News & Events

Worcester Public Schools Present Karen Hanlon With School Nurse of the Year Award

WORCESTER, Mass.–The Worcester public schools have presented their annual School Nurse of the Year Award to Karen Hanlon, a resident of Worcester and the school nurse for the Harlow Street Elementary School and Worcester Arts Magnet School. The award was presented on May 10, which was National School Nurse Day.

Established in 2004 to recognize excellence in school nursing service, the award is given to a school nurses who make outstanding contributions to the health and well being of their students, work collaboratively and effectively with colleagues and staff to improve school health and educational performance, while also working with outside agencies and other groups to improve the health of the community.

Hanlon, who has been a registered nurse for more nearly 30 years and a school nurse in Worcester since 1992, is personally responsible for administering all school health services for more than 500 students at the Harlow Street School and Worcester Arts Magnet School. Her nomination states that “Karen has been a valuable resource to all school nurses in the Worcester public schools, with the experience and professionalism that make other nurses aspire to emulate. She always goes above and beyond for her students, while deftly coordinating with teachers and families with regard to a variety of health issues, including management of food allergies and emergency plans.”

In presenting the award, Donna Hoey, Coordinator of School Nursing Services for the Worcester Public Schools stated, “Karen is the ultimate professional. She is always willing to assist the newer nurses in the nursing department with any questions or concerns that they may have. Karen is also a strong advocate for school nurses. She is proactive in her schools and will always identify a possible problem and come up with a workable solution for students, parents, and the school staff. Karen communicates easily with all members of the school and medical communities. Her expertise has been noted by our nursing department and the principals at the schools she covers. Karen has provided this same level of professional care in any assignment she has had. As noted by one of her principals, ‘Karen is a valued member of their team. When a child is identified as" at risk" we consult with Karen her medical perspective.’ We are happy that Karen is being recognized for all her contributions to school nursing.”

There are 42 school nurses in the Worcester public schools responsible for providing health coverage to 52 schools and more than 24,000 students. School nurses are highly-trained professionals who care for a population of students with varied and complex health needs. In fact, the professional requirements to be a school nurse are higher than those required of nurses in any other setting, including hospitals. According to the state Department of Public, at least one in 12 Massachusetts students is actively limited or suffering from fair or poor health. Children not only have asthma, attention deficit disorder, migraine headaches, epilepsy, heart conditions, diabetes, life threatening allergies, arthritis, hemophilia and other chronic illnesses, but students are also coming to school needing colostomy care, catheterization, intravenous medications, naso-gastric feeding and other complex procedures.