The lead nurse for the White County School District has been recognized as the School Nurse of the Year in the state.
Felicia Thomas, the school nurse at Jack P. Nix Primary School, as well as the lead nurse for the school system, was named by the Georgia Association of School Nurses as the 2012 School Nurse of the Year.
The award recognizes “nurses who display outstanding service and commitment to their school and community,” according to a press release from the association.
The judges evaluate nominees based on quality of care, performance appraisal, ethics, education, collegiality, collaboration, research, resource use, communication, program management and health education.
According to Jennifer King, principal, Thomas’ primary responsibility is to provide care to the students, but she has gone above and beyond those duties, school faculty and staff said.
Missy Jarrard, counselor at the primary school, credits Thomas with also having “taken on the obesity epidemic among our country’s youth.”
“Out of concern for the potential health hazards of childhood obesity, she wrote a grant that awarded our school with the funds to implement the Fuel Up To Play 60 program,” said Jarrard.
“Not only did this grant help to fund additional equipment for our Physical Education program, but it also enabled Felicia to create The Dino Diner at our school.”
The Dino Diner is a room fitted with a kitchen where Thomas teaches students (and sometimes, after school, their parents) about the importance of nutrition and how to make healthy and inexpensive snacks, which the kids then get to eat.
The awards were presented at the association’s 20th Annual Statewide Education Conference at the Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree City Hotel in Peachtree City this summer.
Thomas has even earned the school money for some of these health-promoting programs.
“The Fuel Up To Play 60 grant was written and submitted by nurse Felicia in an effort to improve student attendance by improving student health,” King said.
“In addition to taking great care of students, Mrs. Thomas also provides preventive health screening for staff members. Each year during Heart Awareness week, she coordinates a blood pressure check for staff members.
“This year for the first time, nurse Felicia will offer a ‘Know Your Numbers’ class about (body mass index), (blood pressure) and cholesterol to the staff.”
In addition to serving as school nurse for the primary school’s students and staff, Thomas also oversees five school nurses as lead nurse for White County.
In that role, she performs troubleshooting for the other nurses and helps them to become certified in CPR, trained on how to use automatic external defibrillators, and educated on health screenings for the schoolchildren.
Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:
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