This story was originally published in Volume 36 of the Knightly Knews that you can download here.
The Nursing Department at Woodward Academy has no off-season. They work every day, weekend, and holiday and their contribution is what keeps the campus safe and healthy. The quartet of Jamie Golly, Emily York, Hilliary Mahler, and Tia Hemesath have 62 years of nursing experience, and 33 of those years are at Woodward Academy. They are the only department that sees every student, not only when they enter, but when they discharge as well. Between those times, they are responsible for all of the medical needs of the 262 students on campus. It is a balancing act that this team has perfected and they love it.
When a student first attends Woodward Academy, a thorough head-to-toe examination is conducted within the first 24 hours. The 21-page standardized assessment documents any known medical issues, obtains vital signs, and also looks at a student’s past that may include substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, suicidal tendencies, and family history.
Throughout the student’s stay, this team sets up medical, dental, and vision appointments, manages student medications, and becomes involved with crisis situations to ensure the safety of all of the students on campus. They also train staff and high school seniors in CPR, communicate with parents regarding their son’s care, and handle the small things in between that include seasonal colds, and the natural bumps, bruises, and breaks that boys get. They are able to do all of these things because they have built what they call “The Dream Team.”
Each member of the team has a different role and specializes in different areas, making the four of them a unique blend of knowledge and experience. Jamie takes on sports related injuries, Emily specializes in cardiology, and Tia in ear, nose, and throat cases. Hilliary, who is currently on her way to getting her Masters in Nursing, challenges all of them with new information and techniques that she is picking up in school. Most importantly, they all genuinely enjoy working with each other.
Nursing is a complicated science and they all work together to generate solutions to the infinite number of scenarios that pop up on any given day. It is common to walk into their office and watch them independently complete tasks and brainstorm together to solve problem. Effective nursing is based on experiences, and they all have different ones to build from and share. They also have hundreds of tasks to complete, which is why it is a dream for all of them to work together. Although each person focuses on certain areas in their department, they are all willing to pitch in and help each other when those times arise. Director of Nursing, Jamie Golly, loves her team. “We are always willing to help each other out. We are so close. We know what the other person needs for help and we just jump in.”
They share the workload, on-call weekends, and the overall difficult task of nursing the entire Woodward Academy campus. But if you asked them, they wouldn’t trade this nursing dream for any other. Each one has had experience outside of Woodward Academy. The fast-paced ER setting, home health, family practice, or working in cardiology does not compete with the level of care they provide these students. Golly said “This is a different level of care. It isn’t just the medical stuff, and it’s not just getting them physically healthy. It’s making sure that they are mentally healthy, and when they leave making sure they know how to get the medical care that they need. We teach them about the medical things that they didn’t know they had… so that when they leave they have the tools to make sure they stay healthy.”