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Muscatine school nurse named Iowa School Nurse of the Year



Muscatine, Iowa – The Iowa School Nurse Organization has named a committed nurse with more than 20 years of service as the 2024 School Nurse of the Year.
With more than 25 years of expertise, Wendy Donald’s dedication and passion have been seen. The Iowa School Nurse Organization awarded her the title of School Nurse of the Year on March 7.

“It was a bit surreal because I figured that there are a lot of us out there in Iowa who are working every day in the trenches trying to improve health for our students,” said Donald.

She has worked as a nurse for the Muscatine School District for the previous seven years, and she is currently employed at Susan Clark Junior High. She has established herself as a vital source of support for the faculty, staff, and students.

“I think working in a school setting and making sure that needs are met and that the nurses have a voice in the building. That has been my latest project: working with school administration on inclusion of the school nurse, not just for me, but I’m very fortunate I have seven other school nurses in the district that we can get together as a group,” said Donald.

She has been a steadfast supporter of school nurses’ vital role in advancing students’ health. According to Donald, there are new hurdles to overcome every day, but being able to positively influence students’ lives is immensely fulfilling.

“It always gives me kind of a warm feeling because I know that there was a bond there and it hasn’t gone away. And so obviously I want to see those kids thrive and be successful. And sometimes when kids have chronic health conditions, they question things differently than their peers, and so that makes me feel good that they still reach out and want to have a relationship with me when they’re in high school.”

Numerous instances of kindness and tenacity dot her trip. To meet the various health requirements of the pupils, she works together with educators, parents, and medical professionals.

“I’m also working with our local Express Care here in town. We have a weekly communication now. So, their local Express Care team tells me their trends, their illness trends, and then all of us school nurses, like I said, there are eight of us in the district, we’re able to ask questions to the Express Care team. It’s helping us help parents understand the need of when to send a child to school, when to keep them home, when to seek medical care,” said Donald.

“Most parents aren’t asking me about their child’s diet or nutritional status. I just worry about that because Muscatine is one of seven counties in Iowa that has a high obesity rate. And so our community is looking at that piece. And I’m on that community committee to help address that.”

Her influence goes much beyond the school’s boundaries. She collaborated with a team of middle school students in 2018 to create a $1,000 project that amused children while they waited in the emergency room.

“The students that learned how to bead the bracelets were able to go to the local store and provide the funds to buy age-appropriate toys that were also appropriate for a hospital setting,” said Donald.

At the Iowa School Nurse Organization Conference in April in Newton, Donald will receive an accolade. This summer, in Chicago, she will also receive recognition at the National Association of School Nurses Conference.