Eva Gonzalez-Espada RN, BSN | P.K. Yonge School-Related Employee of the Year

March 4, 2021

Gonzalez-SchoolRelatedEmployeeScrapes, stomach aches, medications, and broken bones are all part of a school nurse’s responsibility in keeping school communities safe and healthy. The start of the 2019-20 school year looked like it would be no different from any other at the outset, but as the year progressed it brought into focus the many ways a school nurse serves the school community. At P.K. Yonge, it underscored that our school nurse is exceptional.

This year, the faculty and staff of P.K. Yonge are pleased to announce Eva Gonzalez as P.K. Yonge’s Florida Department of Education School-Related Employee of the Year.

Nurse Eva Gonzalez joined the school community as P.K. Yonge’s full-time school nurse for the 2019-20 school year. When school began, students, faculty, and staff met Nurse Eva at the clinic window where she carried out her regular duties–dispensing medication, expertise, kindness, and care to those in need.

A nurse’s day can change at a moment’s notice, and the first week of school brought with it an experience that provided us with a clear indicator that Nurse Eva’s immediate response, expertise, and calming presence would be invaluable in the year ahead. Eva sprang into action to revive an unresponsive elementary school student with calm confidence and expertise that allowed a crisis situation to be handled quickly and with a positive outcome.

As the year progressed, news of a public health challenge was entering the airwaves, and by February 2020, the impact on our communities and our schools was imminent. School nurses, like Eva, were being relied on more than ever as institutions navigated changing and unpredictable conditions. In the days leading up to campus closures in March 2020, new circumstances were being presented to schools every day with possible COVID-19 exposures, false alarms, and the need for systems and procedures to navigate these changing waters. Nurse Eva was ever-present, detail-focused, and committed to accessing all available information to serve our school.

As the pandemic progressed, Eva partnered with UF researchers investigating the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on mental health, and played a critical role in planning and developing systems for reopening the school campus in the fall of 2020. Since the P.K. Yonge campus reopened in August, Nurse Eva has been tireless in responding to the demands of managing COVID-19-related events on campus — from coordinating with UF Health Screen, Test & Protect, to developing and managing campus systems, to contacting families, and responding to endless questions about the many ways the pandemic impacts school life. In spite of all of these demands, Eva maintains her calm and caring demeanor and continues to dress the scrapes, tend the stomach aches, administer medications, and respond to the regular healthcare needs of the school community.

The faculty and staff of P.K. Yonge D.R.S. are grateful for Eva’s commitment to our school community and for her leadership and service, particularly during unprecedented times. Eva is a highly respected member of the P.K. Yonge community and very deserving of the P.K. Yonge School-Related Employee of the Year award.

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