Bringing a caring touch to the Coos Bay school district

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By Ashleigh Prescott | Photography Editor

Among a lengthy list of changes at Marshfield High School, new school nurse Wilma Williams has joined the Marshfield staff.

Currently Williams works at both Marshfield and Harding two out of the four days of the school week. Williams works on Monday and Tuesday during the school week and her office is located in the student services department in the Main Building.  She said her place is hard to fill on days she is gone.

“I feel bad for leaving the shift for the other two days and there is a lot of places to fill in the two days I am gone,” Williams said.

During those days, secretary of Student Services Gloria Spillman fills her place.

Spillman shared the many aspects of being a fill-in nurse and how it affects her job.

“When the nurse is not here I must take temperatures, give medication, if there is an injury I must check it out,” Spillman said.”You have to stop what you are doing and run to wherever the injury is or wherever the seizure is. It is very difficult.”

Williams provides many services for the students at Marshfield.

“I offer first aid and counseling. I’m a resource for referral of child abuse, and I access child abuse cases,” Williams said. “Many teachers refer people they believe to be pregnant to me, and I deal with that. Students come to me about questions dealing with pregnancy and birth control.”

Williams is stationed at Marshfield and is not present at Harding unless needed. She believes this could be detrimental for them.

“Harding probably suffers because I’m mostly here [at Marshfield]. Email is a great thing because I keep in contact with staff about students who may need my attention and if they need me for any reason I go down there,” Williams said.

Although Williams only works part time now, she has had a long career. She is not originally from the Bay Area, growing up in Santa Ana, California and getting a nursing degree from the University of Utah.

“I started out in psychiatry and then moved my way to medical and surgical nursing, intensive care nursing, and burn nursing and then to hemodialysis,” Williams said. “In 1981 a friend of mine told me to consider school nursing, and so I have been working in schools for 23 years.”

Williams said there were several things that attracted her to Coos Bay.

“I was looking to get into a cooler place and the things I liked about Coos Bay were our airport and the wonderful hospital we have,” Williams said, “I wanted to be close to the ocean and my husband wanted to get closer to the pine trees. So here we are.”

Williams has a passion for working with high school aged children.

“I love this age. There is so much energy, and I love watching everyone grow,” Williams said.

Although Williams is happy with her job at Marshfield, she feels as though one part time nurse may not enough.

“My personal feeling in general with high school students is that there should be a nurse full time,” Williams said, “With budget constraints I am not sure that is possible.”