School Nurse Attains National Recognition

05/18/2012 by Karen Nowviskie

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(Pictured: Melanie Kearns, RN BSN NCSN

Putnam County Schools nurse Melanie J. Kearns has been invited to share her outstanding educational program to raise awareness about Meningitis at the 2012 National Association of School Nurses Conference in San Francisco this summer.
Kearns works in the Poca area schools. It was her efforts to educate Poca Middle School students about the importance of vaccination and prevention in combating the devastating effects of meningococcal meningitis that gained national recognition. New West Virginia guidelines require meningitis vaccinations for next year’s seventh graders.
As part of the educational program she developed, Kearns arranged numerous activities highlighting the effects of meningitis. These included a speech from mother who had lost her only child, student competitions and activities, parent information, posters, and the creation of a website on the Poca Middle site.  
New West Virginia legislation requiring meningitis vaccinations goes into effect at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. It requires all entering 7th and 12th graders to show proof of immunization.
Kearns says that students may receive vaccinations from private providers, the newly-formed School-based Health Clinics, or the Putnam County Health Department.
Meanwhile, Kearns continues her multi-faceted approach to ensure that all parents and students receive the message about vaccinating against and preventing meningitis.