Nurses have always played an important role in my life. My grandfather was the first male nurse at St. Vincent Hospital, and went on to become a physician. On the other side of my family, my Aunt Marion (Dr. Barber’s sister) was the Director of Nursing by day at St. Vincent, and at night was the caregiver of neighbors in need on Erie’s East side (then known as “Kingtown.”)
Aunt Marion was certainly a mentor for my late sister JoAnne, who knew that she wanted to be a nurse even as a preteen. To my Dad, a nursing degree meant that JoAnne could not go to St. Mary’s College, but she could go to Georgetown. JoAnne loved being the Litchfield school nurse, and often shared stories of helping children and families.
And so, as we bring to a close Nurse’s Appreciation Week I’d like to take a moment to recognize the Elizabeth Lee Black School nurses, Ellen Danowski and Kathy Babins. I know that we are fortunate to have such dedicated, caring nurses in our school. Ellie and Kathy can always be counted on to respond to student’s medical needs calmly, with expert nursing care and a smile.
ELBS is unique in that we educate students from 22 school districts, many of whom have multiple, complex disabilities that require special treatments. Sadly, many of our students have seizure disorders, so it’s rare for a day to pass without a “Code Red” – which calls our nurses to a child’s location for emergency treatment. Of course, our nurses complete semi-annual height, weight, and eye assessments along with dental exams, in addition to the numerous demands throughout their day.
The health and safety of our children are paramount. Thus, they constantly communicate with our team, our families and other medical providers to ensure continuity of care. When I asked Ellie and Kathy about their role at the ELBS, they commented:
“Working at the Elizabeth Lee Black School is a very rewarding experience. Everyday, we have the pleasure of working with amazing children. Being able to help the students at ELBS is very satisfying and watching them leave our office with a smile makes it worth coming to work everyday. There is no job that can compare.”
On behalf of our students and faculty, thank you Ellie and Kathy for everything you do to help make dreams come true for our children and their families.