Strawbridge Elementary School’s nurse Chrissy Love says she didn’t realize how much she would like school nursing when she left her job as an emergency room nurse five years ago.
“It’s more than just nursing skills – those I’ve had for a long time,” said Love. “It’s the other stuff that goes along with it – the coaching, the mentoring, being their biggest fan and their friend and their fashion consultant and their shoe cobbler. I wasn’t prepared to have this connection with the kids, and that’s what I love most about school nursing.”
She also wasn’t prepared for a surprise visit May 10 from a group of people there to recognize her as the Virginia Beach School Nurse Association’s (VBSNA) School Nurse of the Year.
Danielle Beasley, VSBNA president and nurse at Rosemont Elementary; Mary Shaw, VBCPS coordinator of health services; Dr. Aaron Spence, VBCPS superintendent; and Rashard Wright, VBCPS chief schools officer, visited Strawbridge to present Love with the award.
The announcement was broadcast live throughout the school from the media center, and Love was given a plaque, flowers and lots of hugs.
According to Beasley, the selection committee described Love as: “compassionate, thoughtful, reassuring, cool head in emergency, patient and supportive.”
Being supportive is what Love says often means the most to students.
“Just being somebody who can acknowledge that they don’t feel good that day – sometimes that’s all they need to be able to turn back around and face the day again,” said Love. “Sometimes they don’t have their mom or dad here right now, so I consider the school nurse as an extension of mom and dad.”
After 16 years working in emergency rooms, she seems to have found a home in school nursing.
“Even though it’s very much the same as an ER it’s very much different. You never know what’s going to come through the door, but getting to know these kids – like they’re your own kids – is so different than working in the hospital. I’ve found that this is the most rewarding part of my nursing career and I just plan to be here until I retire.”
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