School nurses and other healthcare personnel play an important role in safely keeping schools and children healthy. It has been an overwhelming year for all healthcare professionals including school nurses, as the importance of their role is more valuable now more than ever. That is why the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations congratulates Julie Limmer RN, school nurse for the Beresford School District and is SDAHO’s hero of the week.
For the past 7 years Julie has tended to the students, faculty, and staff for the Beresford Watchdogs. “The favorite part of my job as a school nurse is the excitement and love the kids bring to school each day. Their smiles, stories and hugs are what keep me coming back.”
Born and raised in South Dakota, Julie began her healthcare career 25 years ago working as a registered nurse in an intensive care unit, at Sanford Health. She left the intensive care unit after starting a family. “I started having babies and working nights and holidays was really hard and it was hard to find daycare on the weekends. This job came open in Beresford and I’m from Beresford, so it made my decision easier.” Her colleagues say because Julie does her job so well at helping to keep the faculty and staff healthy, it allows teachers to focus on educating. “Julie is able to reduce our concerns regarding the student’s health and safety, which allows the faculty and staff to focus on the school districts mission, which is to provide a quality education to students.”– Shellie Pratt, School Counselor – Beresford School District.
Julie credits her high school anatomy/physiology teacher for encouraging her to consider a medical career. It was the opportunity to shadow a medical doctor and a nurse for a high school class that Julie says changed her life. “I found it all so fascinating and I knew at that moment that I wanted to do something in medicine. I was introduced to an amazing primary nurse whose focus was on oncology. I discovered from her how much showing compassion towards others can do for almost any ailment or diagnosis and it was this nurse that helped inspire me to become a nurse.”
COVID-19 impacted Julie’s position as it has impacted many who work in healthcare. “I have to not think only of the student who is not feeling well, but also of who that student has been in contact with and who they may come in contact with if they remain at school.” Her colleagues say, the pandemic added to Julie’s workload, but she never once complained and was able to get done everything that was required of her. “Mrs. Limmer hasn’t missed a beat and she has tackled COVID-19 head on, spending a significant amount of time checking students and staff for symptoms and testing them for COVID-19.” – Shellie Pratt, School Counselor – Beresford School District. Julie says a lot of parents let her know how appreciative they are of the work she does. There are also those parents who take their frustration out on Julie, which is hard. “I’ve had some very angry and mad parents who have said some hurtful things to me and that is very hard, because I care about everyone’s kids.” Julie says she knows parents are not mad at her, they are just frustrated because her decision could mean they have to miss work, or their child must miss school and she understands. “Keeping the school and students healthy and learning is our top priority.”
The most rewarding part about being a school nurse is watching the students grow. “Watching them take care of themselves and be more independent and teaching them to brush their teeth, wash their hands, eat their vegetables, and drink more water and they do it. That is exciting and that is what it is all about. All of those things are rewarding to me.” In addition to helping the school and community work through the school district COVID-19 safety protocols, Julie keeps staff trained in CPR and AED. She has also hosted a couple of Stop the Bleed sessions to train more people in the school and community to save lives. “Julie is a true blessing to our school district. She is so passionate about her job, doing the right thing and taking care of everyone’s needs. I cannot imagine how we would have maneuvered this school year without her.” Shellie Pratt – School Counselor, Beresford School District.
When asked what she thinks about being called a healthcare hero and being recognized by her school Julie says, “I have never considered myself a hero. I consider myself blessed to still enjoy the profession I chose 25 years ago, and I am fortunate to have been placed in a school district where staff and parents appreciate what a school nurse brings to their district.”
Julie Limmer, thank you for all you do and congratulations for being selected as SDAHO’s Healthcare Hero.
If you know someone that is a healthcare hero and would like to nominate them, visit us online and nominate them today. https://sdaho.org/heroes/