Jackie Duarte Interview
1. Name and Title as you would like it presented:
Jackie Duarte, M.Ed. MPA, BSN
2. School name where you work:
Deer Valley Unified School District Nurse Coordinator/Lead Nurse
3. How long have you been a school nurse?
School Nurse 28+ years
4. Nurses have a lot of options when deciding where to work. How did you choose to work for a local school and what has kept you in school nursing so many years?
Returned from an overseas military assignment with my husband and two children in 1992. I needed to have the same schedule as my school age son, so I started at my son’s school as a volunteer, then a substitute nurse. My husband, Rick, was assigned to Gila Bend AFB so I applied for a position at Las Brisas, a nearby elementary school and was hired. This was the great start to my School Nursing career!
I had considered exploring opportunities in a hospital such as (what was formerly known as) Good Samaritan Hospital, where I had worked earlier in my nursing career. However, I wanted to be on the same schedule and district as my children, so I chose to seek a position in the district where I lived. After becoming a Substitute Nurse, I found that I really enjoyed working with the children. As I worked more with them, I realized the importance of caring and supporting the whole child--physically, emotionally, and academically. At Las Brisas, I soon became a highly appreciated member of the school team. As an independent practitioner (which I refer school nursing as), I have been able to provide the medical component that promotes the student’s educational success. I developed a passion for students with chronic medical conditions and students with multiple disabilities. I honed my nursing skills to care for their special needs and have shared all increments of growth and achievement in the school setting. Being able to make an impact on the lives of literally thousands of young students has kept me in this “special” profession all these years.
5. What motivates you to make a difference for your students and community?
Seeing a child’s smile after they have learned a new skill, read a word, or a simple hug after caring for them has motivated me to stay in school nursing for more than 28 years. I had a desire to do more than just to care for the basic needs of the school age child. I soon wanted to make a difference. Being able to provide basic first aid, caring for students with chronic illnesses, injuries, mental health support, health education, and support for the staff, all contributed to my longevity.
I am currently working as the DVUSD Nurse Coordinator where my primary job is training and supporting the Nurses in Deer Valley district. I have also discovered that I have a passion to teach, train, and prepare Nurses for this specialized area of nursing called School Nursing. I am given great support from the DVUSD Administrative team to fulfill this passion.
6. What is one thing you’d like the community to know about school nurses?
The one thing I would like to share with the community is that School Nursing is one of the most difficult and challenging job that any nurse could ever work in. But, it is also the most rewarding! School Nurses are medical professionals who care for students of all ages and all abilities, including those with a variety of health conditions and disabilities—we make a difference in the life of a child. As NASN has stated, School Nurses really embrace the NASN theme of “Bridging Healthcare and Education”. Without question, School Nurses make a huge and positive difference in the lives of all of our school children!