1982 alumna Phyllis Yoder (second from right) was chosen the state "School Nurse of the Year" by the Michigan Association of School Nurses Conference. Here she is with (from left) daughter Megan Gilbert, husband Dale Yoder, daughter Rachel Yoder, an EMU sophomore. Her other children, sons Tyler and Mitchell, are members of the class of 2014 and class of 2009, respectively. (Photo courtesy Phyllis Yoder)

EMU Alum Chosen “School Nurse of the Year” for Michigan

Phyllis Yoder wasn’t born in Huron County, but she has been a big hit in this area for the past 25-30 years.

Yoder is a registered nurse who works for the Huron Intermediate School District. She was honored with the title of Michigan School Nurse of the Year this past week.

The nurse is originally from Virginia. She moved to the area when she married Dale Yoder. Together they have four children, aging from 19 to 25 years old.

Previously, she worked at Scheurer Hospital for 15 years.

Yoder was presented with her award at the Michigan Association of School Nurses (MASA) Conference in Dearborn. Besides the award presentation, the conference involved two long days of classes and information sharing. She was accompanied by ISD administrators Joseph Murphy, Jill Iskow and Carol Brown.

“It was a very good conference,” Yoder said. The classes covered numerous topics including legal issues.

“Each day of the conference was long and intense, but it was very good,” she said.

Yoder was recommended for the award by the ISD. According to MASN rules, only a school’s administration is eligible to recommend a nurse. The annual award is given to only one school nurse in the state. As far as she knows, Yoder is the only full time, registered school nurse in Huron County.

“I feel very honored,” she said. “There are a lot of nurses that deserve it as much as I. … I feel very blessed to work for the HISD.”

There were about 130 school nurses attending the event. That represents about 60 percent of all school nurses in the state. Michigan is rated lowest in the nation in ratio of nurses to students.

Financial constraints is the main reason for the low percentage. A School Nurse Task Force has been formed to rectify this problem. It was created by the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Department of Education.

As part of the award presentation, Yoder was asked to discuss her job. She created a power point presentation and showed it on Thursday night.

Part of her power point presentation stated, “Some of the other things I do as the school nurse is to teach CPR and First Aid annually for staff. I provide teachers with needed health information about their students. I communicate with parents and health care providers regarding health concerns. I educate staff members on health conditions, medications, and medical procedures that they encounter with their students.

At the award presentation, the Michigan Association of School Nurses gave a brochure describing Yoder and some of her accomplishments.

“Superintendent Joseph Murphy of Huron ISD describes Phyllis as a leader with initiative, positive attitude and a guiding example of the role a school nurse should play in a school setting. Other school administrators used words like competency, trustworthy, excellent communicator and positive role mode.

“As a recipient of the very prestigious award of School Nurse of the Year, Phyllis has demonstrated through her school nursing skills and abilities that she is very worthy of this honor.”

Article courtesy Huron Daily Tribune, May 9, 2013