Nikki Stefan Interview
1. Name and Title as you would like it presented:
Nikki Stefan, 01-22 TUSD Coordinator of COVID-19, 04-22, TUSD Director of Health Services 01-2016 to 12-2021
2. School name where you work:
Tucson Unified School District Health Services Central Office
3. How long have you been a school nurse?
I started school nursing in 8-96, became a program coordinator 7-10 and director in 1-16. Proud to be 25 years in TUSD Health Services.
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?
After working in the hospital on the pediatric unit I discovered my passion was teaching children and their families. I learned, with the support of the family unit, children thrived as their health condition improved. Teaching families preventative health care and management of chronic illness was my goal upon discharge.I grew up in a public school system and both my parents were educators. I too desired to work with a diverse group of people from various socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. I value a free and public education and believe all students with different abilities want to learn. In the school system when parents aren’t present it takes a multitude of professionals to support the Whole Child. Over the years, I grew as a school nurse when I taught children and staff new medical skills and how to take care of themselves and others during the school day. I became the school district resource nurse as my experience increased by educating both staff and families.
5. What motivates you to make a difference for your students and community?
The TUSD community has a host of health care needs from accessing basic healthcare, learning to care for their own medical challenges and acquiring new knowledge about communicable diseases like COVID. After numerous years of working with the student population I discovered I enjoyed initiating new medical programs, establishing safety standards, and educating new nurses and health staff. When leadership opportunities became available, I advanced my education. Several school mentors taught me leadership skills and gave me the confidence to advance. I found as I believed in myself and the programs I established and maintained the health care professionals in the schools succeeded too. I’m inspired when the school community learns and achieves positive health and education outcomes.
6. What is one thing you’d like the community to know about school nurses?
School nurses are a healthcare team of professionals that work together to support the health of students so they can learn and thrive in schools.