If one were to ask Berkeley County School District teachers to describe the school nurse, the word “passionate” will be used several times. The best characteristics of leaders often are infused into their team members. It’s obvious that’s happening within the nursing services department of the district.
It’s not difficult to find the evidence. Last weekend district Nursing Services Coordinator Cami Tidwell was named by SCDHEC as the South Carolina School RN Administrator of the Year. What’s more is that her team had an authoritative showing at the annual event, with district nurse Karen VanCleve recognized as the South Carolina School Health LPN of the Year.
“I was very shocked. It was very humbling,” Tidwell said of the awards.
Both awards begin with a local nomination process. Letters of recommendation are written and nursing professionals in other school districts put it all to a vote.
Tidwell said reading the letters of recommendation brought tears to her eyes. District teachers and administrators made mention of her commitment, work to properly equip nursing stations and her knowledge.
“I am very passionate and try to be very supportive. I believe in working as a team,” Tidwell said.
The team atmosphere that she maintains is what made accepting an award difficult for her and VanCleve. In addition to being known for their work ethic and dedication, they are also known for their modesty. While Tidwell enjoys the recognition and says it somewhat confirms her belief that Berkeley County School District has the best school nurses in the state, she reminds anyone who will listen that children are always the priority.
“It’s such an honor to have these awards. I have worked so hard in my role, and my nurses have worked so hard. Our department has come a long way. This is a reflection of the team,” she said.
In a letter written to SCDHEC as a part of the nomination packet, district Senior Associate Superintendent Deon Jackson described Tidwell’s worth ethic as “beyond reproach.” Jackson also made mention of Tidwell’s ability to “temper her actions with a touch of sensitivity.”
South Carolina School Health LPN of the Year: Karen VanCleve
“Compassionate, very caring and always makes a point to acknowledge students” – that is how Cami Tidwell describes LPN Karen VanCleve.
VanCleve splits times between Devon Forest Elementary and Berkeley High.
“She may come across as quiet and shy at times, but she is passionate about her schools, the district and all of its children,” Tidwell said.
VanCleve’s impact has been visible. Tidwell said VanCleve has been observed maintaining calm while managing situations with injured students. She’s played a crucial role at her schools and in the community.
“She loves the fact that as a school nurse, you are part of the community,” Tidwell said. “If you are running a school, she is the type of nurse you want.”