After 20 years as a social worker, Michelle Weinraub became a school nurse.
“It was my dream job,” she said. “I wanted desperately to be a school nurse because school nurses make all the difference in the world.”
Weinraub spent four years as the school nurse at Aspen Crossing Elementary, then became a district resource nurse for elementary schools. She and fellow district resource nurse Patti Rojec know first-hand about the difference school nurses make when it comes to students’ well-being and academic success.
“School nurses make sure kids are as healthy as they can be, because if they’re not healthy, they can’t learn,” Rojec said.
Rojec and Weinraub are among 20 school nurses from the Cherry Creek School District and 80 school nurses from other districts across the state who participated in four days of intensive training and continuing education at the Colorado School Nurse Orientation, held July 20-23.
Sponsored by the Colorado Department of Education and hosted by Cherry Creek Schools, the four-day conference provided a comprehensive introduction to school nursing for those new to the profession, as well as updates on new laws and regulations, new research and best practices for veteran school nurses.
"We have to be on top of that to keep our practice at the level we demand,” Weinraub said. “We are always learning.”
“We also want to get to know and support our new nurses as they get a feel for what school nursing is like,” Rojec added.
Cherry Creek Schools is one of the only districts in the state to have a school nurse at every school, where they are in integral part of the learning team.
“We work with teachers, administrators and parents to make sure students are ready to learn,” Weinraub said. “If we weren’t there, we’d have higher absenteeism, higher early dismissal, kids sitting in the office instead of class. We are the only point of health care for some families and we work to build bridges to other health care resources.”
The Cherry Creek School District’s motto of “Dedicated to Excellence” is exemplified by the district’s school nursing staff.
“We are serving children and families at the highest level possible,” Weinraub said. “We’re giving them the best.”