May 6 is National Nurse Appreciation Day, and a day that Cherokee County Schools will be posting social media updates to show appreciation for our county’s school nurses.
The following was contributed by Haley Kelley and captures the idea of how students admire and appreciate our CHS nurses, Nurse Shiona Elliot and Nurse Melissa Hilliard:
I walked in on a cold foggy day feeling like I was going to literally die, so I went to the nurse. She greeted me with a warm smile, and did everything in her power to make me, and others who entered her door, feel well again. She addressed my symptoms and told me what she thought the illness was. She quickly called my mother and I went home. Turns out she was right. We went to the doctor the same day, and they confirmed what she had predicted.
Nurse’s day is a day to celebrate what all of our school nurses do in schools and around the community.
“I love being a part of the school and community,” stated Nurse Shiona.
We owe our nurses gratitude. They treat our school for more than just minor illness or injury. They are essential.
On this once a year celebration, we should share appreciation for our nurses on all their accomplishments and contributions to the Warrior Nation.Haley Kelley
In the challenge of conducting interviews in quarantine, we reached out to interview our nurses to learn more about them, and were able to receive a response from Ms. Elliot.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a single mother to an amazing 13 year old boy. I could not be more happy about the young man he is becoming. My 7 and 9 year old nephews live close, they are pretty awesome as well.
I love mountain biking, snowboarding, motorcycles, and anything related to water activities. So basically I love being active and outside in nature.
What college did you attend? Would you recommend this nursing program to our current students interested in nursing?
I graduated from Georgia Highland College in Rome. I would recommend this program. It was 1/3 the cost of other programs. This allowed me to graduation with minimal debt and feel less stressed upon graduating. Bonus, Rome is a cute small town with a community vibe.
What made you want to become a nurse?
I always found myself helping and caring for those around me. As stable and respected profession it seemed to be natural progression for using my gifts.
There were a few people who said I couldn’t do it–earn an RN degree– because it would be too hard. As a single mother at the time, I felt it was important to have my son see me work through something hard and that you can do anything. Even if others say you can’t.
What brought you to Cherokee? –And how would you compare the challenges between working in a traditional clinic setting versus a school setting?
I used to substitute Nurse for CCSD. When the opening came up I received a call to come help out during transition and never left. I remember feeling so scared of the size of the campus and teenagers the first few days.
Now, I would not change it for the world. I love working at Cherokee High School and could not see being anywhere else. The students are amazing and will go on to accomplish great things in life. I’m blessed to have a work family with faculty.
One challenge is being only medical person on campus in the event of an emergency. In a clinical setting you have a team to respond to potential emergencies.
The benefit of being in the hospital is you have more hands on technical clinical skills. The benefit of working in non-traditional setting is having the opportunity to build relationships with patients over the years. I hope to make a positive difference related to some of the social and emotional challenges we face in the community.
What is one thing you wish you knew before becoming a nurse?
I wish I knew how challenging and rewarding it is. I would have become a nurse at a younger age.
We know our nurses have been at work while school is out. What do they have you doing during the virus?
I am thankful I get to come on campus to scan temperatures for essential employees and other county approved things during this uncharted time. I have been spending time in the garden as therapy during this time. I miss seeing the students and faculty.
We always ask, what is your favorite food and/or a random fact about you?
Chunky fresh Guacamole. Garlic, onion, tomatoes and avocado. So yummy!
Our two nurses serve over 2,700 students across two campuses. In her time with us last year, Nurse Elliot served both campuses making several round trips per day until Nurse Hilliard joined the Warrior Family. Our nurses are an asset to our team, and we are thoroughly grateful for them.