LINDEN, NJ - Linden Public Schools Head Nurse Joyce Hirsch has been honored as Union County School Nurse of the Year.

Hirsch received the award at the Union County School Nurse Association’s virtual meeting on May 4, which was attended by more than 100 nurses. The criteria for the award is someone who has demonstrated excellence in both school nursing practice and leadership in school health.

The staff at Linden schools were not surprised by Hirsch being this year's awardee.

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“It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that Joyce has been recognized with the Union County School Nurse of the Year Award,” said Steven Viana, Director of Health, Physical Education, Medical Services, and Athletics. “Every single day when she comes to work, she brings her passion, her expertise, and her professionalism all to the table. In my opinion, she not just the school nurse of the year this year, but every year. Congratulations on this prestigious and amazing achievement.”

Hirsch was scheduled to be surprised with the award, but she spotted the announcement in an email containing the meeting’s agenda.  Linden school nurses added to her surprise with a tribute video put together by those who serve under her.

“In retrospect it was probably better for me to have the time to process it ahead of the meeting,” she said. “I have yet to fully process the video though. I will cherish it for a long time to come."

Hirsch emphasized how much the award and video means to her.

"This award and video mean more to me than I can possibly express because it comes from the very people I have worked with day in and day out for years," she said. "We are a small department, but we are unique in our roles and the contributions we bring to Linden Public Schools.”

Hirsch has been working in health care for 40 years and has been with Linden Public Schools for the past 23 years. She started as a school nurse at School No. 9 in 1997, then moved to Linden High School in 2013.

“Having moved from elementary to the high school gave me the opportunity to follow so many of them right through their school careers,” she said. “I’ve seen them mature and grow in their self-reliance – especially the students with chronic illnesses – and self-confidence. I love being a part of their story and having them be part of mine.”

Check out the tribute video below:

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