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Bucs Hero: Wendy Barber, Middle School Nurse…and Much More

For 10 years, Wendy Barber, RN, has served as a school nurse on Bissell Campus, but her connection runs deeper as she subbed before joining as a full-time staff member. And, in so many ways, Wendy makes a difference at the Middle School beyond her expertise in health services. She is involved in multiple facets of student life and is known for her friendly and engaging demeanor. While Wendy has a great sense of humor and knows how to have fun, she is quite serious when it comes to good health. Her expertise was instrumental in planning for and navigating school during the pandemic.

Wendy Barber looking at camera

With January traditionally a time to focus on health, it seems fitting to profile Wendy Barber as a Bucs Hero. This regular feature is designed to highlight the many staff members across campus making an impact for our school.

Describe what you do as a Middle School nurse.

By definition, school nurses are educators and healthcare providers who manage campus community health to promote academic success. Middle school is a time of huge developmental and physical change for students, and the health room is a very busy place. I spend a lot of time teaching students how and why their bodies do what they do in addition to responding to chronic and acute injuries and illness, and psycho-social concerns. I assess student health needs, make and coordinate care plans with interdisciplinary teams, dispense medication, manage the electronic health records, chart our student visits, and communicate daily with parents. I attend overnight, grade-level field trips, present at parent education and faculty meetings, and provide health resources to our community. Because “health” overlaps into other departments, I collaborate with our athletic trainer and school counselors on how to provide comprehensive care for students.

What do you like most about your job?

I love so many things about my job, especially the Middle School vibe. I am passionate about helping people understand how the body works. With knowledge they have insight into preventing illness and injury, and it equips them to care for themselves when they experience illness or injury. As a nurse, I get to educate every person who comes into my office, helping them to build valuable health literacy, which is critical to their overall wellness. I feel the work I do now gives students the tools to become responsible healthcare consumers in the future.

In what ways do you help build community? 

I was drawn to the Country Day community years before I was ever hired. My mother worked on campus, and my children were enrolled before I worked here. This community is so dear to me, and I find ways to engage whenever I can. I have led international student trips for six years, I coordinate the squash club, and play in our annual student-faculty volleyball and basketball games. I sing in the faculty choir and this past year volunteered with the Country Day Fund to create videos honoring donations made in teachers’ names. My family participates in POCIS events, we work booths and sell tickets at Big Saturday, we chat with community members at football games, and I ran with my Middle School students in the Run For Good this year.

Whether it’s popping into the Admissions Office or Ed Tech when I’m on Cannon Campus, faculty shenanigans at School In The Woods, chatting with students while walking around monuments and museums in Washington, DC, contributing articles to the Middle School newspaper, or learning Diwali dances with students in Town Meeting, I seek out opportunities to interact with my colleagues, students, and parents outside of the health room.

Wendy with students at site in Italy
Wendy and student in fun sunglasses
Middle School staff dressed for Halloween

What is your advice for staying healthy in 2024?

Prevention! We all know that nutritious food, sleep, social connections, and activity are the building blocks of good health, but our busy lives often steer us toward convenience instead of care. If we take time to care and prepare our bodies and minds, we’re less likely to be deficient, disappointed, and discontent. My prescription—make our fuel, our relationships, and contentment a priority—that seems like a great way to stay healthy in the new year!

How do you like to spend your free time?

Anything in the mountains!! I love the outdoors—taking in the beauty of the world around me, exercise, creative projects, and building things with wood.

Wendy with her husband and children standing in a mountain stream.