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NFMAA nurse named School District’s best

By Staff | May 22, 2019

Gwen Boyd, nurse at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts, has been named Lee County Public Schools Nurse of the Year for her “priceless” service to students and staff.

Boyd was surprised with the honor last week by District and school staff.

“I was absolutely shocked. I wasn’t even thinking about it and forgot about it. The nurse before me had won it and was even named state nurse of the year (Maiya Christensen in 2012),” Boyd said. “I have an awesome principal, an awesome staff that supportive. I could not do this by myself.”

Boyd said while most of today’s work is done in the clinic, much of it is about looking at records. Many of the students have chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and or even cancer, that require daily attention.

“We have a lot of kids that take medication, who have asthma and need inhalers; we have EpiPens for kids with allergic reactions. We have to be sure we have all the orders, medications and that everything is up to date,” Boyd said.

Boyd has noticed that she is dealing with more mental health and anxiety issues for reasons she couldn’t put her finger on except that children are facing more stress. She said that has become one of her biggest challenges.

Boyd has finished her sixth full year at the school. She started as a labor and delivery nurse and moved over to Hospice for a few years before taking time off to raise her family.

“I wanted to be a school nurse for a while. With kids the schedule was perfect, but there were never openings,” Boyd said, She started as a temp, when a previous staffer had a health issue, before becoming permanent the following year.

Boyd also schedules the blood mobile, partners with the Red Cross to provide food for people in the Suncoast Community, coordinates with the Harry Chapin Food Bank to visit the school on multiple days to provide food for students’ families and helps with fundraisers.

She also does work with the Salvation Army, AMVETS and the American Legion groups, churches and much more.

NFMAA Principal Thomas Millins, who nominated Boyd, said she is an indispensable part of the team as she keeps the students, teachers and administrators well and safe.

“I cannot tell you how lucky we are to have Gwen as a nurse. She takes care of so many things on so many levels. She works with everybody and helps make the school a safer place,” Millins said.

Rob Spicker, spokesperson for the school district, said these honors are normal for the district and that Boyd is a valuable part of the team.

“She knows how to deal with them, provide them with what they need when they come into her office,” Spicker said. “A lot of people wear a lot of hats and take on a lot of different services. That’s what makes her so important to that team.”