Nurse Roake Wins Educational Services Professional of the Year


Emma Spoonauer, Staff Writer

Our own school nurse, Irene Roake, has received the Educational Services Professional of the Year Award.

Nurse Roake’s training began at Trenton State College. She eventually earned her nursing license in 1982 and began working at FTHS as the school nurse in September of 1998.

The jobs Mrs. Roake fulfills here at our school include administering and maintaining medications, performing health assessments and screenings, communicating with healthcare providers, therapists, parents, and staff, managing students’ continuing health needs for field trips or sports, and providing data for the Nursing Service Plan to the Monmouth County Superintendent’s Office.

Overall, she has alleviated an abundance of stressful situations involving students and staff throughout the years working as our school nurse, and is truly worthy of this award. To get to know our own school nurse even better, we decided to interview her about her position.


What is your favorite part of your job?

The students and interacting with them.


Did you ever think you would become a school nurse when you were younger?

No, I always thought I would be in a hospital setting. It all started when my daughter was in kindergarten and she had been sick in the nurse’s office. When the nurse explained the whole procedure, I explained that I was a nurse and I understood. Then, my daughter’s school nurse asked if I was interested in being a substitute, but I told her I didn’t have my certification. I found out, though, that you didn’t need the certification to be a sub. That’s how I started – in my daughter’s school – and I eventually got the certification to become a school nurse.


What is some advice you’d give to someone looking to become a school nurse?

I would say it’s good to have a little bit of experience in a hospital first and to go to a really good school so you understand the laws and responsibilities. Then, just to have a love of students and a love of what you do. Because when you’re working in a school, there’s no medical team as if you’re in a hospital; you’re relying on your own judgment, or if you have a co-worker like Mrs. Orgo, you can bounce ideas off of each other. But there are times when you’re the only nurse so you have to be confident in your medical background.


What is the most challenging part of your job?

Sports physicals and making sure they get done on time! No, well that and making sure students that require medications have it, making sure orders are in on time, things like that. Especially students with severe allergies with the Epipens, students with asthma, students with diabetes -there are always students that we really worry over the top with. Students with seizure disorders and other medical needs can sometimes that could be most concerning because you always want to make sure things are going well with them, and you’re making sure if that they are in need you’re able to help them.


What do you wish you would have known before becoming a school nurse?

I was lucky that I went in with my eyes open, because I did substitute for a little bit before I actually decided to pursue becoming a school nurse and get my certification. So, I don’t think that I came in disillusioned. I think the biggest thing sometimes is the requirements the states want to put on the school nurses are not realistic. I guess that would be my biggest eye-opener. Some of the requirements they have don’t take into consideration what it’s like working as a school nurse and working in a school building.