School nurse honored for her software program;
Copyright 2002 Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage Daily News...02/20/2002
As a school nurse, Kim Dye often encounters medical situations that require her to think and act quickly. That may include a diabetic student experiencing insulin shock, a student with compound fractures, or a child complaining about back pain after falling off playground equipment. Her job entails minimizing further injury by making appropriate referrals beyond the school. Dye wrote a database program called the Health Office Computer Log that has streamlined the process of documenting health cases in the Anchorage School District, eliminated mounds of paperwork and created easy access to information about students' health. It is being used at many schools in the district and recently contributed to statewide recognition for Dye. Last month, she was named 2002 Alaska School Nurse of the Year by the Alaska School Nurses' Association. A ceremony was held in her honor at the School District's administration building. "It was just a nice surprise to receive that," said Dye, who works at Kincaid Elementary School. "It symbolizes all the work and effort that I've put into becoming a school nurse over the years ... working with not only the health of students, but also with my colleagues. I feel really humbled about getting this." The award recognizes those who demonstrate excellence in school nursing based on the School Nursing Practice Roles and Standards. "She's a great role model to other school nurses," said Kathleen Bell, who nominated Dye. Bell is a nurse at Lake Hood Elementary School and past president of the Alaska School Nurses Association.
"She shows a very caring attitude toward all her people that she deals with, whether it's adults or children. She's definitely a cutting edge person with regard to technology." Most nurses within the district are using Dye's computer program, which she began developing five years ago. Computerized data allows quick documentation of daily occurrences and a way to easily research prior health records. Data can also reveal trends in student body health, including stomachaches after meals, communicable diseases and the number of students sent home due to illness. "Her understanding of computer applications has encouraged others to acquire new skills and changed their attitudes toward technology," wrote Janice Bates, director of Anchorage School District health services, in a press release. "Kim is a natural leader and taught classes for nurses to ensure that they developed the ability to generate meaningful information and increase efficiency." Dye has worked as a registered nurse in the district since earning a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1988. She teaches human growth and development to fifth- and sixth-graders at Kincaid Elementary School and covers health subjects for students in other grades. She treats an average of 600 children monthly, which includes some repeats, she said. Because she injured her right hand in a ski accident while in college, writing is cumbersome. "It aches when I write a lot," said Dye. "Since then, I have always hated writing and want to type whenever possible." The new program saves hours and is more accurate, she said. In addition to Kincaid students, the school serves children transported by bus from Sand Lake, Chinook and Gladys Wood elementary schools. The school offers occupational and physical therapy, and some classes have a lower teacher-student ratio for students with intensive needs. The nurses' office at Kincaid also includes a health treatment specialist. Dye deals with students who have complex medical problems including autism, Down's Syndrome and cerebral palsy. School staff members, parents, physicians and others work as a team, Dye said, to provide children with an optimal educational environment -- and the best health possible.
Reporter Asta Corley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org