Grant-funded position allows Cindy Floyd to serve community, spend time with her children
Cindy Floyd has the credentials and experience to work in just about any healthcare space in the Treasure Valley. She chose to be a school nurse in her hometown of Marsing, Idaho.
Floyd, who has five children in the school district, said she felt “a little disconnected” from her family and community while she was busy getting two degrees and passing two national certification board exams to become a registered nurse and later a family nurse practitioner.
“When this job came out, I knew I wanted to be where my kids were,” Floyd says. “This is a great opportunity to give back and be a part of the community. I’ve lived here my whole life and am well versed in the community resources and understand the barriers here.”
Two major barriers to healthcare in the rural town of about 1,400 in Owyhee County are a lack of providers and transportation issues.
The Marsing School District offers The Hub, a community school that offers a variety of services to students and community members to help address those barriers. Those services include a preschool, Head Start program, food and clothing pantries, mental health services, adult education, migrant liaison services, and more. The Hub also houses a substation of the Owyhee Sheriff’s Office.
The Hub was lacking a full-time school nurse until Floyd was hired in April. The district, Southwest District Health, and Boise State University formed a partnership to hire the full-time position, which was made possible through a Healthcare and Community Partnership grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. This grant gives the health district and school district a way to evaluate the benefits of having a nurse available the four days school is in session each week.
“Everything we do in The Hub is for the benefit of families and kids and we try to provide services to our kids to try and help them be successful,” Marsing Schools Superintendent Norm Stewart says. “We want to address everything in a holistic manner. In a rural location, seeking services can be difficult, and it becomes harder with higher gas prices. That’s why having services on-site to address needs areas is very important to us.”
Floyd is just getting started. Building relationships with staff and students to earn trust is pivotal for the school nurse to have an impact.
“During the short period of time she’s been here, she’s done so much to transition in and establish connections with staff and kids,” Stewart says.
Here’s one example: Floyd was seeing a young student and detected a slightly irregular heartbeat. She contacted a parent, who took the child to the family doctor. An EKG showed an irregular beat that is now being monitored. Having a nurse also takes the pressure off of the teachers who have chronically ill children in the classroom. The teachers can focus on the education they are providing, and Floyd can help with the daily management aspects of the child and their condition.
Floyd and the district are waiting on the results of a needs assessment before prioritizing goals and services. She hopes to help families navigate required immunizations for children starting school, as well as offer sports physicals in the short term. She’s interested in finding students who might be interested in sports medicine and can assist athletic trainers. She also would like to connect interested students with EMT/ambulance professionals for mentoring and a career in the future if they find this their path.
“This is a huge opportunity to impact kids and help some families,” she says.
In Marsing and other rural communities, school nurses often wear multiple hats. Nurses Week is celebrated May 6-12 this year, and Floyd definitely is appreciated at The Hub.
“We’re so fortunate to have her apply and be hired,” Stewart says. “We couldn’t have asked for anyone better.”