SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University adjunct faculty member and SU alumnus Penny Makuchal is Maryland’s 2003 School Nurse of the Year and a contender for the National School Nurse of the Year Award.
A teacher and nurse at the Worcester County Technology and Career Center in Newark, MD, she is also the school nurse consultant for all 14 of Worcester County’s public schools. At SU she teaches School Health.
The state award was unexpected: “I was very surprised and very honored at the same time,” Makuchal said.
She also said she believed her education credentials played a large part in her selection. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from SU in 1991 and returned to earn her Master of Science in nursing and education in 1997.
Dr. Susan Battistoni, chair of SU’s Nursing Department, commended Makuchal’s efforts: “She was an outstanding student while at SU for her bachelor's and master's degrees and continues to excel in the field of school health nursing.”
While Makuchal’s original intent was to work at a hospital, her focus changed after entering the work force.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “I wanted to be an emergency room nurse, but my first job was in the schools and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Since Makuchal began working at the technology and career center nine years ago, school nursing has changed, she said. With more students with special needs in today’s public school classrooms, school nurses are more essential than ever before. Since teaching her first class at SU in 1997, Makuchal has conveyed to her students the importance of nursing in schools.
“You have to be healthy to learn and you have to learn to be healthy,” she said. “The importance of health in education is not stressed enough.”
Makuchal lives in Stockton, MD, with her husband, Denny, and daughter, Maranda, 2.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.