The school nurse program has four registered nurses that serve nine sets of schools in the Charlevoix area.
These school nurses are rare, especially in this state. At one for every 6,607 students, Michigan is last in the nation. The CDC recommends one for every 750.
Kathleen Jacobsen supervises the program for Charlevoix Area Hospital.
She said the school nurses take pride in going above and beyond for their students.
“Our nurses have started covered gardens and farmed a school, written grants. That extra person within the school system that isn’t bogged down with a lot of prior duties can get in there and really find the areas of need.”
Jacobsen said since the program started they’ve also noticed a surprising side-effect, a drop in absenteeism.
In the last four years chronic absenteeism in the schools has dropped by around 6 percent.
Winners of the Ludwig award receive $3,000 to support their programs.