Judy Carr retires as school nurse
|Judy Carr is looking forward to completing sewing projects and taking care of grandchildren with the free time she now has in retirement from her job as Westwood, Janesville and Johnstonville schools’ nurse.Photo by Susan Cort Johnson|
Jan. 25, 2013 — Judy Carr still feels as if she is on vacation. The fact that she has retired as the school nurse for Westwood, Janesville and Johnstonville schools has not yet sunk in. Soon it will become a reality as she completes sewing projects such as making dresses for her daughters, and finishes crocheting blankets she started so long ago.
However, it has only been a few weeks since she officially retired at the end of 2012. She had contemplated waiting until age 70, but the impact of a knee injury she sustained a few years ago when she slipped on ice prompted her to leave the position sooner rather than later. She could not get the thought out of her mind that she might not be able to walk well in four years.
She plans to use her nursing skills at Mountain Meadows, a summer camp near Janesville for children age seven to 17. That will leave plenty of time to travel with her husband, Jim. There are many destinations within the United States they would like to visit and a cruise to Mexico is planned.
The greatest joy of her retirement years will come when she gets a call to help care for young grandchildren when they are sick. This will help their parents who find it difficult to take time off work. She told her children to call, even at 3 a.m., and she will get up and drive to their homes.
While Carr looks forward to her retirement years, there are many aspects of her job she will miss such as the hands-on nursing with the school children and her colleagues.
“I have developed really great friendships with a lot of the people I work with,” said Carr.
As a school nurse for the Lassen County Office of Education, she began working at Fletcher Walker Elementary in 1999 part-time and in 2006 her job became full-time and incorporated two other school districts. She enjoyed helping children with wound care, having worked as a wound care nurse in Sacramento on weekends for a couple of years. Also, she developed close relationships with the families that struggled with juvenile diabetes.
One of her favorite tasks as school nurse was administering the vision test to kindergarteners. Her least favorite tasks were doing class head lice checks and teaching the growth and development classes. The classes were difficult because parents did not always understand the curriculum was only about body change and did not cover sex.
Carr became a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) at age 40, after most of her children were grown, earning her degree at Lassen Community College. It was a goal she had for a long time.
“I always wanted to be a nurse and when I divorced my first husband I went to school to be a nurse but could not make it. I had three little kids and had to work,” explained Carr.
Later, Carr had another child whose father is now deceased. Now she and her husband, have a combined total of seven children and 19 grandchildren.
In addition to being a nurse, Carr had a dream of living in Westwood. She and her family would drive up from the valley to visit her brother, John, and his wife, Rosemary. After becoming an LVN, she lived in Westwood periodically but in other places, too, as she and Jim earned a living. For a time, she commuted to Chico to work in her profession.
With her home in Westwood another dream has been fulfilled. The Carrs are active in the community. They belong to The Chimney Fund and Judy serves as treasurer. Last Easter she and her friend, Anna Bennett, began putting together baskets children could win during the Westwood Rotary Easter Egg Hunt. The two, working in conjunction with The Chimney Fund, plan to give away Easter baskets again this year.
Carr wants to volunteer at Fletcher Walker as well, perhaps helping Rotary with their monthly hot breakfast and overseeing the lost and found, which includes matching lost coats with the right students. The oversight of the lost and found was something she did in addition to nursing during her time with the Westwood Unified School District.
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