Kathy Dodson: Making Nursing Accessible for Lynden Students

This post is part of the Lynden Schools Staff Spotlight series

Kathy Dodson has touched nearly every aspect of Lynden classrooms as a substitute teacher. But she then turned her attention to serving students as the district nurse, growing the district’s school nurse offering and making school nursing a key component of her life. 

The Role

As the district nurse for Lynden Schools since 2009, Dodson leads each of the school nurses, which Lynden now has in every building except Lynden Academy. Growing the nursing staff to cover each building has long been a goal of Dodson’s. 

“As a school nurse, we provide students with the ability to learn as effectively as possible,” she says. “I try to teach the students, from the time they start school until they leave, to be proactive about their health.” 

Dodson makes individual and emergency health plans for students with health issues to keep them safe and able to learn. This could include planning for life-threatening allergies, asthma, seizures and multiple other health issues. School nurses also provide routine vision and hearing screenings and offer referrals as needed. Nurses provide emergency care and assist with developing health protocols for the district. 

“Working as a school nurse, especially in Lynden Schools, has been by far my favorite paid job—[being a] mom and Oma is the best,” she says. “I have always felt supported in my role by administration, staff and especially families.” 

Getting to Know Kathy

The route to district nurse for Dodson was one that started even before she was born. She still covets a photo she has of a great-great-aunt and her daughter during World War I while volunteering for the Red Cross. And while wartime nursing was not something Dodson had to endure, her love of school and nursing has combined for decades. 

Dodson was born in California but has lived in multiple states, and even a few years in England when in elementary school. She went to school at the University of California, Riverside and soon after college became a certified biology teacher and taught high school biology for a few years. 

She then took a break from regular classroom duties while raising her four children, all who went to school in Lynden, where she has now lived for 30 years. She now has four grandchildren in Lynden Schools. 

Substitute teaching became a regular part of Dodson’s life, teaching every subject and every grade while subbing mostly in Lynden Schools. Dodson earned her LPN certification in 2007 and then became a RN in 2009. She earned her BSN in 2015. 

Volunteering for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts has been—and remains—a part of her life, as is doing any handcrafts she can find, including sewing, quilting, doll marking and knitting. “There are very few handcrafts that I haven’t tried, but sewing and knitting are my favorites,” she says. “I enjoy teaching crafts to others.” She was the craft leader and nurse for the Girl Scouts’ Glacier Meadow Community Camp for years. 

Her love of teaching still shines through, as she provides individual instruction to RN students from Whatcom Community College in the specialty of school nurses. “I usually have around 10 nurses come to my office throughout the year,” she says. “to see what school nursing entails and get a first-hand view of it.”