Special Honors: School Nurse goes to Laura Hall Photo by Jay Paul
The 600 students in the Lower School at Collegiate know Laura Hall as a source of comfort when they are sick or hurt. As their nurse, she handles everything from first aid for bumps and scrapes to counseling children and their parents.
"My husband and I are so grateful to Laura for taking care of our boys," says Sara Villalona, a physician assistant at Richmond Dermatology and Laser Specialists. One of Villalona's sons has asthma and food allergies. "It can be very stressful to send your child to school every day wondering if he will play too hard outside on a cold day and have an asthma attack and difficulty breathing. Knowing that Laura is watching out for our kids makes our job as parents to an asthmatic child so much easier."
A Collegiate graduate, Hall was exposed to the field of nursing when she volunteered for the Red Cross while still a student there. She has been in her current position for 28 years. "I was thrilled to come back to Collegiate," she says. "I have been extremely happy as a school nurse here."
In addition to tending to the immediate needs of students, Hall also keeps up with nursing trends and is responsible for making sure that students' immunizations are up-to-date. She recently worked on the school's policy regarding concussions and completed a yearlong counseling course at the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care.
In her work, Hall often sees children who complain of feeling sick, but show no obvious signs of what is ailing them. "It's rare for a child of a young age to tell you exactly what is on their mind," she says. "It's a great puzzle. I try to give them an opening so they know it's something they can discuss with me."
She additionally meets with Lower School counselor Marella Gregory to discuss children that they both see in their offices frequently. "We often overlap," she says.
Over the years, Hall says, there have been a number of students — like Austin Tyner, Harris White, Jake
Maynard and Andrew Slay — who have inspired her. "Each of them has had a physical challenge and showed exemplary courage," she says. "Their courage has touched me."
Hall is as special to her students as they are to her. Her calming nature is her calling card, Villalona says. "It's like having your mother at school every day, watching over your child like caring, loving grandmothers do."