THE VALKYRIE

The Student News Site of Woodbridge Senior High School

THE VALKYRIE

THE VALKYRIE

    The Stories of School Nurses in the Woodbridge Area

    In the lively world of healthcare and the medical field, nursing is the profession of unsung heroes. Nurses work tirelessly, supporting and treating their patients with compassion. This article acts as a lens into the professional stories of two nurses in the education field. We’ll discover why they wanted to be nurses in the first place, the transition from big hospitals to the school system, and other facts about their lives. 

    When asked about her reasons for becoming a nurse, LRMS nurse Jennifer Camacho said it had “always been a no brainer” for her to join the medical field. Becoming a nurse was just a step she didn’t have to think about taking, it was always going to be what she wanted to do. 

    However, Old Bridge Elementary Nurse Kathryn Jurcich found herself at a loss when diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 21. She was pre-med in college and after spending time in the hospital due to her diagnosis, she decided she wanted to be a nurse. This is because “nurses actually spend time with their patients”, she never came face to face with her surgeons, her nurses are the ones who cared for her. Jurcich added to this saying that she had always been a people person and enjoyed talking to people, as a nurse she’d be able to pursue this passion.  

    Nurse Camacho went to college at the university of West Virginia and participated in a two-year undergrad bachelor’s program and then a two-year nursing program at the school.  Jurcich went pre-med at Raford University and went on to a two-year nursing program at Marymount University, Jurcich also has a partial master’s degree.  

    Both of these wonderful nurses have something in common, working for INOVA for around twenty years. When nurse Camacho joined the Alexandria hospital, they were not yet under the control of INOVA, a larger corporation. In turn Camacho “experienced the transition” between community hospital and large corporate hospital. Camacho worked in outpatient surgical services for most of her time at INOVA, taking care of patients before and after surgery. 

    Nurse Jurcich worked at INOVA Fairfax hospital for children for over twenty years. Throughout her career Jurcich has worked as a pediatric nurse, as well as with the anesthesia and radiology teams helping sedate children and rescue them from sedation. Jurcich has also worked in the NICU, the PICU, and left INOVA for about a year to work as the main nurse in a nuclear imaging facility. 

    After working in nuclear imaging, Jurcich was hired back to INOVA as the heart and cardiovascular center was being built. During this stretch of her career as a nurse Jurcich learned how to take care of adults with cardiac issues, which she thoroughly enjoyed doing. While at INOVA heart and cardiovascular, Jurcich was asked to become a manager and agreed to a trial period. After this period, the top layer of management at the hospital was unexpectedly wiped out. So Jurcich went from nurse to manager to director in two weeks. Under this new role as patient care director Jurcich assumed management over around 200 people, people who used to be her coworker she added.  

    Jurcich expressed how she “missed working with patients and caring for them, she didn’t want to manage she wanted to lead”. So, to escape the long hours, random calls in the middle of the night, and the tole that working in a hospital for twenty years had taken on her body and brain, Jurcich left INOVA.   

    Similarly, after working at INOVA Alexandria hospital for twenty years, Camacho needed a change from the corporate business model of her current workplace. A friend of Camacho’s had started working in PWCS the year prior and sung praises for the environment. Camacho expressed her fondness for the school environment and said she “loves being around younger people”. So, when a position opened at LRMS Camacho applied gladly. Camacho enjoys how different it is from her previous job with INOVA and says she loves that “it’s all about education and the kids, rather than making money”. 

    Through a friend who yet again sung praises for PWCS, Jurcich secured a job at Old Bridge Elementary and has been there for 8 years now. She says the hardest part of her job is supporting young children who may be facing neglect and even abuse. Nurse Camacho agrees but says the hardest part of her job is being the only healthcare professional in the school building, “It puts a lot of stress on me” she says. 

    Although these nurses express their love for their jobs. Nurse Jurcich says she loves “the stories the kids tell her”. Being surrounded by their shining faces day after day, taking care of them and being here for them are just some of the things she loves. Nurse Camacho agrees, she also enjoys the freedom it brings her, she can be there for her own children more often.  

    These nurses are a testament to the importance of nurses and the rocky road that being in the medical field can take you down. We as people all have ups and downs and we all change. But change is important, doing the same thing for too long can be taxing, it’s good to switch things up and try new things. 

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    About the Contributor
    Lilly Tafe, Opinion Editor

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