HSE coordinator named Indiana School Nurse Administrator of the Year

Indiana’s Department of Education (IDOE) presented the Indiana School Nurse Administrator of the Year award to Jolene Bracale, Hamilton Southeastern’s nursing coordinator, at a luncheon on Wednesday, July 25.

An employee of HSE Schools for 11 years, Bracale was a school nurse at Lantern Road Elementary before spending the last seven years as the nursing coordinator for the district and is currently also a school nurse two days a week at Geist Elementary.

“It is a terrific honor to be recognized by your peers and at the state level,” said Bracale. She receives the award at a luncheon at the Hope Lodge at the Martin House as part of an IDOE Student Services Summer Institute.

Besides taking care of day-to-day nursing when at Geist Elementary, in her coordinator role she has extensive corporation-wide responsibilities including the following:

Writing corporation medical policies and procedures in consultation with the school physician
Offering expertise or research concerning medical issues such as pesticides, food allergies, first aid procedures, etc.
Answering medical questions posed by other building nurses
Coordinating corporation-wide nurses’ meetings
Interviewing nursing candidates
Training new nurses
Organizing basic aide training
Overseeing documentation of required student immunizations
Conducting first aide classes for coaches
Providing training for use of defibrillators
Preparing for the opening of new clinics with new facilities
Assisting with development and implementation of crisis procedures
Helping administrators deal with new medical issues that arise
According to Human Resources Director Roger Norris, some recent issues she has helped the district address have included peanut allergies, organizing meningitis inoculations for seniors going to college, working with the Department of Health in isolating an outbreak of the Norovirus at one school and collaborating with local agencies in development of the corporation’s pandemic crisis plan. She was a 2006 recipient of HSE’s Honor and Excellence Award for her leadership in assessing and monitoring care of injured high school student and adult passengers after a fan bus accident. She participates in the Nurses’ Leadership academy and has presented for the Indiana Department of Education. Bracale has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing.

“She is a key member of the HSE Schools Crisis Team,” said Norris. He said this last year she worked diligently within the district and with outside agencies to develop a pandemic preparedness plan and then oversaw a successful mock drill that involved the various agencies. “Over the years, I have learned that there are some people who just do their jobs, some people who work beyond expectations and some very talented people who find their niche and do everything within their power to be the best that they can be. Jolene is in the last category.”

Geist Elementary’s Principal Kelly Jackson nominated Bracale for the award that qualifies her for a national competition. “She is so dedicated, so professional and so knowledgeable. She’s truly a working resource to parents, students, staff and administration,” said Jackson . “She’s so willing to seek research and truly goes beyond expectations in everything she does. . . And it’s always about children and their safety and well-being.”

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