School Nurse Touches Lives, Keeps JA Healthy

Nurse Kathy Sheffield

After graduating from JA, Kathy Cockayne Sheffield blithely selected the major of nursing at Vanderbilt University. Yet through nursing, she has touched the lives of young and old in orthopedic, home health, nursing home and school nursing. And now, as JA’s school nurse and eighth grade science teacher, Kathy’s choice of profession and her connection to JA are a perfect fit.

“I love being at JA. It seems like I’ve come full circle,” said Kathy. “I graduated from here in 1982, thankful for a healthy and safe environment where teachers encouraged learning. Now I’m proud to be part of the faculty that provides a healthy and safe environment with an emphasis on learning.”

The school nurse position was created this year and is housed in the Lower School office across from Suzanne Brown’s office. “I will be working (nursing) in the Lower School office from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., will teach eighth-grade science from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and will be available to the Middle School and Upper School in the afternoon. I am on call all day for emergencies in any of the buildings,” she said. “Each building (Preschool, Lower, Middle and Upper schools) has my phone number and can reach me if I am needed.”

Kathy looks forward to not only treating illness, but also preventing it. “I can provide wellness services to the faculty such as blood pressure screening, glucose monitoring, identify iron deficiencies and set up weight loss programs.”

She enjoys educating students and faculty/staff about safety and health issues. She’s presented to faculty on the subjects of handling blood related emergencies safely and preventing dehydration headaches through proper water intake, and has scheduled health talks in Preschool and Lower School on ways to prevent the flu at JA. “I plan to have speakers come in and discuss the importance of a healthy diet and exercise as well,” she said.

We’re happy to have Kathy at JA, and she’s glad she selected nursing, no matter how it came about. “When it came time to pick a college, I applied to Vanderbilt and Baylor. The application asked what major I would be applying for,” she explained. “I had no idea, so I discussed it with my father. He said, ‘You look nice in white– why don’t you become a nurse?’ and I did. I have loved every minute of nursing!”