There’s a vital group of professionals who promote the health of students: school nurses. At Douglas Education Service District, the dedicated nursing team provides services to students. From onsite medical care to health education, the services contribute to the success of students.

Douglas ESD’s nursing program began in 2015 and has grown from two registered nurses to eight. Barb Hofford was one of the first registered nurses that Douglas ESD hired. She currently works as a nurse consultant for the agency.

“School nurses bring needed resources to our schools and the communities they serve,” she said. “Not only do they work with students with special health needs, but they bring their own professionalism, desire to serve, knowledge, outside-the-box thinking and compassion for others. Our nurses feel privileged to work with our communities in this important role.”

The nursing program provides training to all school districts in Douglas County. The program contracts with eleven districts and offers tailored services.

“At the Yoncalla School District, we have made it a priority to increase access to healthcare. Our current nursing collaboration with Douglas ESD has been key to helping provide a service that is often overlooked in schools today,” said Yoncalla Superintendent Brian Berry. “With our current investment, we have been able to maintain the health and wellbeing of our students, families and community. Our school nurse has been influential in helping to strengthen our approach to health-related issues from something as simple as applying an ice pack but as complex as an emergency injection to deal with allergic reactions. This investment has been cost effective in our long-term strategy to improve health outcomes. They also collaborate with our families on various health related issues, and quite frankly they are a part of our Yoncalla School District family.”

Beth Durbin is the Douglas ESD nurse who works in the Yoncalla School District “Nurses are taught that we provide holistic nursing care, to care for the whole person not just a specific ailment,” Durbin said. “In school nursing, I have learned that not only do we provide holistic care on an individual level, but at the school, district and community level. Building trusting relationships with our students, staff, and community partners is the basis of providing well rounded, equitable health care. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with students and our community.”

School nurses contribute to healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

In a leap towards modernizing healthcare, Douglas ESD nurses have bid farewell to the days of paper charts and embraced the digital era. Thanks to a collaboration with Douglas ESD’s Electronic Information and Design Department, the nursing team has transitioned to secure, accessible digital charting records. Not only does this enhance efficiency, but it also ensures seamless continuity of care, even when a child relocates to a different school.

The role of a school nurse extends beyond the school walls. They collaborate with community organizations and health agencies to advocate for students. By participating in community initiatives, a network of support is available to students. This coordination ensures that students receive consistent care, both inside and outside school. This care leads to better health outcomes and academic success.

The next time you see a school nurse, take a moment to appreciate the caring hands that work to safeguard the wellbeing of our future generations.

Many moving parts help children learn and thrive. Douglas Education Service District is one of the moving pieces. The agency partners with school districts and organizations. The goal is to increase opportunities for all children, from birth to adulthood. This article is part of an ongoing series that features programs and people who help students succeed.