Becky Marciante is a Clinic Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Mulberry Middle School in Mulberry, Florida (USA) and a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). She has worked for the Polk County Public School system since December 2015. As we prepare for celebrating World Education Support Personnel Day on 16 May, Becky accepted to answer our questions about her experience as a school nurse during the pandemic.
Can you tell us about your experience working in education as a nurse during the pandemic? Which word(s) would best describe it?
The biggest thing is detailed and consistent communication in the organization of COVID 19 protocol. Students, parents, teachers and administration relied on my expertise and abilities to maintain a clean environment as established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines and guidance from the school board. In addition, I managed protocol and provided care to students who had symptoms consistent to COVID 19. I organized and managed separate areas located within the school to properly quarantine students. I facilitated communication between parents, students and teachers in order to determine the student’s ability to continue education during the quarantine period to ensure each student were not only medically cared for but were also provided the materials to continue their education, reducing the possibility of the student falling behind the curriculum.
Would you say that the pandemic changed others’ perceptions about your role and function in the school?
Once the initial quarantine period was over and the Polk County School System was opened, I was eager to get back to work. Once I returned to work, I realized how much more responsibilities of my position had increased. Increasingly, administration, teachers, students and parents sought my guidance in a multitude of different situations due to COVID 19. Pre-COVID, my communication with administration was limited, however, in the most recent and current environment, the daily communication has been building a sense of unity and a new respect for my job performance and position. What was once a clinic has now become a team. I truly enjoy being a member of this team that I had a hand at building.
What does it mean for you to be part of the union, especially during these challenging times?
I joined the union during the COVID pandemic, my knowledge about the union is limited, but what I do know is that I feel secure knowing I have a team that will represent me and support me if and when needed. My school union reps have kept in constant communication with members via email and also via notes, cards and small gifts, which have encouraged us and kept our spirits uplifted during these trying times. Our union reps encourage us to reach out to them with any questions or concerns.
Your interview will be published will be published for International ESP Day! If you had to choose one message that you would like get across to the world about Education Support Personnel, what would it be?
Education Support personnel are the glue that holds their schools together!
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any official policies or positions of Education International.