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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sarah Odom, RN, is the South Carolina School Nurse (RN) of the Year. She was recognized at 39th Annual School Nurse Conference in January. Odom has been a school nurse for more than 18 years and currently works tirelessly to ensure the needs of the whole child are met at Catawba Trail Elementary.
Nurse Odom began her career with Richland Two at North Springs Elementary and moved to Catawba Trail when it opened several years ago. She was surprised and humbled by the honor.
“I fell in love with nursing and here I am,” Odom said.
Nurses like Odom recognize a student’s health plays a large part in their success in the school setting and she advocates for all student’s health. School administration and learning support services staff respect her thoughts and opinions.
“Sarah’s astute clinical assessment and clinical judgment skills allow her to notice subtle changes in student health. She then works with the parent to advocate for the child’s health care needs,” said District Lead Nurse Dawn MacAdams.
Nurse Odom stops to take the time to listen to each child individually and works tirelessly with all students, especially those with special health care needs. She strives to teach the student and family about ways to manage the condition. Nurse Odom works well with faculty and staff, advocating for safe and effective solutions to challenging problems. She strives to stay current with best-practice standards for the delivery of any treatments or procedures and readily learns new skills as necessary.
In her recommendation of Nurse Odom, Catawba Trail Elementary Principal Jennifer Gillespie wrote, “Sarah is an amazing support to our faculty and staff. She is always willing to listen and care for everyone. Her leadership, knowledge, family-centered approach, and willingness to serve others makes her the best candidate for South Carolina School Nurse of the Year.”
Nurse Odom works closely with teachers, assistants and students who are in the school’s behavior support program. Her calm, non-judgmental attitude allows her to build relationships with the students, which promotes mutual trust. She is a positive role model who often allows students to visit with her for an “emotional” timeout to regroup. Students find the health clinic to be a “safe” haven and often after visiting for a short time, they are ready to return to their classroom to learn and engage positively with their peers and teachers.