A familiar face will be missing in the Scottsboro City School System when school opens in August. Long time nurse Wendy Hastings has announced her retirement effective at the end of this month. She came to work in the schools as the school nurse when that was a relatively new concept.
Hastings has been a registered nurse for over 40 years. She had dedicated much of that time to the students and staff in the Scottsboro City Schools.
When Hastings first was hired as a school nurse, she was the first ever lead nurse in the school system. Prior to that she had worked in the Huntsville Hospital ICU and for Dr. Durwood Hodges.
At the beginning of her career with city schools, Hastings was responsible for all the schools. She did not have the luxury of being stationed at just one of the schools. She could be at Scottsboro High School and be called to Nelson Elementary or at Brownwood Elementary and be needed at Scottsboro Junior High School.
She never knew when she would be called to what was then Page Elementary or Caldwell Elementary. She was pulled in all directions.
School nursing has come a long way, and Hastings has been able to witness the improvement. Only during recent years has Hastings been able to work one school. Finally, each of the city schools has a nurse on duty all day every day.
The job of a school nurse goes beyond just taking a child’s temperature and determining if the child needs to go home. Then there is the job of contacting the responsible adult to pick up the child, and that is not always easy. Many teachers have also gone to Hastings with health quest6ions of their own.
School nurses give medications, provide first-aid, monitor immunization records, and help student with diabetes manage that disease.
They also perform vision, hearing, and other health screenings. They try to educate the school staffs and students as well as families. The nurse helps students with disabilities and develops care plans for students who have ongoing medical conditions.
The school nurse connects health care with education. Everyone knows that a hungry student cannot concentrate on learning, but a student’s health can also affect their success at school. This is why school nurses are essential to schools and their students. They serve as advocates who strive to keep their students healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Hastings and all of the nurses in the school system take this seriously.
“If I have made a difference or an impact in just one child’s life, then I know I was successful and that I have done my job right,” Hastings says. “That makes everything worth it.”
Fellow school nurse Sally Black, who is stationed at Scottsboro High School, says she has learned a lot from Hastings. “She has been a role model to me and has become a very good friend also.”
Black adds, “I can only hope to one day be able to say this very same thing. Wendy is an amazing nurse!”
Hastings was happy to be stationed at Scottsboro Junior High School last year. Her two grandsons, Cade and Jake Hastings, were students there. They were able to ride with her to school every day.
Now that she is retiring, Hastings plans to do some traveling and enjoy her grandchildren. She will be busy just watching all of their sporting events.
Hastings is married to Coy Hastings, and they have two grown children. Son Matt and his wife, Crystal, are the parents of grandsons Cade and Jake. Daughter Megan and her husband, Josh Wright, are the parents of grandchildren Everly and Hastings.
When that school bell rings in August, Hastings will be able to put her feet up and drink one more cup of coffee. She will begin to enjoy a different lifestyle as she gets used to having more free time.