The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ironwood brings back school nurse position


July 20, 2018


Ironwood — For the first time in over a decade, the Ironwood Area Schools has a school nurse on staff, after the district’s board of education approved hiring Dawn Vernetti at Monday’s meeting.

“It’s really important to have a school nurse because there are children with specific medical needs. When children are at school, we’re responsible for them. We need to know if there are specific things we need to monitor, or whether they have allergies or certain conditions like diabetes that needs to be managed,” superintendent Travis Powell said Thursday. “It’s better to have a trained medical professional helping us oversee that.”

Vernetti was hired as both a nurse and as a secretary in the principal’s office, with Powell telling the board Monday he and Vernetti will be working together to determine how to split time between the two positions.

While her exact duties are still being determined, Powell said they will likely include dispensing medicine, checking temperatures, updating the relevant student medical plans, lice checks and handling any potential medical emergencies. Vernetti will also probably be included in planning discussions on relevant topics, such as the development of a wellness plan for the district or what training district staff might need.

Vernetti is looking forward to the role.

“I think it should be fun, I love the kids,” she said.

She will also be responsible for dealing with the unexpected injuries and issues that students have over the course of the school year.

“You have bumps and bruises and scrapes from the playground, there’s flu season — we need to have somebody who can respond to the day-to-day things that come up,” Powell said. “Sometimes things that seem minor might not be. I would rather have somebody like Mrs. Vernetti that’s trained (so) if a child bumps their head at recess, we’re not telling them to just rub some dirt on it and get back in the game, we’re actually checking to see if they have a concussion or if there are any other things that we should be worried about.

“What that will help us do is take really good care of the children immediately, versus not having medical training and maybe we err on the side of caution and we’re constantly calling 911 and sending kids to the hospital when they really don’t need it. Or worse, not ever engaging that more significant medical support and there’s risks that would come with that, as well.”

Vernetti worked in the district as a secretary from 2010-’14, before going back to school to become a nurse. She said she served as a substitute secretary in the principal’s office at the end of the 2017-’18 school year.

The district last had a nurse in 2005, according to district records.


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