Knox County School Nurses Honored As Knox.biz Healthcare Heroes

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Long before COVID-19, Knox County health workers and school nurses were in the trenches caring for the children.

School nurses help students with medication, tube feeding, and even ventilators. They also help with student care plans, which outline a patient’s diagnosis, interventions, and goals of care.

“We’re talking about trained nurses, not band-aids and ice packs,” Fulton High School nurse Sheila Davis said.

Learn more about our winners:Knox.biz 2021 Health Care Heroes Award Recipients

But the pandemic has thrown an important, sometimes overwhelming, task on the knees of school nurses: They were tasked with tracing contacts of COVID-19 cases last school year.

Shelia Davis, nurse at Fulton High School, at L&N STEM Academy on Tuesday August 3, 2021.

When a student or staff member tested positive for COVID-19, school nurses examined pictures of the buses and the dining hall and seating plans to determine who needed to be quarantined.

They called parents and guardians, people who were often stressed because they did not have reliable child care.

“We understood that it was a hardship for parents because we are all parents,” said Davis. “So we figured that out. However, we were in a pandemic and we had to resort to extraordinary means. And we all had to work together, all of us, not just nurses, everyone has to work together and be in pain. comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. “

Health workers worked weekends, late nights and holidays.

Lisa Wagoner, Knox County Schools Health Services Supervisor, pictured in the library at L&N STEM Academy on Tuesday August 3, 2021.

Health services supervisor Lisa Wagoner said she works every weekend from September to March. His team was particularly diligent.

“And you didn’t want to quarantine kids who didn’t need it either,” said Tammy Lane, L&N STEM Academy nurse. “So you had to be prepared.”

“We were in rooms with tape measures,” Gibbs Elementary nurse Sonya Smith said as nurses tried to identify who had come in contact with the virus.

Sonya Smith, nurse at Gibbs Elementary School at L&N STEM Academy, Tuesday August 3, 2021.

“What shocked me was the number of moving parts for contact tracing,” Davis said. “It sounds like a very simple word. Well, it isn’t. We had state spreadsheets that we had to enter all this information on because the health department sent them to Nashville at six. That means if we had cases that day we had to step in; that’s how they got their tally. “

The nurses told Knox News that they have come together as a team and are proud of what they have been able to accomplish. They said things could have been a lot worse without the contact tracing.

Tammy Lane, nurse at L&N STEM Academy, Tuesday August 3, 2021.

“I think we’ve slowed the spread in the school system, really, with contact tracing and quarantining these kids,” Lane said.

When Wagoner started as a school nurse in 1995, she said there were only 12 school nurses. Last school year there were 87 people in the health services team.

The team continued to contact Trace even as the pandemic became increasingly political.

Wagoner serves as the superintendent’s representative on the county health advisory board. She said she learned a lot from the experience, but it was “very difficult”.

Nurses have also battled COVID-19 themselves. Knox News interviewed four school nurses and all of them got it at some point. Lane’s sister was in the intensive care unit with COVID-19.

“Nursing in school is a great job, it’s a very rewarding job,” said Wagoner. “It’s part of public health. And I don’t think public health is ever recognized as it should be. And so the pandemic has moved that a little bit forward, although it’s political now. But I just think we do it, they do a wonderful job. “

Health Services Supervisor Lisa Wagoner, bottom row center, stands with school nurses for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school year on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at L&N STEM Academy.  The team's contact traced cases of COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 school year.

Name: Knox County School Health Services

Members of the team: 87

What is the most important thing this group has accomplished during the pandemic? “I would say we were an invaluable resource, of course, with COVID, with contact tracing and that sort of thing,” said Lisa Wagoner, health services supervisor at KCS.

Members of the Health Services for the 2020-2021 school year:

Nurses:

Mandy Anastasio, IA

Tiffany Ault, IAA

Julia Ball, IA

Maryanne Barwick Dozier, IA

Nathan Bass, IA

Angie Barbe, LPN

Karen Beatty, IA

Becky Brown, IA

Courtney Bryan, LPN

Amy Campbell, IA

Sherren Chadwell, IA

Cara Chattin, IA

Janine Coleman, IA

Katherine Cox, IA

Lacey Crabtree, IAA

Courtney Crass, LPN

Sheila Davis, IA

Traci Davis, LPN

Cathy Dixon, IA

Jennifer Doherty, IA

Venessa Ebel, IAA

Leah Fulton, IA

Janet Gass, RN

Melissa Gibson, IA

Ashley Gordon, LPN

Michelle Harb, LPN

Marcus Harrell, IA

Tiffany Hayes, IA

Debbie Hermanson, LPN

Tracy Hicks, IA

Ella Hodges, LPN

Lindsay Jackson, IA

King of Charity, IAA

Nichole Kirkland, LPN

Rebecca Kizer, IA

Tammy Lane, IA

Barbara Light, IA

Gina Lothamer, IA

Andrea Luton, IA

Stefanie Matthews, IA

Tiffany Lane McCarrell, IA

Subrina McClendon, LPN

Eileen Menestrina, IA

Tonya Mershon, IA

Davina Morgan, IA

Carrie Murphy, IA

Lacey Mynatt, IA

Claire O’Donnell-Perlov, IA

Stacie Osborne, RN

Lindy Parrott, LPN

Kary Pickard, IA

Laurel Pierce, LPN

Sheila Pulliam, LPN

Misty Reynolds, IA

Rebeka Rice, IA

Danielle Rickert, LPN

Debra Risner, IAA

Mindy Ritter, LPN

Rachel Robbins, IA

LaQuara (Nikki) Roberson, RN

Christina Roberts, IAA

Ashley Rodriguez, IA

Amanda Scheele, IA

Rachel Shelton, IA

Sylvia Simpson, IA

Cristy Smith, IAA

Sonya Smith, IAA

Shelia Steele, IA

Felicia Stewart, IAA

Jennifer Stroh, LPN

Abby Stroupe, LPN

Andrea Thompson, LPN

Ashley Thompson, LPN

Erica Thompson, IA

Kimberly Thompson, LPN

Kerry Trinchera, IA

Blanche Tuell, IAA

Jessica Turnbill, IA

Abbey Tuttle, IA

Jennifer Wilson, IA

Connie Witzeman, IA

Melissa Wright, IA

Shannon Wright, LPN

Lisa Wagoner, IA, MSN, Health Services Supervisor

Chantelle (Mendy) Williams, IA

Other staff:

Teri Lynch-Polos, administrative secretary

Jason Myers, Executive Director of Student Support


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