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Lori Watzl-King receives School Nurse of the Year Award

School Nurse of the Year, Cambridge College Alumni King
Lori Watzl-King [MEd ‘22], BA-N, RN, LSN, NCSN received the Minnesota 2022 School Nurse of the Year award.

Lori Watzl-King [MEd ‘22], BA-N, RN, LSN, NCSN received the Minnesota 2022 School Nurse of the Year award. 

This honor recognizes one Licensed School Nurse annually who emulates the profession of School Nurse. Nominated by her peers, Lori is most worthy of this honor, as evidenced by her outstanding school nursing practice.

A love of learning and a drive to continuously improve her practice and leadership skills led Lori to earn her Master of Education in School Nurse Education from Cambridge College in August 2022.  While attending the program, she was named to the Pi Lambda Theta education honor society.  Also, she passed the exam in August to become a Nationally Certified School Nurse.

“Lori was an excellent student who displayed a compassionate understanding of her role as a school nurse and embraced the challenges of her daily responsibilities along with those the Covid epidemic placed on her and her school staff,” commented Dr. Pat Johnson, EdD, Program Chair of the Cambridge College School Nurse Program. She added, “She is a wonderful school nurse and a great colleague in school nursing. This award could not have happened to a more deserving person.”

Lori earned her Bachelor of Arts in Nursing at the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, in 1993 and has been a registered nurse for almost 30 years. She began her nursing career at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Paul, MN, where she worked in Oncology for four years before moving to Cardiac Intensive Care. In 2008, Lori accepted a school nurse position at Wilshire Park Elementary in the St. Anthony New Brighton School District. In 2015, Lori transitioned to being the District Nurse, covering all three schools with approximately 1800 students. 

In 2021, Lori became the District Wellness Coordinator for St. Anthony - New Brighton Schools.  As the only Registered Nurse and Licensed School Nurse in the district, she is responsible for the health needs of all students, staff and student wellness, and COVID coordination.  Lori oversees two health offices and 3 Health Aides. As the COVID Coordinator for her district, she developed and implemented systems-level COVID protocols, oversaw the district COVID-19 testing program, and arranged multiple COVID vaccine clinics in St. Anthony - New Brighton Schools. At the same time, she connected with hundreds of families one-on-one when they had COVID questions or COVID infections in their households. Lori is also responsible for case management, care planning, training staff to respond to emergencies, delegating and supervising nursing tasks, and special education nursing assessments. She participates in Student Assistance Teams and Health, Safety, and Wellness Committees.

As the District Wellness Committee co-chair, Lori advocated updating the district wellness policy to align with the CDC's Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model.  Lori strongly believes that community collaboration is essential in breaking down barriers of inequity, particularly in healthcare.  She has partnered with various community organizations to provide flu and COVID vaccine clinics and dental care for students. 

"Lori has been able to navigate every competing challenge she has faced," stated Superintendent Dr. Renee Corneille. "Lori has been able to stay committed to the health and well-being of our students and staff. Lori has been able to guide our community with not only knowledge and skill but with care and love." Dr. Renee Corneille is proud to have a staff member who "has literally become not only our school district's nurse but the entire city of St. Anthony's nurse!”