Troup schools’ Nurse of the Year: ‘My job is to take care of them all’
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016
LaGRANGE — Troup County School System’s 2016 Nurse of the Year is responsible for about 1,500 students between two schools, but that doesn’t hinder her from building relationships.
“I tell my parents they can call me no matter what school I am in if they have a question about their child’s health,” said honoree Amy Crites, who serves Berta Weathersbee Elementary and Gardner Newman Middle schools. “My job is to take care of them all, and taking a parental call outside the boundaries of the school I’m in — whether I’m at Berta or Gardner Newman — it’s the right thing to do.”
Even if she doesn’t see all 1,500 students on a daily basis, she sets out to learn each student’s name and build those personal relationships. She also knows that treating her students physically as well as emotionally is a shot for success.
“When it comes to the emotional health of the kids, I want to be there. It takes all of us working together and providing the right approach to the health of the student,” Crites said. “I made a chart this year that I use to help reward students who do right by their health. When their chart fills up with stickers, they get rewarded. So last week when one of my students had a full chart he told me he wanted Legos. So I went out and bought him some Legos!”
Serving vastly different age groups keeps her engaged and excited about her craft, she said.
“I love the diversity and being able to go from one school to the other. You can have different conversations at each level,” Crites said. “In middle school, the students ask deeper questions and become more involved in maintaining their health. For example, I can have more in-depth conversations — especially with the girls — at the middle school level because their bodies are going through so many changes.”
Originally from St. Louis, Crites migrated to Georgia when she had to complete a six month music therapy internship in Milledgeville. She has served in therapy or nursing roles throughout this region ever since and has been with the school system for the past four years.
For the Nurse of the Year honor, Crites met criteria established by the Scope and Standards of Professional School Nursing Practice. It includes quality of care, performance appraisal, ethics, education and collegiality. She was voted as tops by her peers within the system. She will now advance to the state level for the Georgia School Nurse of the Year title.
Crites knows her profession requires treating the mind, body and soul of an individual. For this, she is grateful and laughs as she says working with the parents and extended family is a big part of doing more than adding bandages to boo-boos.