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TA Treasure: Thornton's School Nurses

Thornton Academy’s school nurses are instrumental in the well-being, academic success, and lifelong achievement of our students. They keep our students healthy, safe, in school, and ready to learn. This is no small feat during a normal school year; add in a global pandemic and their role and expertise became even more vital as Thornton navigated a new world of health and safety recommendations.

Together, TA’s three school nurses—Debbie Prescott, Nikki Faulkner, and Danielle Tabor—have served the Thornton community for more than 25 years. “When Maine schools closed their doors in March, we immediately began preparing for reopening. We did so by attending Maine DOE school nurse meetings, attending webinars, having close contact with the Maine CDC, assisting our administrative team with policies and procedures, and collaborating with our TA school physicians from Southern Maine Health Care. Like many, we felt the impact of the uncertainty of this situation; despite this, we were able to focus on the needs of our school by using our combined education and years of clinical expertise to prepare for reopening and ensure the health and well-being of our TA community,” said Nikki.

Residential life nurse, Danielle Tabor, recently received a commendation from the Maine CDC for keeping our residential students healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Living on campus as a dorm parent and residential life nurse has been an amazing and rewarding experience. Ensuring the medical needs of our students are met is a major component for their overall success while here at Thornton. TA is a ‘home away from home’ for hundreds of residential students and I am honored to be part of this special experience for them. Keeping them safe during this time was a team effort by the entire residential life staff.”

While there are still uncertainties as the COVID-19 pandemic situation plays out across our country and the world, we know that our school nurses will continue to help guide and support our community with health and safety as their main priority. At a time when these challenges are big, they will also continue to be there for all of the “little things” that are also so important in the day-to-day lives of our students and staff.

PARTNERS IN HEALTH: TA and Southern Maine Health Care
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is Thornton Academy’s exclusive healthcare partner. SMHC provides TA with resources, such as dedicated pediatricians who work with the school nurses to ensure the health and safety of our students—from immunizations and urgent care; to sports physicals, physical therapists, and strength and conditioning specialists for our student athletes. The partnership will also grow to include a collaborative effort on community wellness, and focus on creating workforce development opportunities for students. SMHC also supports the building of TA’s new athletic complex and has sponsored the fitness room in the new facility.

Story by Haley Thompson • Photos Courtesy of Katy Nicketakis