Henry Street Blues

SPS School Nurses Collective Bargaining Unit

History of SPS School Nurses

In 1929 the first school nurse, Miss Stella Duvall, was hired by Springfield Public Schools. The first elementary school cafeterias were also opened, serving a hot lunch for only 10 cents.
  • 700 students at Campbell, Boyd, Bowerman and York were immunized against Diphtheria.
  • McDaniel school had a scarlet fever scare. There were 18 scarlet fever cases district wide.
  • The PTA and City and County Health Units held health clinics for all children eligible to enter school.
  • For the 1st time SPS students were required to have immunizations before entering school.
  • Every elementary student to have vision testing at school.
  • Teachers ponder sex education.


  • 500 students at Reed Junior High were given TB test . 1st time it was included in the school health program.


  • A flu epidemic 210 student out of 575 to be absent.


  • School scoliosis screenings started.


  • First Health Services Nurse Supervisor, Ginny Staley


  • Jean Grabeel was appointed as the 2nd Health Services director to follow Ginny Staley. Jean's position was 1/2 time supervisor and 1/2 time school nurse at Parkview High School.


  • Ginny Staley was honored for in Salute to Health Care awards. She initiated the Teen Parent Advisory Boards and was instrumental in establishment of the LINK Clinic.


  • 3 Nurses with the assistance of SNEA, met with SPS administration to discuss salary and working conditions. There had not been a market adjustment in nurse's salaries in 12 years.


  • Nurses received a significant increase in salaries.


  • SPS Nurses held an election to select an exclusive representative for Collective Bargaining.
  • First CALM Asthma Grant conference.


  • H1N1 Flu outbreak. 10,010 H1N1 vaccines administered at school.
  • First Professional School Nurse Agreement defining salary and working conditions.


  • First time to have 2 Health Services Supervisors and 2 full time nurses at SPS's largest school.


  • Health Services moved into the Roseanne Bentley Administrative Center with other student services departments.

In the Spotlight- Margaret Licata

I started my school nursing career 1980-1981 at the age of 28. I graduated in August 1980 from SMSU at the time with my BSN from their RN completion program. I was the 2nd graduating class. I was assigned to KHS in the AM and Horace Mann in the PM. KHS was brand new. I think there were 7 or 8 school nurses in the district. Our boss was not a nurse. The next year Ginny Staley would take over as the first nurse to lead the school nurses at SPS. I left after my 1st year to have my second child and didn’t return until that baby was 16. In the meantime I received my masters in guidance and counseling. Jean Grabeel was the nurse coordinator then and her improvements tremendously changed the scope of the job. I was a sub nurse 96-97 school year because no full time jobs were available. I enjoyed going to the different schools. I became the PHS nurse in 1997 and would stay there for 11 years until I went to Study Middle School from 2008 -2013. I really put my BSN and master’s degree to work and felt it was a real contribution to my job

2013 was the first year that all the alternative programs, which were housed in different buildings throughout the district, moved to one school, which had been Study Middle School. I was in a unique and lucky situation since I was the school nurse for Study Middle School when this building became Study Alternative Center and Jean thought I was a good candidate for the diverse ages and challenges of SAC, since I had high school and middle school backgrounds and good adjustment skills. My son Michael reassured me that he had prepared me well for alternative high school. I had an interesting task of incorporating all the different age levels and programs, each with their own rules and parameters for the school and the health room. I pulled heavily on my past 16 years of school nursing. It was like building a bridge and driving on it at the same time. Having never been an elementary nurse, I was not sure what I would do with those 3-5 graders but what a joy they are. My sound knowledge of nursing theory and nursing skills, along with diversified school nursing experience and welcoming a change and challenge helped me adapt to my diverse population. It has been a gratifying and welcoming challenge and change.

I prefer a little of a lot and so I am a good match with Study. I am the school nurse for 7 programs who, although in the same building, function independently of each other with different agendas. I feel that my strengths that help me are good organizational skills, knowledge of growth and development for all school age levels, flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing populations, ability to relate to all staff with an understanding of the goals of their program and lots of love for all ages. What makes this job the most interesting, also makes it the most challenging: diversity. The age range in my building is from 6 weeks, including our nursery that is licensed for 12, to 21 years. I function as an elementary, middle school and high school nurse. I initiate and complete any health accommodations needed so that when a student returns to their home school nurse, everything is current. I like being able to help the home school nurses.

I feel one of my accomplishments has been teaching the staff the tremendous impact a full time school nurse has on students and staff. When all the alternative programs joined in 2013 in one building, none of the staff were used to having a full time school nurse and did not know what to expect. A nurse from another school functioned more like a PRN nurse for the programs, along with her full time school. The staff was used to handling some medical issues and it took them a little while to let go of the reigns and learn that I knew more about school nursing than they. I understood that with something new, it takes a while for a trusting bond to form. I believe I now have that at Study. That was one of my initial goals and I am glad to have established trust with staff and students. Based on the traffic in my health office now, I trust that the staff now understands that a school nurse functions as a team member and has a major impact regarding mental, physical and emotional health which impacts quality of life and attendance. The staff readily sends students to me for a wide range of issues.

During my first year at SAC, I learned that there were students in ACE and ESP who took meds at their home school, etc., and they were not receiving the continuity of health care needed due to lack of communication. The problem was: neither the home school nurse nor I were aware of who was in attendance in ACE and ESP. Another of my accomplishments has been setting up good communication between me and the home school nurses and administration at SAC for students in ACE and ESP. I set up parameters at SAC where the administration learned it is necessary I know on a daily basis the population in ACE and ESP. With Jean’s help, the school nurse is now included on the check list at the home school that is generated when a referral is made to ACE or ESP. That gives the home school nurse a heads up to contact me to make accommodations in advance, such as a 504 plan, medications, diabetes management and a wide array of health issues that need management at school. I feel that all students now have excellent continuation of care when at Study and I am proud of that!

I communicate with home school nurses regarding testing and accommodations I make for students while at Study in all of our programs. When they are at Study, I care for all needs of the students so their care is continuous and they do not return to their home school needing immediate testing, 504 plans, parent communication, new MARS, etc. I think this helps the home school nurses tremendously. One of the perks of working at SAC is that I get to talk to other nurses more frequently as we discuss continuation of care with our students.