Pam Walcher was always drawn to the nursing profession, but it’s when she became a school nurse that she found her true calling.
Walcher was recently named as a “Nurse of the Year” in the Community Health Nursing category by the Minnesota March of Dimes, which recognizes nurses throughout the state in 16 different categories.
“The remarkable efforts of these individuals often go unsung, and the March of Dimes is proud to celebrate nursing excellence,” said a spokesperson. More than 600 nurses were nominated for the awards.
Walcher is the school nurse at Burnsville High School, which serves 2,700 students in grades 9-12. She sees her role as being an advocate for students and she effectively bridges the link between their educational and medical needs.
“Pam's nursing knowledge and communication and listening skills create a calm and caring environment for students and families at Burnsville High School,” wrote nominator Bernie Bein, another school nurse in District 191. “Learning is an important activity in a school and the health office is an extension to the learning environment. Pam is an expert health educator who sees every interaction with students as an opportunity for learning and health promotion.”
“The health office connects with all the other departments at Burnsville High School,” said Walcher. “We all work together to make sure students have what they need to succeed and reach their goals”
To students, she says: “We care about you and we want you here at BHS so you can graduate, which sets you up for a successful future.” She also supports families who are facing issues. There are serious and tough situations, but there are also joy and accomplishments. “I really like working with high school kids,” said Walcher. “Their sense of humor and insights make me smile and help me grow.”
Among the District 191 school nurses, Walcher has a leadership role in developing procedures and policies such as nutritious snacks in the school, extended field trips and emergency preparedness. She has also mentored nursing students. Walcher is an active member in the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota (SNOM) and is currently treasurer and co-chair on the awards committee.
“Pam’s dedication and passion to the profession of school nursing is demonstrated every day through the interactions and the nursing care and support she provides to students, families and staff members,” said Bein. “She is very deserving of this honor.”