Posted on March 25, 2024
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Categories: News from SDP

Rhawnhurst School Nurse Emily Hunter, M.Ed., BS, RN, CSN, has been named the 2024 Pennsylvania School Nurse of the Year. She was selected among seven finalists across the state by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) for her outstanding service to the students and staff of the School District of Philadelphia. 

“Congratulations to Emily Hunter for this wonderful honor that recognizes her dedication and commitment to students in Philadelphia,” said Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D. “Students at Rhawnhurst and schools across the City are healthier and more engaged in academics thanks to her expertise, guidance and advocacy. We cannot Accelerate Philly without school nurses, like Emily, whose presence directly impacts student health, academic achievement, school climate and student absenteeism.”

Each year, the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners honors a Certified School Nurse from each region of Pennsylvania who goes above and beyond in their role as a school nurse. Those Regional School Nurse Excellence Awards winners then become finalists for the following year’s Pennsylvania School Nurse of the Year. She is now eligible for the prestigious National Association of School Nurses 2025 Pennsylvania School Nurse of the Year Award.

Hunter is currently in her seventh school year as a school nurse. Prior to joining the District, she worked in pediatric primary care, emergency trauma and labor & delivery. She received a Master’s Degree in Education, School Health Services from Eastern University.

“This award is important to me because school nursing is an often misunderstood and underappreciated job to do,” said Hunter. “School nurses are more than just bandaids and ice packs, especially in a large city and school district like Philadelphia. We are often the only healthcare some students receive, we work hard to provide resources for students and families to get healthcare, dental care, vision care, immunizations, mental health care and more, sometimes bringing those resources into our schools. We are often the safe space for students to come to, we are the huggers and the listeners, and we are highly qualified educators. It’s really great to go to work every day in a place where I am appreciated and cared for.”

Hunter was part of the District’s Support Staff Advisory Group for its new five-year strategic plan, Accelerate Philly. She authors an educational blog researching topics for school nurses, students, and parents called Your favorite School Nurse Says. She also has published multiple books, blog posts and articles about school nursing topics.

Hunter was recognized and presented The School Nurse of the Year Award at the NASN annual awards ceremony on Saturday March 23 at 6 p.m. at the Hershey Lodge Conference Center, Hershey, PA.