Long-time Jane Ryan school nurse Joanne Sloan was named the 2018 State Nurse of the Year at the Association of School Nurses Dinner last week. Affectionately known as Nurse Sloan, she worked at Jane Ryan Elementary School for 24 years. Students and staff surprised her with a school assembly this week and she also received a proclamation at the May Town Council Meeting.

“Nurse Sloan is a visionary, who looks at the complete health of our students,” said Jane Ryan Principal Mary Ellen Bolton. “She has developed lessons on dental care, hygiene, puberty, healthy living, germs/hand washing, severe allergies and even diabetes. She’s given many parent workshops.”

In addition to these programs, Sloan also organized CPR training for staff and initiated Lion’s Club Kid’s Sight Eye Screening in the school.

Bolton said Sloan also was a regular at Back to School Night, where she is known for addressing parents in poem form, and is also the force behind many school projects.

“One is in the month of October,” Bolton said. “There is a wall outside her office where families and staff may purchase a ribbon to remember someone who has been affected by cancer. This money goes to American Cancer Society. She also has ‘Pink Day’ for staff and more than 30 staff members and their families walk in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer.”

At this year’s St. Baldrick’s night, where students, staff and families shaved their heads in memory of a first grader who had lost her battle with cancer, Sloan, as the school’s top fund-raiser, was the finale.

Sloan also organizes Wear Red for Woman’s Heart Health Awareness, and starts that day with a poem, a red breakfast and red raffle prizes. With a majority female school staff, Sloan is quick to remind staff members that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States.

“It’s more than illness and scrapes,” Bolton said. “Her office is the hub in our school for all. We are so proud of our Nurse Sloan.”