Lewiston school nurse wins national award

Posted July 16, 2011, at 6:12 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Nancy Dube of Lewiston has won a national award for her work helping school nurses and school health programs throughout Maine.

Dube, 56, won the Outstanding State School Nurse Consultant Achievement Award in Washington, D.C., from the National Association of State School Nurse Consultants.

She is the only national winner of the award this year, which means she beat out other nominees from other states.

Dube is director of school nurse programs for the Maine Department of Education, working with 400 school nurses throughout Maine.

She’s the resource for school nurses, helping them meet practice guidelines, laws and rules, “making sure everybody’s trained,” Dube said.

She was nominated for the award by the Maine Association of School Nurses. Dora Anne Mills, former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, supported Dube’s nomination.

Dube’s work has always been exemplary, Mills wrote in her nomination letter. But Dube’s work during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009 was “especially superb,” Mills said, crediting Dube with helping to save lives.

“She worked tirelessly, cheerfully and closely with all of Maine’s school nurses, our state’s public health agency, health care providers, our statewide public health infrastructure, and many organizations to ensure that Maine’s children had access to the vaccine through their schools.”

As a result of those efforts, Maine was one of the few states that did not report a child death due to H1N1, Mills said. “Our immunization rates for this infection were also among the very highest in the country.”

Brenda White of the Maine Association of School Nurses wrote that Dube has overcome barriers to quality health care for students, and that she’s been involved in the development of health policy, legislation and regulation that affects student health. She is the “eyes and ears for Maine school nurses,” White wrote.

Dube has connected nurses more closely with the medical community and has worked to ensure all school districts have a school physician, White said.

One challenge for school nurses is having enough school nurses, working with kids who have special needs and making sure children are safe in schools, Dube said Thursday.

Two-thirds of school nurses cover more than one school, and the number of students with major health problems is rising, Dube said.

One reason is that more children with major health problems are surviving birth because of modern technology. Those children need more support when they get to school.

More students suffer from serious illnesses, including diabetes, asthma and multiple sclerosis. Some students rely on tubes to breathe and tubes to eat. They’re doing well, but present challenges to school staff, Dube said.

“I’m getting a lot more calls from schools on, ‘How do we cover those needs?’” Dube said.

Before becoming director of school nurse programs for the state in 2006, Dube worked as a public health nurse for the city of Lewiston and was a school nurse in Biddeford, Kennebunk and Gardiner.

To see more from the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

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