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South Whidbey’s school nurse Statz named state’s best
LANGLEY — Marcia Statz knows her job encompasses many facets. As a school nurse, she bandages bumps and bruises, checks on kids’ general health when they stop by her little clinics at South Whidbey High School and Langley Middle School and has to consider large-scale health issues like immunizations and diet.
For all her work, her time and most importantly, her colleagues say, her compassion and concern, the School Nurse Organization of Washington named Statz the Washington State School Nurse of the Year.
“She’s really dedicated,” said Debbie Daumen, student services administrator at Langley Middle School. Daumen works across the narrow hallway from Statz. “She’s truly compassionate for what she does, and we just love her.”
Daumen and office administrator Mary Eaton nominated Statz for the honor and a $500 stipend to attend the national conference in Orlando next year. The school nurse of 19 years answered a phone call May 8 — in the midst of National Nurses Week — that turned out to be from the organization’s president, Lynnette Ondeck, who is also a school nurse for the Nooksack Valley School District.
“I just feel really blessed by it,” Statz said. “I’m still surprised.”
Her duties give her a patient list of more than 850 students from sixth to 12th grade. During a recent weekday, 15 students visited Statz’s clinic at the middle school, which she staffs for about three hours per day in the late morning until classes end. Statz came to the school district after working in the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, which Statz called “the zoo,” with a laugh.
Her time with South Whidbey schools is less frantic, but no less demanding. Rather than patients who come and go, Statz has watched students grow, mature and eventually leave the South Whidbey School District. That helped her accept the duty of education, which she doles out in doses large and small, from district-wide notices about four confirmed whooping cough cases at the high school to chatting with a single seventh grader with a cut.
“I recognize that a large number of visits to the clinic are because of respite,” Statz said. “If they need one hour to get away from whatever, I give it to them.”
“Education is always a part of it, though.”
The pertussis outbreak in Island, Snohomish, Skagit and King counties was largely mitigated on South Whidbey, especially in the schools. No cases were reported in the elementary or middle schools.
“We have done really well because of the immunizations here,” Statz said.
As a reward for winning the award, Statz will be recognized at the state conference for the School Nurse Organization of Washington in October in Spokane. Then, she has the option to travel to Orlando, Fla. for the national convention of school nurses in the summer of 2013, which will partially be covered by the $500 stipend.