You’re sitting in A Period Geometry, leafing through the pages in your textbook a little too eagerly. All of a sudden, the inevitable happens: you get a paper cut. As you make your way into the nurse’s office, you’re taken aback. Everything is out of place, and Nurse Richards is nowhere to be found. You ask the two people sitting at the desk where the nurse is, and you’re taken aback to hear them say, “we’re right here!”
There has always been a friendly air as you walk into the ORHS nurse’s office, but this year, with two enthusiastic nurses, the pleasant atmosphere has doubled. Longtime, beloved ORHS nurse Danuta Richards retired this past spring, and has been replaced with two new nurses. The office itself has undergone some changes this year as well. The wall that used to exist to the left has been knocked out completely, and the desk is now doubled in size. The right side of the desk belongs to Ian Riddell, and the left to Kimberly Wolph, our new school nurses. Recently, I sat down with each of them to learn a little bit about their background and how they ended up at ORHS.
Before coming to ORHS, Riddell was a school nurse at Nashua North. His family has recently relocated to the seacoast area due to his wife’s job in Exeter. Riddell grew up in Long Island, NY, and worked in the field of respiratory therapy. While he was working as a respiratory therapist, he attended school in order to become a registered nurse. After this, he relocated to Maine and got his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at the University of Southern Maine. He then obtained his MBA in Healthcare Administration from New England College.
Riddell said, “I always wanted to help people. I always knew I wanted to go into health care.” He ultimately decided that nursing was the path for him. As he has moved through his career, he has learned along the way. The same is true for this new job at ORHS. He described the process of settling in here, saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know, and I’m starting to know what I don’t know. My next step is to overcome what I don’t know.” There’s obviously a learning curve for anything new in life, but Riddell has definitely begun settling in. He closed his interview by saying, “It feels like home already.”
To the left of Riddell sits Kimberly Wolph, our other new nurse. Wolph explained that from a young age, she was, “just very empathetic and wanted to fix things, whether it was toys or people, I just wanted to make them better.” These interpersonal skills led her to a career in nursing.
Before coming to ORHS, Wolph worked at Maine General Hospital in Augusta, ME, until about four years ago, when her family made the move to New Hampshire. She worked at Wentworth Douglass Hospital, and eventually ended up working in the Oyster River Cooperative School District, at Moharimet, where she was a one-to-one nurse.
She describes the move to ORHS, saying, “I didn’t expect to transition [to ORHS] this quickly…but my ultimate goal was to be a school nurse in one of the Oyster River Schools.” She eventually decided that this was the right decision and ideal opportunity for her. She described some of her favorite parts of our school, saying “I love the community involvement, I also am very intrigued by the services available for those that are in need. I think we have a great program for kids that need specialized services.” She spoke about her goals for her first year here, saying, “this year, I am looking forward to meeting all the students, the faculty, building new relationships, and in the years to follow, developing and working on news ways to grow as a school.”
Advice from Nurse Richards
This past spring, as Nurse Danuta Richards was retiring, I had the pleasure of sitting down to do an interview with her, as well. As she was the ORHS school nurse for over 20 years, she definitely had developed some wisdom and advice over the years. She said, “my advice would be, figure out how to divide the work up somewhat evenly, support each other, stick to your guns about being a nurse.” Richards was also sure to note that the students she encountered over the years had been very sweet and easy-going. She continued on to say, “be a strong nurse and have a sense of humor, give the kids the benefit of the doubt that they’re telling you the truth. And, just relax with it.” Her advice will definitely prove to be useful as this new school year unfolds.
If you get the chance, stop in and introduce yourself to Mr. Riddell and Mrs. Wolph; they’ll love to meet you!