sick they can't learn. I don't know who invented the Band-Aid, but whoever did is going to Heaven because the majority of the time a Band-Aid and a hug cures everything."
Smith had nothing but good things to say about the other five nurses in the county.
"I think we have the best nurses in our county who really work with parents on a daily basis," she said.
Smith said Huxford Elementary School principal Donna Silcox formerly was the nurse supervisor before accepting the top job at HES.
"This is a new position however Donna Silcox who is now the principal at Huxford was in charge of the nurses prior to my being hired as the lead nurse," Smith said.
Smith said being a nurse for children is something she was meant to do.
"I do believe this is where I need to be," Smith said. "I believe I make a difference in children's lives. It is hard sometimes to say 'goodbye' to these kids when they move on because you really get attached."
RPES principal Susan McKenzie said Smith has been a joy to work with for the time she has been head of the school and that she will do a good job as lead nurse.
"It has been a pleasure to work with Susan Smith for the past year and a half," McKenzie said. "She is so knowledgeable about the medical field. She loves these children and they love her."
Smith said herself and the rest of the nurses in the Escambia County School System are open to communication with parents.
"I think if there are parents out there with concerns regarding their child's health, my door is open and any of the other nurses employed with the system will be happy to answer any question they might have," she said.
Smith said she is especially grateful for Billy Hines giving her this opportunity.
"I appreciate the confidence our superintendent Billy Hines has in me and I have vowed to do the very best job expected of me," she said.

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