In her roughly two-decade career with the Christina School District, Newark High School nurse Lori Economos has turned down the nomination for CSD nurse of the year several times.
So this time around, administrators kept the nomination process a secret until they showed up in Economos’ office earlier this month to announce she had won the award. While Economos appreciates the recognition, she’s also not a fan of being in the spotlight.
“I don’t like attention,” Economos said. “We do what we do because we like being nurses and most of us are pretty uncomfortable with the attention piece.”
Economos, who holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Family Nurse Practitioner License from Wilmington University, started her career with the district in 1998. At first she worked part-time, which Economos said was the perfect fit for her while her kids were young. But eventually, the population at Newark High got bigger and Economos accepted a full-time position there, a job she’s now held for the past 16 years.
But while she’s been a school nurse for a long time, Economos’ favorite part about the job is that she never gets bored. Despite her years of experience, she still sees things she’s never seen before, noting “in the medical field, there are always firsts.”
Economos also enjoys the daily interactions she has with high school students.
“I like working with adolescents,” she said. “They have a good sense of humor and you can joke with them but yet they know if you’re serious and you need them to do something.”
Sometimes many students don’t need medical help so much as they need someone to tell them that everything is going to be OK and that they don’t have a serious illness, she said. In the age of social media and WebMD, Economos often finds herself assuring students who are overly anxious or worried about a situation.
But that’s not to say that Economos doesn’t also deal with some very serious medical issues as a school nurse. In 2012, Economos got a call that a girl had collapsed in a classroom with what the teacher thought was a seizure.
“I started running with my bag, the whole time thinking, ‘Don’t get too winded before you get there because you need your breath to speak,’” she recalled. “And then when I walked in the room and saw her, it was obvious that her heart had stopped and she wasn’t moving.”
Economos immediately started CPR and was able to revive the student. Two weeks later, she got to see the student walk at her high school graduation.
“That doesn’t happen to most nurses in school nursing. But it was a great outcome for her and great attention for school nursing in general,” she said. “It was definitely one of the highlights of my career for sure.”