School Heroes: Cobb Nurses Save Lives One Day at a Time  

Only a few months ago a Cobb teacher collapsed. It took three rounds of CPR and three shocks to revive the teacher who thanks to the quick action of the school nurse and her first responder team was able to recover from what could have been a tragedy  

At another school, a nurse provided CPR and used an AED to revive a third grader who collapsed during class. Like the teacher, the student recovered.  

In another part of the District, a school nurse prevented a student suicide the same day she helped treat a different student for a psychogenic seizure. 

When a student was taken to the emergency room and the student’s parents couldn’t be reached, it was the school nurse who stayed with the child from 10:30 a.m. to about 10:00 p.m. The student wanted the school nurse to stay with him and so she did. That’s the kind of care nurses in Cobb Schools provide.  

When some people think of school nurses, they don’t think of the broken bones, lacerations, and trips to the ER that the healthcare professionals often see. They mistakenly think only of band-aids and icepacks. School nurses are so much more, just ask the parents of students with serious medical issues. 

School nurses provide care to students with complex medical issues such as diabetes, seizure disorders, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell disease. School nurses are sometimes the first to realize and react to a situation that is becoming urgent and needs medical attention,” explained Melanie Bales, Cobb Schools Nursing Supervisor.   

School nurses may identify the medical needs of students before their parents, like first-time anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting or identifying an injury that is more severe than the parents realized and actually requires surgery. 

It’s the school nurses who tend to students’ medical needs throughout their school career. They recognize medical emergencies and coordinate with parents and doctors to work out the right medicine for students. However, sometimes they are just there to offer a smile, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or cupcakes to brighten the birthday of a child who otherwise wouldn’t have any.  

That’s a school nurse in Cobb. 

“Many students feel that the school nurse is a safe person to whom they can divulge information. Because of this, nurses are able to intercede with some of today’s common problems such as depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide,” Bales added. 

The Cobb County School District is the largest school district in the state of Georgia with a Licensed Nurse in every school every single day. The average school nurse in Cobb has 28 years of experience as a nurse. Some have worked in Cobb Schools helping students for two decades.  

I love being a school nurse here working for Cobb County I couldn’t imagine not working for my Sanders team,” said Sanders Elementary School nurse Sybil Coffie. 

Because of Cobb’s reputation in the nursing community, Cobb nurses have trained school nurses from across the state of Georgia for the past five years at the Georgia Association of School Nurses Conference.  

As a recognition of the nurses’ impact on the success of Cobb students, Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale recently proposed adding a 2% salary step for school nurses every two years, which will help Cobb maintain an award-winning nursing team. 

From the Georgia School Nurse of the Year to Children’s Healthcare Project S.A.V.E. Allison Award, the Cobb team of nurses have been honored with an array of awards. Many have earned the title of Classified Employee of the Year from their educator colleagues. At least one dedicated nurse was recognized in the top 10 extraordinary nursing professionals by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.  

“It is an honor and privilege to work every day with a group of School Nurses who are dedicated professionals,” said Bales. “Their commitment to the health and safety of students first helps to create a positive impact on student success in Cobb County School District. We are proud to be members of the Cobb team!” 

Due to the work of a school nurse, one Cobb School was the only school in Georgia last year to earn the highest recognition of Asthma-Friendly School Platinum Designation from the American Lung Association. Before the school year ends and thanks to the guidance of the nursing leadershipStop the Bleed training will be 100 % complete in every Cobb School, which means staff will be even more prepared to respond in the event of an emergency.  

School nurses do not just tend to the sick and injured. They also educate staff, students, and parents on disease prevention. They help more students stay healthy so they can attend school, learn more, and ultimately be more successful.  

When they are not launching education campaigns or starting programs to help students, like B.O.N.D (Being Optimistic About Diabetes) student group, nurses in Cobb are caring for students who have everything from a scraped knee, the flu, or broken arm to a life-threatening emergency.  

For all those reasons and many more, the Cobb County School District is proud to celebrate National School Nurses Day in May. Now is the time to stop and say thank you to the dedicated professionals who care for Cobb students and staff each and every day.