East High School school nurse Nancy Treft

Sioux City, Iowa -- If one’s work story was told in numbers, it would be difficult to find a story as impressive as Nancy Treft’s.  

A 1981 East High School graduate, Nancy has served as a school nurse at East High School, along with various district elementary schools, for the past 28 years. During her tenure, she’s worked with 41 principals and serves approximately 2,100 students annually.

With a caseload that impressive, it is fair to say there is very little downtime in Nancy’s world.  

“School nursing is not just about putting bandages on knees or treating headlice like people think. We assist families with a lot of complex health issues and concerns. We wear many hats besides nursing like counselor, social worker, and advocate,” says Nancy. “I’m also surprised with the number of staff health issues and emergencies I have encountered over the years.”

Despite the challenges of serving a large number of students and staff, Nancy enjoys seeing students mature from elementary to high school.

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with students in elementary school and then having them in high school. It’s fun to watch them grow and evolve. I have also worked with a lot of amazing students, families, staff, and some great principals along the way,” Nancy adds.

During her 28 years in the District, Nancy has experienced big changes. When she started, she didn’t have a cell phone to reach families in case of emergencies or a computer. She began her career using a mimeograph, a duplicating machine popular before photocopiers became more widely used.

While Nancy has embraced those changes, some things have stayed the same.

“Many of the programs and some of the staff members are the same. I also work with people that really enjoy their jobs – that has stayed constant. Everyone is there for the students to help them grow and learn. The school spirit is ever present with our staff members,” says Nancy, who enjoys spending time with her husband Paul, sons Brandon, Adam, and Connor (all East High School graduates), and her grandchildren, Declan, Mila, and Brooks outside of work.

As she reflects on her role, Nancy says there are special characteristics that lead to success as a school nurse.

“Patience, understanding, being able to stay calm, and the ability to work with little support are important. As a school nurse, you can’t find your help down the hall as you can in a clinic or a hospital, so a lot of experience is necessary. You never know what you might encounter in a day.”