With her scrubs on and her stethoscope ready, Irene Vera approaches every day with the goal to keep more than 18,000 students healthy.
Vera serves as the Head School Nurse for the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, and her duties are to over see the clinical aspect of school nurses by answering any questions campus nurses may have. She also works to manage the district‘s health issues, which include creating plans for when cold and flu season arrive.
“We work with parents, healthcare agencies and doctors to make a plan for students to make sure they are getting the medical attention they need,” Vera said. “It’s not just cold and flu season, its making plans for students with diabetes, food allergies and asthma.”
In addition to the over 18,000 students at HCISD, Vera serves as the unofficial nurse of her husbands soccer team.
“He coaches a bunch of kids, and I’m at every game with my bag,” Vera said. “I’m always ready to go. I’m always a nurse.”
While assisting others during games, it offers Vera time to participate in her other passion, watching sports. Her favorite sports are football and “futbol [soccer],” she said. Whether she’s at a live event or at home watching it, her instinct to help people sometimes interferes.
“I can tell when there are injuries on the field and it makes me cringe,” Vera said. “I wish I could go out there and help them.”
When not on the field or watching it, Vera works as a nurse at a home health agency.
With almost over a decade in health services, Vera never finds a dull moment, she said. She’s always ready to take on the day to ensure that students and community members remain healthy.
“I will never stop advocating for our children and community,” Vera said. “When I hear a success story, no matter the situation, it makes me smile. It’s a great part of my day.”