Marcum ’89 Named School Nurse of the Year in Illinois
Oct. 21, 2020
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The
Illinois Association of School Nurses has named Susann Marcum ’89 as the 2020 School Nurse of the Year in recognition of
two decades of service in schools across McLean County Unit District No. 5.
Marcum was nominated by a colleague at Illinois State University’s Mennonite College
of Nursing, where she founded and currently develops curriculum for their Graduate
School Nurse Certification Program. In addition to teaching classes on the theory
of school nursing, Marcum works at Grove Elementary School and Fairview Elementary
School, where in addition to attending to the immediate health needs of hundreds of
students, she delivers wellness curriculum directly to the classroom, from healthy
eating habits to washing hands frequently.
“We know that all of nursing is grounded in teaching, but school nurses get a front
row seat to helping hundreds of students in our everyday job,” said Marcum in regard
to the impact of her work. “And it is nothing short of amazing to watch those lightbulbs
go on. Simply put, school nurses are the bridge that connect healthcare and education
because everyone knows that healthy students learn better.”
This unique connection between healthcare and education equips school nurses with
key insights as schools across the country navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the spring of 2020, Marcum and her Unit 5 colleagues have worked tirelessly
to prepare for students’ safe return, from contract tracing to training modules for
staff and students.
In these uncertain times, Marcum is grateful that she can rely on her nursing colleagues,
teachers and administrators. “Since becoming the Chair of the Nursing Department 10
years ago, I have had an opportunity to advocate for the school nurses, and work for
a district that truly cares about students and staff. When there is open collaboration
between the school nurses and administration, which is the case in Unit 5, policies
and procedures are aligned to what is best for students and this in turn improves
Marcum graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1989 with a BSN and an Illinois
School Nurse Certification. She earned a master's of science in nursing from Aspen
University in 2016. Before beginning her school nursing career, Marcum worked for
several years on the medical/oncology unit at what is now known as Carle BroMenn Medical
Center and in a local OB/GYN doctor's office.
When Marcum made the switch to school nursing, she understood the responsibilities
of her position, but she soon discovered that being a school nurse also comes with
a lasting personal impact on countless children:
“I wasn’t prepared for how much the students and families would mean to me in the
long-term relationships that are built, and how much they would rely on me,” Marcum
reflected. “For some students, school nurses are the only healthcare provider they
will see. These are the students who need us the most. I am humbled and honored to
be a school nurse who has the opportunity to impact students and families every day.”