Congratulations, Michelle Prescott! Michelle was recognized as a finalist in the Washington Post Jobs Star Nurses program. Michelle is the preschool intake nurse for the Department of Exceptional Learning. Read her full nomination below:
Michelle had a change of heart. “When I was younger, I thought about going to medical school,” says the Waynesboro, Pa., native. “My father was an obstetrician and suggested I complete my undergraduate degree in nursing, and if I still wanted to be a physician afterwards, he would support me in the process.
“During my clinical rotations I realized I was no longer interested in being a doctor,” she continues. “Nursing has always been professionally and personally fulfilling for me.” The opportunity to learn and grow professionally on behalf of her community is what motivates her, the Duke graduate says.
“My younger son has autism and went through the same process 24 years ago,” she says. “I am constantly on the lookout for strategies and resources that will help these children and their families navigate a very challenging phase in their lives.”
She is inspired by the educators she has worked with, whom she describes as compassionate and dedicated. “I worked for 13 years as the school nurse at a Title I primary school and was deeply impressed by the teachers and staff members who worked so diligently on behalf of their at-risk students.”
She wanted to help them as well, and became certified in asthma education, CPR, youth mental health first aid and more. In fact, Michelle is CPR coordinator for her school system.
She has studied ministry curriculum to help individuals who are going through a personal crisis. She has volunteered during the pandemic with the Medical Reserve Corps to man the COVID-19 call center at the Norfolk Health Department. She has delivered PPE to doctors’ offices and residential care facilities and trained to be a contact tracer. “I am motivated by the constant opportunity to learn and grow,” she says.
Michelle has been inspired by her profession as a whole, which is often identified in surveys of the public as having the highest degree of integrity of all professions. Increasingly, she has observed, care is provided while risking the health and safety of the nurses themselves. “No wonder health-care workers are considered heroes these days,” she says.
She has advocated legislatively for the right of students and families to have full-time, on-site school nurses. “Not all schools have their own full-time nurse,” she points out. They are needed everywhere “to assess for illness, provide first aid, administer complex treatments and procedures, and ensure students are healthy, safe, and ready to learn.”
For all her accomplishments, Michelle says she feels humbled to be recognized as a Star Nurse. “It is not an honor I would have envisioned for myself. I feel immensely privileged to be included.”