LUMBERTON — Kathryn McDaniel is soft spoken as she speaks of the role of nurses in the schools across the Public Schools of Robeson County.
However her determination shines strong as she speaks of how important that role is to the daily education of children. McDaniel is the supervisor of the Public Schools of Robeson County School health program. She was recently named the North Carolina State School Nurse Administrator of the Year.
“I was so honored mainly by the nomination by my peers. I already felt like a winner, just in that they thought enough to nominate me,” McDaniel said.
Nancy Nance nominated McDaniel for the award in May. Nance is one of the 24 nurses who work throughout the PSRC school district.
“Kathryn McDaniel has been a role model, change agent, and strong advocate for school health. Her vision and leadership are remarkable and her accomplishments have been transformative for our school health program. She truly embodies the qualities and achievements described by the school nurse administrator of the year award,” Nance said.
Kathryn McDaniel became a nurse in 1980 with St. Eugene Community Hospital in Dillon, S.C. She worked seven years before becoming the school nurse for Fairmont City schools. After the district merger, she worked as a school nurse for 20 years. McDaniel became the PSRC Health Services Supervisor in 2007. McDaniel says she wants the role of the school nurse staff to be seen as distinctly connected to academics.
“Our role is to reduce or remove health-related barriers which would interfere with learning,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel’s efforts to provide better support for students in Robeson County caught the attention of people across the state in 2010. McDaniel created an evaluation tool for school nurses based on the standards of professional school nursing.
Her team of nurses embraced the new tool because it built a firm foundation for the effective delivery of school health service in the Public Schools of Robeson County. That tool became a model for the state of North Carolina. McDaniel worked with a team at the state level to develop the NC School Nurse Evaluation Process. That process is related to the model McDaniel created in the PSRC district. After that work McDaniel’s nurse colleagues ask her to write an article about the work on the evaluation tool in Robeson County. The article was published in February in the Journal of School Nursing, which is the Official Journal of the National Association of School Nurses.
McDaniel’s co-workers and colleagues say her efforts to help children whether in the mission field in Nicaragua, in her outreach or in the district demonstrate why she was deserving of this honor. McDaniel says she wants people to realize it is all about the students.
“Students have so many needs which often impact their ability to learn, concentrate and focus,” McDaniel said.
The award for NC State School Nurse Administrator of the Year will be presented Oct. 21 at the N.C. Annual School Nurse Conference. McDaniel will receive a free membership to the National Association of School Nurses and free registration at the conference in October.
This story was contributed by Tasha Oxendine, a spokesperson for the Public Schools of Robeson County.