March 3, 2024

Gort Named School Nurse of the Year

Gort with other Holland Hospital School Nurses.

Lisa Gort, HPS School Mental Health Care Case Manager, has been chosen as the 2024 Michigan Association of School Nurses School Nurse of the year

Gort getting news of award.Superintendent Nick Cassidy surprised Gort with the announcement at a recent District Leadership Team meeting.

Nurse Gort has always been an exceptional provider of health services, but her advocacy for our students and families has transformed how we support families who are experiencing a mental health crisis.  In 2018, Nurse Gort addressed our Board of Education and challenged the district to do more to support the mental health of our students.  By the 2019/20 school year, Holland Public Schools partnered with Holland Hospital to create the position of School Mental Health Care Case Manager, with Nurse Gort filling that role.  During the last 4 years, Nurse Gort has assured the appropriate use of resources while focusing on positive outcomes, taking a proactive role through the early intervention and identification of at-risk students by performing suicide risk assessments, as well as partnering with school nurses, school staff, physicians and outside agencies.  She has walked alongside students, and their families, as they have navigated our healthcare system during extremely stressful times. -Superintendent Cassidy

Lisa's dedication to supporting the mental health needs of our students and families is transformative. Her approach to care aligns seamlessly with Standards of Professional School Nursing as outlined by the National Association of School Nurses. Here are some specific examples of her excellence:

  • Coordinating Wraparound Supports: Lisa has been instrumental in building a robust support system for our students, ensuring they receive holistic care that addresses not just their immediate health needs but their overall well-being.
  • Suicide Risk Assessments and Safety Plans: Her expertise in conducting sensitive and thorough risk assessments has been vital in identifying students at risk. Furthermore, her development of individualized safety plans has provided a lifeline for many young individuals.
  • Collaboration with Mental Health Professionals: Lisa's efforts in maintaining an active line of communication with therapists and psychiatrists have ensured a coordinated approach to student care, which is critical for effective mental health support.
  • Personal Commitment: Perhaps most impressively, Lisa often attends appointments with families, showcasing her dedication beyond the call of duty. This personal commitment has not only helped in providing better care but also in building trust and rapport with the families.

Under Lisa's guidance, our school has seen a noticeable improvement in student mental health and overall morale. Her approach to care, always empathetic and proactive, exemplifies the very best in school nursing practice. She not only addresses the immediate health concerns of our students but also empowers them with the tools and support needed for long-term well-being. - HHS Principal Andrea Mehall

The award will be presented at the Michigan Association of School Nurses Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 17, 2024, at the Holiday Inn Grand Haven-Spring Lake. I will send more details as the event gets closer.