EC Middle’s Smits named Ga. school nurse of the year
by Celia Shortt
The Georgia Association of School Nurses has named East Coweta Middle School’s nurse, Rhonda Smits, Georgia’s 2015 School Nurse of the Year.
Smits is the first Coweta County school nurse to achieve this recognition.
“I was so surprised and honored,” said Smits.
According to Coweta County School System officials, ECMS counselor Tiffany Busby nominated Smits, and many of Smits’ colleagues and students also wrote letters of recommendation.
“This award recognizes professionals like Rhonda Smits for exemplary care within the speciality of school nursing,” said Sally Millians, head nurse for the Coweta County School System. “I could not imagine a better choice for the Georgia School Nurse of the Year.”
Smits has been ECMS’ nurse for 11 years and a registered nurse for 33 years. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named her a Nursing Excellence Award Winner in 2011.
Smits will represent school nurses in Georgia through 2015.
“I feel like I have the best of both worlds here,” she said. “I love nursing and this school, and I love working with these children. Every day they come in and say something that tickles my fancy. It’s never boring.”
“Rhonda is a very dedicated professional, a strong student advocate, and very passionate about the people in her care,” added Millians. “She goes above and beyond in everything she does.”
Smits earned her nursing credentials at Mobile College and worked in hospitals for 22 years. She decided to become a school nurse after her daughter, Shelly, died. Before becoming a nurse, Smits had thought about becoming a teacher. She believes working with kids in a school setting satisfies the dream of becoming a teacher and honors her daughter’s memory.
School nurses in Coweta County serve all 31 schools in the district. In the 2013-2014 school year, Coweta’s school nurses responded to more than 96,000 student illnesses and injuries. They administered more than 29,000 special procedures and helped manage medications each month for thousands of students, as well as providing student screenings, parent consultations, classroom training and professional training.