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I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for letting me serve you and your children as the town/school nurse. I can honestly say it has been my pleasure to watch the children grow and mature over the past 23 years. For the first 12 of those years, as the town/school nurse, you welcomed me to Harvard. Meeting with you during home visits, immunizations and blood pressure clinics taught me much of our town’s history. I have served as school nurse leader for the last 11 years and many of you know that I have been involved in assisting our young adolescents overcome some of life’s more challenging issues during the transition into adulthood while performing my daily nursing care. It has been rewarding for me to see perseverance in action.

Over these years I have been vocal in advocating that nurses provide more services than simply handing out Band-Aids and doling out medication. In fact, the professional requirements to be a school nurse are higher than those required for any other setting, including hospitals. The skills required include first aid and emergency care; psychiatric nursing; chronic disease state management; triage nursing; medication management; counseling; medical device management; and educator. The Nurse Leader functions as a de facto department head. In short, school nurses are the sole health care providers in the school and have professional education and skills to function successfully in this complex system of education and health.

I have witnessed much change over the past 23 years, but not as much as in the past two years. It is a shame that the School Committee and its CEO could not recognize our importance Recently, their fundamental lack of support and a blatant disregard for the pivotal role the school nurse plays in improving the health and educational success of the school-aged child, and the health of the school staff has caused much turmoil and angst. Our summer days have been cut and an actual loss in pay has been imposed upon the nursing staff. While I am aware that the superintendent may be purporting that raises and stipends have far exceeded those of the past, this is simply not so.

It is with my regrets to the people of Harvard that I have submitted my letter of resignation as the school nurse leader. Thank you to the residents, for having allowed me to serve your needs all these years. Through these years I have developed many lifelong friendships which will continue to enrich my future. My time here has allowed me to grow as a professional and as many of your know I will still be volunteering my time as an EMT with the Harvard ambulance squad. I am looking forward to working with the Nashoba Regional School district and I am already feeling a welcome and appreciation from those whom I have met.

RAMAE PHILIPPOU

MSC, BSN, RN, EMT