‘All students are special’

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 28, 2014

Annette Scott named Ohio School Nurse of the Year

Annette Scott said being the nurse for Ironton City Schools’ 1,500-plus students is not just about putting on Band-Aids.

“It’s about community, the children and working with teachers,” she said. “I even had to go back to school to become a school nurse.”

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Scott’s dedication, work ethic and school nursing philosophy have earned her the distinction of being named School Nurse of the Year for 2014 by the Ohio Association of School Nurses (OASN).

“I couldn’t tell you in a day what I do as a school nurse,” Scott said. “I look at the children and I wonder about their brains and try to nourish them. I educate the community and the teachers, among many other things.”

Cindy Zellefrow, vice president of the OASN board of directors, on which Scott has served for the past 10 years, nominated Scott for School Nurse of the Year.

A set of 10 strict guidelines are set forth for nominees, including two letters of recommendation. Ironton Schools Superintendent Dean Nance wrote one of Scott’s letters.

“With more than 60 percent of our student population coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds, there are many challenging situations handled by our school nurse,” Nance wrote. “Before attending school, many of our children had never been to a dentist, had vision screening or been exposed to proper hygiene care. Mrs. Scott is nothing short of amazing in how she assesses her students’ needs and provides the education, health care and planning to guide our students toward a healthy lifestyle.”

Nance added that Scott coordinates these services for Ironton’s students while also keeping district staff trained in first aid, CPR, AED use, EpiPen administration and blood borne pathogens safety.

“Her records are impeccable as well as the individualized health plans she implements for students on medication or with severe health conditions,” he wrote. “She educates our staff how to follow these prescriptive plans as well as identify signs of low blood sugar, seizures and other crisis situations that occur throughout the school year.”

Scott said her nursing experience runs the gamut. She has worked in hospitals, nursing homes, home health and community nursing.

“Tying all my experience together allows me to be the best school nurse I can be and helps me work well with children,” she said. “Certain things will always happen you’re not prepared for, but I know this is what I’ve been blessed to do and it truly is a blessing.”

Another facet to being a nominee is describing personal nursing standards. Scott wrote in her entry that “all students are special” and team members “must have good communication” with each other. Nance said the same in his letter of recommendation.

“Her communication skills are perfect for the position of school nurse” he wrote. “She is articulate, caring and has the ability to reach teachers, parents and students on their level of understanding when discussing medical conditions. When met with resistance, she can be firm and supports her position with class, poise and research-based positions. (I have) never met a person more equipped with the skill, knowledge, personality, professionalism, wit, love and compassion to be the Ohio School Nurse of the Year.”

Scott will receive the award at a reception in Columbus on Friday, Feb. 20. She is married to former Ironton City Council member Hugh Scott, and has two children, a daughter, Shalonda, and son, Hugh Scott II.

Scott began working as an assistant school nurse in 1994 with Mary Lee Kennedy. In 1996 she was hired as special education school nurse, a position she held until 2003 when she became the certified school nurse for Ironton City Schools.

“It’s a privilege to work with other people’s children,” she said. “I feel like they are mine.”