Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses played a critical role in keeping our school communities safe and ready to learn. Their work extends beyond physical health to encompass social and emotional well-being.
This year, for School Nurse Day as well as Mental Health Awareness Month, the Arizona Department of Education’s School Safety and Social Wellness team is grateful to highlight school nurses and their experience serving school communities in Arizona.
Our second nurse is McKenzie Bevirt, BN BSN, Chief Health Administrator and Nursing Supervisor at Flagstaff Unified School District.
Nurses have a lot of options when deciding where to work. How did you choose to work for a local school?
My medical background started in Labor & Delivery and moved to Pediatric nursing. I love working with children and families. I was working for our local health department when a position at Coconino High School opened up. My son was starting Kindergarten at the time and I was looking for a job that would work around his school schedule. I didn’t know a lot about school nursing but I did know how to connect and make young patients feel safe and taken care of. I came to discover that school nursing was a great fit for me.
What motivates you to make a difference for your students and community?
I love teaching and seeing students and families in my Flagstaff community thrive. For me, having the opportunities to teach students and parents about their health, being a resource for teachers and staff navigating their personal health challenges, and teaching the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyles in our school community is the best job out there. I strive to find a positive way to address student health issues in our schools. The way we treat and educate our young people is essential. We are giving them the best example to be the greatest versions of themselves as they grow and develop into adults.
What is one thing you’d like the community to know about school nurses?
School nurses are an integral part of the day-to-day life of students and families. We are the person that provides comfort and care when a student is in need. We are the biggest supporter and advocate when a student needs something to improve their health or circumstances. School nurses are the glue that holds the schools together. I am grateful for all the many lives I have had an opportunity to impact while students have moved through our school buildings.